WordPress 5.4 introduces apply_shortcodes() as an alias for do_shortcode()

WordPress 5.4 introduces a new function – apply_shortcodes(). It’s an alias for the current do_shortcode() function.

The semantics of do_* implies the function displays the result of the shortcodeShortcode A shortcode is a placeholder used within a WordPress post, page, or widget to insert a form or function generated by a plugin in a specific location on your site.. But that’s not actually the case. In fact, do_shortcode() needs to be echoed to display its result.

Here is the current implementation:

echo do_shortcode( '[wporg]My Text[/wporg]' );
// Displays the result of the shortcode

Semantically, we should be able to do this:

do_shortcode( '[wporg]My Text[/wporg]' );
// but it doesn’t display anything…

As you may know, do_shortcode() is used in countless plugins and themes. So there is currently no option to deprecate it. But if the community can start building a consensus around the alias, apply_shortcodes(), then deprecation may eventually become a real option in the future.

There is a precedent for making this move. It’s the same process the coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. team followed with get_permalink() and get_the_permalink().

apply_shortcodes is meant to get better semantics: instead of performing an action and outputting to the current buffer, the idea is to apply filters to the input and return a result. The process is simpler, cleaner and more maintainable – not to mention easier to teach new developers.

apply_shortcodes() can be used the same way do_shortcode() is currently used:

echo apply_shortcodes( '[wporg]My Text[/wporg]' );
// Displays the result of the shortcode

Themes/Plugins authors and WordPress developers are invited to start using apply_shortcodes() instead of do_shortcode().

To be clear, there is no plan for deprecating the former function right now. But the sooner developers can all switch to the much more semantic apply_shortcodes(), the sooner the core team can plan to deprecate the old function. With WordPress 5.4, apply_shortcodes() is now the recommended way to display the result of a shortcode.

For reference, see the related TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress. ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker.: #37422

Copy review: @marybaum

#5-4, #dev-notes, #shortcodes