Core major versions auto-updates UI changes in WordPress 5.6 – Correction

WordPress 5.6 introduces a new UIUI User interface to allow website administrators to opt-in to major versions of automatic updates. As noted in a previous dev note, this feature follows the plugins and themes auto-updates user interface, which was shipped in WordPress 5.5. Both are part of the Nine WordPress Core projects for 2019-2020.

The scope of the feature changed during the BetaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. phase of WordPress 5.6. This dev notedev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include: a description of the change; the decision that led to this change a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase. cancels and replaces the preceding one.

As announced by Executive Director @chanthaboune (see the related post below), the initial scope of CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. auto-updates has moved to:

  • Provide some updates to the design of the UI.
  • For existing installations, the behavior will remain the same as it is today: opted-in to minor updates by default, but a user must opt-in to major updates (constants and filters that are already in use by hosts or agencies will still take precedence).
  • For new installations, the default behavior will change: opted-in to minor updates by default and opted-in to major updates by default.

For more details about this decision and the roadmap for the next releases, please check the related post on Make/Core:

Major Core auto-updates UI changes in WordPress 5.6

How does it look?

The core auto-updates feature already exists for years in WordPress. WP 5.6 only introduces a new user interface to make it easier to opt-in to automatic updates for major versions.

By default, WordPress auto-updates itself, but only for minor releases. Developers can already opt-in to major releases auto-updates by setting up the existing WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant to true or by using the allow_major_auto_core_updates existing filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output..

With WordPress 5.6, it’s possible for website administrators to opt-in/out to automatic updates for major versions, using a specific interface located on the Updates screen:

When the administrator clicks on the “Enable automatic updates for all new versions of WordPress” link, auto-updates for WordPress Core major versions are enabled:

It’s then possible to opt-out for major versions auto-updates by clicking the “Switch to automatic updates for maintenance and security releases only” link.

How to override the default settings using constants and filters?

This settings section adds some links to allow administrators to opt-in to major core auto-updates. But it also checks for any existing constant or filter and even to see whether the option should be available or not by default and whether it should be set up to enabled or disabled state, using the following order:

  1. By default, auto-updates for major versions are:
    • Disabled for existing WordPress installations.
    • Disabled if a version controlversion control A version control system keeps track of the source code and revisions to the source code. WordPress uses Subversion (SVN) for version control, with Git mirrors for most repositories. system is detected on the WordPress installation.
    • Enabled for fresh new installations.
  2. If get_site_option( ‘auto_update_core_major’ ) returns true or enabled, auto-updates are enabled. Otherwise, they are disabled. This option is the one stored in the database when the UI is triggered. If this option is set, it overrides the above use cases.
  3. If WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant returns truebeta, or rc, auto-updates are enabled. If the constant returns falseminor or is not defined, auto-updates are disabled. If this constant is set, it overrides the above parameters.
  4. If allow_major_auto_core_updates filter returns true or enabled, auto-updates are enabled. If the filter returns false or is not used, auto-updates are disabled. If this filter is used, it overrides the above parameters.

To disable auto-updates for major versions by default, developers can set the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE to false (to disable all auto-updates) or minor (to enable only minor core auto-updates, which is the default behavior). It has to be done using the wp-config.php file.

Developers can alternatively use the allow_major_auto_core_updates filter to set up core major versions auto-updates to true or false by default. Example:

add_filter( 'allow_major_auto_core_updates', '__return_false' );

In the following screenshot, auto-updates for major versions have been enabled programmatically using a filter or a constant:

In the following screenshot, auto-updates for major versions have been disabled programmatically using a filter or a constant:

How to extend the core auto-updates UI?

There is an action hook running right at the end of this settings section to add some options if needed. Using the after_core_auto_updates_settings action hook, developers can add other settings or texts.

For example, the following snippet adds a link to WordPress documentation about auto-updates.

function my_plugin_after_core_auto_updates_settings( $auto_update_settings ) {
	?>
	<p class="auto-update-status">
		<?php _e( 'For more details about Core auto-updates, see <a href="https://wordpress.org/support/article/configuring-automatic-background-updates/">WordPress documentation</a>', 'my-plugin' ); ?>
	</p>
    <?php
}
add_action( 'after_core_auto_updates_settings', 'my_plugin_after_core_auto_updates_settings', 10, 1 );

Props @cbringmann, @planningwrite and @poena for proof-reading.

#5-6, #auto-updates, #core-auto-updates, #dev-notes, #feature-autoupdates