Announcement 4.1 kickoff meeting this Monday September 29…

Announcement: 4.1 kickoff meeting this Monday, September 29, at 1400 UTC. This is an unusual time for us that we’d like to try out. The Wednesday meeting (October 1) is still on for 2000 UTC as well.

Around the world:

  • 10am U.S. Eastern (GMT-4), 7am U.S. Pacific (GMT-7).
  • This is midnight Tuesday for east coast of Australia (GMT+10).
  • If you’re at WordCamp Europe’s contributor day (GMT+3), this will be 5pm.

More to come with regards to 4.1 over the weekend, but I wanted to make sure everyone saw this (as it was decided at this week’s dev meeting). But please think about what you’d like to work on or what you’d like to see. This comment thread is also open.

This initial post said Monday, September 28. Monday is September 29, and that’s the day of the meeting.

#4-1, #agenda, #meeting

We’ve moved the SVN and Trac firehose mailing…

We’ve moved the SVN and Trac firehose mailing lists to lists.wordpress.org, from the legacy lists.automattic.com. If all goes well, we’ll move the rest of them over as well.

The one side effect is this is likely to break your existing mail filters. The new mailing list emails are wp-trac@lists.wordpress.org and wp-svn@lists.wordpress.org. If you’re using Gmail’s mailing list filters, those would now look like list:wp-trac.lists.wordpress.org.

For those of you who use Gmail, I’ve also added basic styling to the SVN commit emails. Hooray for reading diffs with red and green. (For those who don’t use Gmail, you’ve already been seeing styling that Gmail strips out.)

Just a reminder you don’t *need* to use the Trac firehose. You can also subscribe to individual tickets, milestones, components, focuses, new tickets, etc.

Another note: WordPress.org is now forced SSL. Announcement and details here.

gmail-diffs

#mailing-lists, #notifications, #svn, #trac

The props list has been updated on the…

The props list has been updated on the 4.0 credits page. If you haven’t updated your display name yet, you should totally do that on your support forum profile.

#4-0, #credits

Introducing plugin icons in the plugin installer

WordPress 4.0 comes with a redesigned plugin installer. Just now we’ve added one of the finishing touches to this project — plugin icons.

Plugin authors, If your plugin is compatible with WordPress 4.0, it only takes a few moments to change a readme “Tested up to:” value to 4.0. Compatibility information is prominently shown in the new plugin installer, so you’ll definitely want to update this value. For your plugin to stand out, you’ll also want to give your plugin an icon. Read on…

Akismet

Beautiful, auto-generated icons

Default icons are generated using the GeoPattern library by Jason Long of GitHub. If you have a banner image, it is automatically sampled to determine the primary color for the pattern, using Tonesque from @matveb. (Cool, huh?)

mosiac-2

Making your own icon

Plugin icons are 128 pixels square. HiDPI (retina) icons are supported at 256 pixels square. Like banners, these go into your /assets directory and can be either a PNG or JPG. So just create assets/icon-128x128.(png|jpg) and/or assets/icon-256x256.(png|jpg) and you have an icon.

You also have another option: SVG. Vectors are perfect for icons like this, as they can be scaled to any size and the file itself is small. For an SVG file, you simply need an assets/icon.svg file.

We may implement SVG-to-images fallbacks in core for browsers that don’t support them, so if you go the SVG route, I’d suggest also turning your SVG into a PNG. (SVG takes precedence.)

Jetpack uses an SVG icon:

Some tips when designing an icon

  • Keep it simple! The Android and iOS Human Interface Guidelines both have some fantastic design tips.
  • Avoid text, especially since these may be seen at smaller sizes in other contexts (and in languages other than English). And because this is an icon, not an ad.
  • Use the right image format for what you’re doing. Don’t use JPGs for simple designs; don’t use PNGs for photos.
  • Optimize your images! Use something like ImageOptim or your favorite web app, CLI tool, etc.
  • Please no WordPress logos. Come up with your own brand. (If you already have a banner image, you likely already have a head start here.)
  • If you haven’t worked with SVGs before, they’re pretty cool. Here’s a tutorial from Chris Coyier.
  • Keep in mind this is an icon for your plugin, not a display ad.

Some examples

Akismet, Jetpack, and Hello Dolly already have icons. You can see their assets directories herehere, and here.

Thanks to the hard work of Alex Shiels (@tellyworth) for implementing this!

#4-0, #dev-notes, #plugins, #upgrade-install

Internationalization project updates

Here’s where we are on the five goals for internationalization outlined previously:

1. The first step installing WordPress should be to choose a language. The rest of the install process would then be in that language.

First pass done in #28577. There is a list of things to do in the ticket, which includes:

  • Improved error handling when the API or filesystem isn’t accessible. Working on this.
  • Bring this to setup-config.php. Working on this.
  • Place browser-based language suggestions at the top. Working on this.
  • Use better markup rather than simple select/option HTML, currently being worked on by @jorbin.

2. You should be able to choose/switch a language from the general settings screen, after which the language pack should be downloaded.

This simply requires replacing mu_dropdown_languages() with a new method that handles uninstalled languages gracefully. This is easy to implement and relies on much of the same code as the install process, so it’s simply on hold until that’s done. I’ve also worked out a UX flow with @sonjanyc.

3. You should be able to search from the dashboard for plugins and themes that are available in your language.

This is handled on the WordPress.org side. The updated plugins screen will need to pass a new argument to filter by language, and then remove that argument if the user requests showing plugins in any language. We’ll need to hack in readme/description translation support but that’s a small API change and otherwise WordPress.org work, not core work.

4. All localized packages should be able to be automatically generated and made available immediately as part of the core release process.

A script for this is written. While it needs more work, it was used as a test to build 3.9.1 packages, which are doubling as 4.0-alpha testing packages. This does not require changes in core.

5. Localized packages should only be used for initial downloads from WordPress.org. Instead, language packs should be transparently used for updates.

This is ready. A flag needs to simply be flipped in the API.

Ongoing problems to solve:

  • I have a proposal to type up for how to handle readmes, license files, etc., in both core and plugins. Requires no core changes.
  • No one has picked up the plan to limit the code modifications still done in some locales. This may end up being a July project for me.
  • The relevant APIs we need in core were deployed to WordPress.org. Also, the plugin and theme directories are fully internationalized; we need to get those strings to translators and shoehorn them onto existing international sites.

#4-0, #i18n

Internationalization goals for 4.0

Every few releases we’ve made a major push for improved internationalization. In 3.7, that was laying the groundwork for plugin and theme language packs (more on that soon). In 3.4, it was reducing all of the customizations that many localization teams needed to make. (There’s a page on that here.) In 4.0, I’d like to close the loop on a lot of this. Here’s what I’d like to accomplish, and I’ll need a lot of help.

  1. The first step installing WordPress should be to choose a language. The rest of the install process would then be in that language.
  2. You should be able to choose/switch a language from the general settings screen, after which the language pack should be downloaded.
  3. You should be able to search from the dashboard for plugins and themes that are available in your language.
  4. All localized packages should be able to be automatically generated and made available immediately as part of the core release process.
  5. Localized packages should only be used for initial downloads from WordPress.org. Instead, language packs should be transparently used for updates.

That’s the what. The how poses extensive challenges.

1) Choosing a language when installing WordPress. The rest of the install process would then be in that language.

osx-language

Want.

Split workflows: One issue that came up in #26879 (“friendlier welcome when installing WordPress”) is that setup-config.php is often not the initial entry point. A user installing WordPress through a hosting control panel is likely to be dumped onto the install screen (if not the dashboard directly).

Thus, we need to keep in mind that either screen might be the “intro” screen. This introduces technical challenges: If the user’s first step is setup-config.php, we don’t actually have WordPress fully loaded at this point, which makes actually installing a language pack more difficult. The install step has WordPress loaded in full, just without database tables. We should look into making setup-config.php load “all” of WordPress to make these environments easier to code.

Different approaches: There are two different ways to approach this: download language files immediately upon selection, or bundle barebones language files of the install screens for all supported languages. The latter is not the easiest thing to do (due to error messages and such, strings can come from all over) and also adds a delay to the adoption of new languages. The former would mean that we would want to pull a languages list from WordPress.org. (If we cannot reach WordPress.org, we would have no way of downloading the complete language pack, so this is not a big deal.) It’s still a bit of a challenge due to the split workflows problem.

Recommending a particular language: WordPress.org already recommends a language based on the browser’s settings (Accept-Language header) as well as using a more rough lookup based on IP address blocks. (HTML5 location could be used, but unless we’re also going to use that to set the user’s timezone, it seems excessive for a “choose your language” for the moment, especially since location is not as preferred anyway.)

Both would require the client to hit WordPress.org via JavaScript, versus a server HTTP request. We can do a server-side HTTP request to generate the list, then a client-side request to float recommended ones to the top. It’s possible to do it in two steps: the Accept-Language mapping can be done locally, while the IP-to-location table on WordPress.org has 2.9 million entries and would require a round-trip. Of course, if a user has downloaded a localized package directly from a local WordPress.org site, that would be the top recommendation.

Note that by language or locale we also must consider other translation variants, as there may be a language like Portuguese available in multiple locales (Brazil, Portugal) and further broken down by formal and informal variants. Each of these would be listed as their own “language.” c.f. #28303

2) You should be able to choose/switch a language from the general settings screen, after which the language pack should be downloaded.

WordPress MU had this feature and it still exists in multisite (though it’s pretty broken in terms of how it handles locales, #13069, #15677, #19760). This however only worked for already installed locales.

For single-site, the available languages should be fetched from WordPress.org and cached in a transient. (#13069 suggests using the GlotPress locale list, but as indicated above, we’d want to handle newly added or updated languages. This can then be displayed in a dropdown on the General Settings page. Upon selection and “Save Changes,” the language pack would be downloaded and enabled. We would likely use the oddly named “WPLANG” option since it’s what MU adopted and uses at both the site and network levels.

If we can’t reach WordPress.org, or if a filter is applied, then only installed languages will be listed. (An untrusted multisite network will likely have a default filter in place, to match existing behavior.) We should try to cache failures to .org (generally — not just here) so things aren’t terribly slow when developing a site without internet. We could possibly lazy-fetch the list only when the user expands the dropdown (or clicks a “Change” link or something).

Note this does not address two situations in particular: user-specific languages, or using the dashboard in English. These will be easier to do thanks to improvements in 4.0, but there still exist a number of edge cases where persistent translations can “bleed” into other situations. Examples include a comment moderation email being emailed to an English speaker but sent in the language of the logged-in commenter; or a string stored in the database like image metadata. When using a plugin, these are “edge cases.” When core adopts them, these become “bugs.” We will need to introduce a locale-switching method not unlike switch_to_blog() and also identify and work around any “persistence” issues. Not for 4.0, though we can get started on the groundwork.

3) You should be able to search from the dashboard for plugins and themes that are available in your language.

With language packs (more on that soon), plugins and themes will be able to be translated into any language. The goal would then be to have “localized” plugin and theme directories on the translated WordPress.org sites, listing just the plugins or themes available in their language. Note that even a plugin or theme without strings have a name and description that can be translated.

The plugin and theme install screens in the dashboard should similarly gain this ability. In all cases, there would be an option to expand the search to plugins/themes available in any language, of course — along with the invitation to translate them.

We will need to figure out how to make readme files translatable, which get parsed for the plugin directory (and eventually themes will gain these as well, possibly as part of these initiatives).

4) All localized packages should be able to be automatically generated and made available immediately as part of the core release process.

A localized package should merely consist of core WordPress plus a few translated files (the readme, the license, and the sample config file) and the PO/MO files. No other alterations should occur, which means translation teams will only need to translate, and builds can be automatically generated and made available immediately as part of the core release process.

Local modifications. Before 3.4, every install needed to make modifications to WordPress as part of their localized package, whether by actually replacing core files or using a {$locale}.php file. By my audit, this now applies to only 14 locales.

At the very least, we can allow the current system to work as-is for these locales. Ideally, though, we address the specific concerns of each locale and bring as many as possible into the fold. They include:

  • Some CSS modifications we can incorporate into core.
  • Workarounds for declension issues in a few locales, specifically regarding the names of months. #11226, also #21139, #24899, #22225
  • Adding major locale-specific oEmbed providers. #19980
  • Transliteration such as Romanization for Serbian. We can handle this by having two variants of Serbian, the way we have formal and informal European Portuguese. (But we’d automate these language packs, rather than forcing translations to happen twice.)
  • Significant changes in Uyghur (#19950), Farsi, Chinese, and Japanese (including the multibyte patch plugin).

Additional concerns:

License. Many locales also have an unofficial translation of the license. We should be able to collect any of these in a repository and include it automatically in a package. (Note that link is an explainer; no GPL version 2 translations are available from that page.)

Readme. Some locales directly translate readme.html. Others add a second file and use one of two forms: the translated word “readme” (example: leame.html would be Spanish) or using a suffix (“readme-ja.html” for Japanese). We should standardize this somehow. Technically the readme changes with each version due to the version bump, but we can automate that. Bigger readme changes are fairly rare, but we’ll still need to figure out how to have these translated and tracked.

wp-config-sample.php. This one is especially interesting. If a user has chosen a language on install, we don’t need the readme or license but we do need this file, as setup-config.php will display its contents in a textarea if we’re unable to write the file. We can store this file as a single translated string in a PO/MO file (in some automated fashion) or as part of the API response. We will also need some kind of way to translate and track this file to be included in localized packages that are downloaded.

5) Localized packages should only be used for initial downloads from WordPress.org. Instead, language packs should be transparently used for updates.

The WordPress.org API is set up to return a series of update “offers” — one of each type (“latest” a.k.a. reinstall, “update” and “autoupdate”), in both the site’s language and in English. This results in awkward double-upgrades even when no strings have been changed (updating first to English, then to the locale when it is available for that version) and is a lame experience. While auto-generating localized packages immediately will help, there’s no reason to actually use localized packages for updates. Any locale without local modifications can be set up as a language pack now.

As of 3.7, WordPress core supports receiving instructions for language packs. We’d simply stop issuing localized package offers, start issuing language pack offers, and rip out some code on update-core.php that has been handling the multiple-offer dance. This is the easiest of the five 4.0 tasks but is dependent on the very complex fourth task.

Next steps.

Here’s an overall outline of the things we need to do. I’ll be creating relevant core and meta Trac tickets in the coming days, and I’ve also referenced a few related tickets I was able to find.

Biggest problems to solve:

  • Figure out how to handle readmes, licenses, and wp-config-sample.php. This includes plugin (and theme) readmes as well. Remember we don’t want plugin developers to need to be involved in any way; and also that updates to these files will need to be handled elegantly (such that we have both ‘stable’ and ‘development’ tracks).
  • Eliminate all code modifications across all locales (as much as possible). Related, #20974.

WordPress.org/API work:

  • Create an API for core to use to fetch available locales for download.
  • Create an API for core to use to recommend a locale based on browser settings/location.
  • Auto-generate localized packages and core language packs.
  • Serve core language packs for updates, not localized packages. Related: #23113, #27164, #26914, #27752.
  • Mirror the plugin and theme directories to locale sites, with full translations (including readme data) and with selective searching.

Core work:

  • Add the ability to install a new language pack on demand.
  • Add a “switch to language” method, for languages that are installed. #26511
  • Add a screen that allows a locale to be chosen. May need to change how setup-config.php bootstraps WordPress.
  • Add a language chooser to the General Settings screen. #15677
  • Support searching for plugins/themes in a particular language, as well as leveraging translated data fields that come through from the API response. This mostly just means sending back the site’s language to WordPress.org. It also requires UI to reveal results from any languages. We could possibly filter/hide/show on the client side, if results were not paginated.
  • Take a machete to update-core.php’s localized build handling once everything else is done. Related: #25712, #28199.

#4-0, #i18n

Release Candidate for 3.9.1

I’ve packaged up WordPress 3.9 RC1 and intend to ship it Wednesday morning. For a complete list of the 33 issues, please see this report. Some highlights:

  • Widgets: Theme preview empties sidebar on active theme. #27897.
  • Multisite: Fixes regressions with uppercase characters in network paths; and with www as a subdomain. #27866, #27927.
  • Header images: Fix weird behavior (or hiding) of various buttons: #28046, #27848, #27936.
  • Performance: Fix potentially slow query on the new/edit post page. #27985.
  • Various playlist, media, and editor fixes, including drag-and-drop text (#27880) and positioning of images when adding a caption (#27922).
  • Some minor internationalization and RTL issues, like #27924 #27893 #27845.

Note this does not address a number of other issues, which are slated for a 3.9.2 release. Notably, many of these will require updates to TinyMCE, or require additional study or testing.

Download it here (zip) or grab the latest nightly (here or using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin). Testing strongly encouraged; feedback welcome.

#3-9, #3-9-1

Helen is the WordPress 4.0 release lead

Mike and I are pleased to pass the release lead baton to Helen Hou-Sandí for WordPress 4.0. I don’t think this will come as much of a surprise to most of you, but please offer @helen your congratulations, which are well-deserved.

We’ve already discussed 4.0 a bit in our last two meetings. Expect today’s weekly meeting at 2000 UTC in #wordpress-dev to be the kickoff for WordPress 4.0.

@DrewAPicture, @wonderboymusic, and @johnbillion have all been renewed for guest commit for 4.0. Additionally, I’m happy to announce that, after more than a year as guest committers, Dominik (@ocean90) and Sergey (@SergeyBiryukov) both have permanent commit access. Their prolific contributions have left a lasting mark on WordPress and I hope to see them at it for years to come.

A release lead, if anyone is curious, determines all important parameters for a release, like schedule, deadlines, which feature plugins are merged, and more generally, scope and goals. They take point when it comes to meetings, shepherding contributions, announcement posts, and updates. A release lead is a connector and facilitator, identifying bottlenecks and friction wherever they may be and at the service of the developers and plugin teams that are aiming to have something in a given release, and be in frequent communication with them.

The release lead should should follow what’s being committed, and set the tone for prioritizing and gardening the milestone on Trac. Given the constraint of time in hitting a date, help with prioritization and ensuring good communication lines are two of the most valuable things a lead can contribute.

The last five release leads were lead developers, but that’s not a requirement, nor is being a committer. I always thought of my “code reviewer” and “committer” hats as being separate, additional responsibilities. (Helen, of course, also wears these same hats.) Regardless: the release lead has the final call on all important decisions related to the release.

Addendum: For those unaware, for WordPress, version 4.0 sounds like a “big” version number but it’s just another major release for us, like 3.9 and 4.1, constructed over the same ~4-month release cycle. But don’t tell Helen that! Here’s to 4.0 being awesome.

#4-0, #commit, #release-lead

Let’s have a meeting in #wordpress dev on…

Let’s have a meeting in #wordpress-dev on April 21, 2014 18:00 UTC, to discuss WordPress 3.9.1 and triage those tickets. As preparation for the meeting:

Reception has been overwhelmingly positive and, anecdotally at least, we’ve seen more issues as they relate to deliberately changed aspects (TinyMCE/editing) versus generic plugin breakage. I think we’re in pretty good shape based on the bug reports that have come in, but with automatic updates at our disposal, there’s no reason to wait three or four weeks before shipping 3.9.1.

I think we should try to fix the big, obvious stuff by Tuesday and release 3.9.1 as early as Wednesday. Some of the reported issues are pretty core to TinyMCE 4.0 and the various rewrites it triggered (like image editing), which means many of them won’t be handled by 3.9.1. That’s quite OK, especially since some of these may require some upstream fixes in TinyMCE, and since there can always be a 3.9.2 in the weeks ahead.

What I do want to do is have no “unknowns” — we should know exactly what regressed or otherwise is broken, under what circumstances, how major or minor it is, how high or low of a priority it should be, etc. That includes unit tests (if applicable) or at least clear test cases.

cc @azaozz @helen @wonderboymusic @gcorne @avryl @mcsf @ehg @jeremyfelt @ocean90 @westonruter

#3-9, #3-9-1, #agenda

jQuery UI and wpdialogs in WordPress 3.9

WordPress 3.9 does not use the “wpdialogs” TinyMCE plugin as part of the TinyMCE 4.0 update ( #16284, #24067), which comes with a new dialog manager. (For more, see this post and their migration guide.) This was a jQuery UI wrapper we had introduced back in WP 3.1. If you were using this in your own scripts, please be sure you are setting “wpdialogs” as a script dependency.

If you were using jQuery UI for anything on the post screen, please be sure you are setting this as a script dependency.

In both cases you may need to enqueue the “wp-jquery-ui-dialog” stylesheet, if you are using the WP UI dialog design.

#3-9, #dev-notes, #editor, #external-libraries