Feature Plugin: WP Auto-updates

In 2018, @matt posted 9 projects for Core to focus on in 2019. This roadmap was updated for 2020. Plugins and Themes automatic updates is one of those 9 projects. WordPress contributors did a lot of work on the two related tickets during WP 5.4 development cycle, but decided to give it more time for testing as it’s an important feature. This project is now planned for WordPress 5.5 and the feature is going to be tested in a Feature Plugin.

For reference, see the two related Trac tickets:

A lot of interesting points were discussed in the tickets above, including the scope of the feature and the user interface/design. Many thanks to everyone who already contributed to this exciting new feature ♥️

Now, the development that happened in the related tickets are moved into WP-Auto-updates Feature Plugin which is available for testing and feedback. Contributions from the WordPress community are welcome on the plugin’s GitHub repository.

Project overview

As a quick reminder of what this project is trying to achieve, here are the main features that are being worked on:

  • Ability for website administrators to opt-in to automatic updates for plugins and themes in the related WP-Admin screens.
  • Ability to enable/disable auto-updates on a plugin-by-plugin and theme-by-theme basis.
  • Email notifications to send regular auto-update summaries to website administrators.
  • Hooks and constants to help developers disable or programmatically define auto-update settings.

Design considerations

The current design of the feature plugin reflects the last ideas that were discussed in #48850. This is still a work in progress and the implementation will probably evolve, as WordPress contributors discuss the feature on GitHub.

Latest Plugin screen mockup in #48850
WP Autoupdates screenshot
Current implementation in WP Auto-updates Feature Plugin – version 0.1.2

Here is the proposed roadmap:

  • ✅ Create feature plugin
  • ✅ Submit feature plugin to WordPress.org repository
  • ✅ Get the plugin featured as beta plugin on WordPress.org
  • 🔲 Move the repository to WordPress.org GitHub account
  • ✅ Publish the feature plugin proposal
  • ✅ Open a dedicated Slack channel on Make WordPress
  • ✅ Organize weekly meetings
  • ✅ Handle plugins auto-updates
  • 🔲 Handle themes auto-updates
  • ✅ Handle plugins auto-updates in a multisite context
  • 🔲 Handle themes auto-updates in a multisite context
  • ✅ Add hooks and constants for plugins
  • 🔲 Add hooks and constants for themes
  • ✅ Add email notifications for plugins
  • 🔲 Add email notifications for themes
  • ✅ Add auto-updates information in update-core screen
  • 🔲 Validate design for plugins screen
  • 🔲 Validate design for themes screen
  • 🔲 Validate design for update-core screen
  • 🔲 Full documentation for new functions, hooks and constants
  • 🔲 Copy review
  • 🔲 Accessibility review
  • 🔲 Security review
  • 🔲 Coding standards review
  • 🔲 Inline Docs review

Last update: March 21, 2020

Next steps

The release of the WP-Auto-updates feature plugin is an early step in the process of having this functionality included in WordPress Core. Now, your help is needed to test, validate, and improve the current feature to ensure that it meets the needs of the WordPress community. Plugin and theme authors, hosting companies, WordPress developers and users are welcome to share their thoughts about this feature.

#5-5, #feature-plugins, #feature-autoupdates