Multisite Roadmap Published

Over the past year, the multisite team has been looking at possible features to add or improve support for, what some of the pain points are and last but not least how to align with the core focuses for this year, which for multisite scope basically means working on REST API support and usage.

The result of those long discussions is a clearly defined roadmap, describing what the priorities will be over the next couple months or generally the near future. It should be clarified that this is a living document that will see updates from time to time as tasks get completed or new decisions are made.

The roadmap document lives on a separate page to be easily accessible outside of the blog, and also to allow other component teams to possibly follow with their own roadmaps.

Here is what the roadmap focuses on at this point of publication:

  • REST API support for users, sites and networks
  • new internal APIs for sites and networks
  • introduction of site metadata
  • internal usage of the Meta API for network options
  • file organization improvements

All the above will set a solid foundation to after their completion finally focus on some long-needed more user-centric enhancements, particularly to the administration panels. Other long-term changes include improving test coverage and global context support. Those areas are also described a little more broadly in separate sections towards the end of the roadmap.

Please refer to the roadmap document for a full and current overview of multisite priorities.

#core-multisite

Approaches for a complete sites endpoint and an expanded WP_Site_Query

Multisite office hours are held every Tuesday at 16:00 UTC in #core-multisite. The next will be Tuesday 16:00 UTC.

Creating a useful sites/ endpoint for the REST API and making WP_Site_Query more useful have been frequent topics over the last few weeks in #core-multisite. Quite a bit of discussion has been centered around the idea of a global wp_blogmeta table, whether it’s a good fit for core, and (if so) how to approach its introduction. See #37923 and the previous make/core post discussing a sites endpoint for additional background.

The intent of this post is to step back a bit and clarify the issues at hand to help identify the right solution(s).

The initial site information problem

A request to a global wp-json/wp/v2/sites/ endpoint on a network should return a set of site objects, similar to how wp-json/wp/v2/posts/ returns a set of post objects. A request to wp-json/wp/v2/sites/4 would return a single site object.

Written today each site object, represented as WP_Site in PHP, would provide at least this data:

  • ID
  • domain
  • path
  • registered
  • last_updated
  • public
  • archived
  • mature
  • spam
  • deleted
  • lang_id

The above fields all mirror what is available in the global wp_blogs database table installed with multisite. These are useful on their own, but additional data is frequently required.

Example: One piece of the admin that would be great to power with the REST API is the My Sites menu that multisite users see in the toolbar. To build this view, the home URL, admin URL, and site name are all necessary. In PHP, this data is made available through magic properties on the WP_Site object. When home, siteurl, blogname, or post_count is requested, the site uses switch_to_blog() and get_option() to populate the data from the individual site’s options table. If 25 sites are on the list, this generates 25 context switches and accesses 25 different tables.

There are at least a few approaches here:

  • Mirror the existing PHP experience and ensure properties are populated before the REST API response is returned. Possibly introduce a lighter weight switch_to_blog() option.
  • Provide a basic site object as well as an option to _embed other data in the response.
  • Migrate these properties into wp_blogs from wp_#_options as additional columns.
  • Migrate these properties into a global wp_blogmeta table.
  • Migrate these properties into another shared global space.

The querying sites problem

It’s currently possible to query for sites by the default fields listed above. This data is useful for querying, but it would also be nice to query by a site’s name, description, or other piece of data at a global level.

Example: In the list table that displays all the sites of a network, it’s possible to query by a site’s domain or path, but not by it’s actual name. In a large network, a user may find it difficult to find a site when many sites share similar domains or paths. The user may know the site’s title, but not the address itself.

There is no real workaround for this issue in core right now as each site’s name is stored individually in that site’s wp_#_options table and cannot be queried collectively.

Possible approaches:

  • Migrate these properties into wp_blogs() from wp_#_options as additional fields.
  • Migrate these properties into a global wp_blogmeta table.
  • Migrate these properties into another shared global space.

Feedback please

Please leave any thoughts you have on possible approaches to these 2 problems. It would be especially helpful to identify some use cases that may not yet be clear, or approaches that are not listed above. All feedback is welcome. 🙂

#multisite, #rest-api

Providing a REST API sites endpoint for multisite

One of the objectives for multisite is to determine how sites can be managed with the REST API. This has been an agenda item for the last two weeks and quite a bit has been processed. This will continue to be a topic, so please stop in for #core-multisite office hours on Tuesday 17:00 UTC and please leave your feedback in the comments on this post.

January 17 chat log and January 24 chat log in #core-multisite

Attendees: @kenshino, @vizkr, @danhgilmore, @iamfriendly, @flixos90, @schlessera, @sergeybiryukov, @pbearne, @paaljoachim, @streetlamp, @jnylen0, @loreleiaurora, @maximeculea

The requirements for the /sites/ endpoint can be summed up with these assertions:

  • The /sites/ endpoint should provide a useful set of data for each site without requiring the use of switch_to_blog().
  • It should be possible to query /sites/ for something other than ID, domain, and path.

In its current state, any /sites/ endpoint is limited to the fields in the wp_blogs table. Data such as a site’s name and description are stored in each individual site’s wp_#_options table.

Given a list of 20 sites, switch_to_blog() will be used 20 times so that get_option() can be used to retrieve things like home, siteurl, blogname, and blogdescription. An example of how inefficient this is can be found in the generation of the My Sites menu. Caching has gotten better with the introduction of WP_Site and WP_Site_Query, but there is an opportunity to change how the information is stored.

In #37923, @johnjamesjacoby suggests the introduction of a wp_blogmeta table that provides access to some site information in a common table. After discussing this in the January 17 chat, @iamfriendly and @flixos90 agreed to each take a look at core’s default options stored in wp_options and determine which made sense in a shared wp_blogmeta table. Richard’s results can be found in a comment on the ticket and Felix’s in the Slack discussion.

After some discussion in the January 24 chat, that list can be pared down a bit more.

  • home
  • siteurl
  • blogname
  • blogdescription
  • admin_email

The creation of a new table, wp_blogmeta, and migration of data for each site from wp_#_options is something that needs feedback. Without this change, a /sites/ endpoint is still possible, but may be limited. With the change, a /sites/ endpoint is much more useful, but requires a careful migration process.

#multisite, #networks-sites, #rest-api