Dev Chat Summary: October 30th 2019

This post summarizes the weekly dev chat meeting from October 30th 2019 (agenda / Slack Archive).

Announcements

WordPress version 5.3 Release Candidate 3 was released on Tuesday. Everyone please help by testing out the RC.

CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. editor team released Gutenberg version 6.8.

Dev chat meeting time

Like every year, with end of DST (daylight saving time), the meeting time should be moved from 20:00 UTC to 21:00 UTC.

Two options are proposed:

  • Moving on Wednesday November 13th (the day after WP 5.3 is going to be released)
  • Moving on Wednesday November 20th (one week later)

Please share your thoughts in this post’s comments.

WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. US Contributor DayContributor Day Contributor Days are standalone days, frequently held before or after WordCamps but they can also happen at any time. They are events where people get together to work on various areas of https://make.wordpress.org/ There are many teams that people can participate in, each with a different focus. https://2017.us.wordcamp.org/contributor-day/ https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/getting-started/getting-started-at-a-contributor-day/.

WordCamp US’s contributor day is planned for Sunday 3rd November.

5.3 was branched last week, so contributors will be able to work on WordPress 5.4 milestone since trunk is now version 5.4-alpha.

@earnjam and @wpscholar will be leading the core table, Helping people get set up, learn how to get started, find places to focus on work, etc. They also should have several component leads present that can split off and focus on their areas for people who are interested.

Upcoming Releases

WordPress 5.3 Release Candidaterelease candidate One of the final stages in the version release cycle, this version signals the potential to be a final release to the public. Also see alpha (beta). 4 is scheduled next Tuesday if needed.

There is still 7 tickets open in the milestone.

@azaozz regrets that things weren’t reported much earlier, during 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.. By the way, two tickets have patches already, one is almost there, and one may be a candidate for 5.3.1. As 5.3 was branched, all fixes are probably going to be committed to trunktrunk A directory in Subversion containing the latest development code in preparation for the next major release cycle. If you are running "trunk", then you are on the latest revision. (5.4-alpha) but hold on on merging to 5.3 for couple of days to allow easier testing and review. All are (possible) regressions with the way some plugins use particular hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same. around image post-processing and image metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. updates.

@joyously reported a feedback found in Alpha/Beta support forum. It was already merged to Gutenberg and looks fixed in 5.3 blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor code. @youknowriad was pinged as Editor focus lead for WP 5.3.

Open floor

@joyously asked about backporting security fixes to old versions request’s status.

@clorith and @audrasjb noted there will be a panel session at WordCamp US. For those who are not attending WordCamp US, questions can be sent via Twitter.

@desrosj added that there was a very large amount of feedback. @chanthaboune and others are working to compile all that feedback so that all of it can receive proper consideration.

#5-3, #contributor-day, #wcus

Site Health Check Project review at WCUS

This is a verbose set of notes to record the discussions that took place at WCUS and to reflect the work that has been done across multiple teams.

The Site Health Check project is a collaborative multi-team project with a focus on encouraging better site maintenance.

This project benefits not just WordPress users, but also the surrounding PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20 ecosystem as a whole. Our hope is that this will prompt a lot of PHP updates across the web.

It started as a project to focus efforts on getting users to update their hosting version of PHP from 5.2 to something where the End of Life has not already passed.

The project was initially called ServeHappy, homage to the BrowseHappy project which was a global tech effort to move away from Internet Explorer 6. The problem with the project name was that, when tested with users who did not know about the ins and outs of the project, the name was confusing and was not clear what the project’s intentions were.

The project is now known as the Site Health Check project. It encourages and hints to users that if they run a website, they should have a routine of checking and updating not just WordPress but underlying technologies that the site is built on. It also builds positive website ownership and habits.

The project is split into what can be considered 3 parts – changes to WordPress coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. itself, a site health check pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party and the site health check community support.

Upcoming changes to WordPress Core

The core-centric side of the project still reflects the Servehappy origins. This includes:

  • An information page on WordPress.orgWordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ explaining the importance of updating PHP. The team has been working on improving the language used to benefit non-technical people and have clear instructions of what to do if they find out their site is running an old version of PHP.
  • A dashboard notice that will inform users if their site is running on a PHP version that WordPress considers outdated and plans to drop support for in a future update.
    • The version shown in the dashboard is APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways.-driven which means that WordPress leadership has a centralized “knob” to tune the PHP version distribution.
    • The dashboard includes a link to wordpress.org/support/update-php which has generic information on what the notice means and how to update PHP on their servers.

  • There will be an environment variable or a 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. which allows hosting companies to modify the link to the “Update PHP” page on their servers so that it goes to something more relevant for their customers.
    • There are some concerns of security problems and abuse over the link redirection.

  • The team has been working on a feature to add white screen protection, which the hosting group felt was helpful and cool. The white screen protection catches any fatal errors that a PHP update might produce. From the front facing side of the website, the site will still be white screened, but with the protection in place, the user can still access the adminadmin (and super admin) panel.

  • There was a discussion whether it would be better for the site to be slightly broken rather than completely broken, but the general consensus was that it is better to white screen because from the Core Team perspective, they cannot be sure of what the PHP error causes, and thus can’t be sure that all the information being shown is meant to be public.

    It is better to white screen the whole website but ensure that access to the admin panel is still accessible. Once logged in, there will be a general notification regarding the WSOD.

PHP minimum required headers

Plugins

For a while, WordPress plugins have been able to set a minimum PHP required comment as part of the plugin headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes.. To date it has not done anything but set the intention that the plugin author is able to declare what PHP minimum version they are willing to support.

Work is being done so that the Add New Plugin admin screen will show all plugins a user searches for, but will not be able to install any plugins that require a newer version of PHP without updating that first. Another task being worked on is blocking plugin updates if the newer version requires a higher version of PHP, same as it currently works if the update requires a higher version of WordPress.

This gives plugin authors better control of what PHP versions they are willing to support, and will hopefully encourage people to upgrade their version of PHP at the same time.

This change will allow plugin authors the choice to use more modern PHP functionality and syntax without worrying their plugin will break for the end user.

Themes

For themes, the Requires PHP header is not implemented yet, as they didn’t have the same readme.txt file up until recently: https://make.wordpress.org/themes/2018/10/25/october-23rd-theme-review-team-meeting-summary/

Now that new themes do have that requirement, there is an expectation that the header will be implemented as well in the foreseeable future. Here’s a ticketticket Created for both bug reports and feature development on the bug tracker. for that: #meta-3718

Relevant TracTrac An open source project by Edgewall Software that serves as a bug tracker and project management tool for WordPress. Tickets

  • #43986 Disable “Install Plugin” button for PHP required version mismatch. This has already been committed to core.

  • #43987 BlockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. plugin updates if required PHP version is not supported – Plugins screen

  • #44350 Block plugin updates if required PHP version is not supported – Updates screen

The latter two trac tickets are currently slated for 5.1 as well, planned for February 21: https://make.wordpress.org/core/5-1/

The feature merge deadline is January 10 though, so it needs to be discussed at the next #core-php meeting whether making it into 5.1 is still feasible.

A prerequisite for these changes is the WSOD protection that needs to be completed and committed by the deadline: #44458

Join in

The group has weekly meetings on Mondays 16:00 UTC on in the #core-php channel of WordPress SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform https://slack.com/. The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at https://make.wordpress.org/chat/..

GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/: https://github.com/WordPress/servehappy

Site Health Check Plugin

The site health check plugin is a way for users to be able to see technical details of their website setup without going into the server side of things. It is useful to conducting top level investigation work without accessing the server directly.

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. version of the plugin takes the best practices from the Hosting Team’s documentation and checks the server against that. This includes: WordPress version number, plugins and themes are up to date, PHP version number, if HTTPSHTTPS HTTPS is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure'. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. This is especially helpful for protecting sensitive data like banking information. is active across the whole site as well as a number of other things.

When Health Check gives notifications about upgrading things, it hands users off to plain English documentation to walk them through the process. For example: https://wordpress.org/support/update-php/. Notifications for plugins and themes being up to date are based on the version inside the plugin and theme repo. If a theme or plugin is not present in the repo, it will assume it is up to date and will not give an error.

Eventually, a lot of the Site Health Check plugin will be in core.

The Site Health Check Plugin uses a traffic light system to flag up the importance of a suggested change. The definition of critical vs non-critical update notifications is from a security perspective. If it is a security issuesecurity issue A security issue is a type of bug that can affect the security of WordPress installations. Specifically, it is a report of a bug that you have found in the WordPress core code, and that you have determined can be used to gain some level of access to a site running WordPress that you should not have., it’s critical.

Early user testing with the community has shown that the plugin suffers from a lack of designer eye. During WCUS, we have had a designer volunteer to review the interface and give feedback.

This should help with the usability of the plugin and balance it between positive reinforcement of things that are set up as guided by best practices whilst not over-burdening people with extra technical information.

There is some useful documentation on how to use the Site Health Check Plugin: https://make.wordpress.org/support/handbook/appendix/troubleshooting-using-the-health-check/

Join in

– Github: https://github.com/wordpress/health-check

– WP.org : https://wordpress.org/plugins/health-check

Site Health Check Desks & Community Support

In-person support is invaluable. When a user is unsure of what to do, they can find in-person support at their local meetupMeetup All local/regional gatherings that are officially a part of the WordPress world but are not WordCamps are organized through https://www.meetup.com/. A meetup is typically a chance for local WordPress users to get together and share new ideas and seek help from one another. Searching for ‘WordPress’ on meetup.com will help you find options in your area. and WordCamps. To omit any surprises, we can encourage our community to pre-warn and prepare as many people as possible.

The idea of Site Health Check desks has been tested in 3 different WordCamps and 1 meet-up with improvements and suggestions being fed back to the plugin and fliers.

Site Health Checks is an extension of the Happiness Bar, and by asking the simple question “Do you know what version of PHP your website is running?”, people either:

  • Know & it is up to date – get a high-five. Say Awesome and keep up the good work. Pre-warn the next EOL of PHP Dates.
  • Know & it is out of date – highlight the EOL date has already passed and recommend they update their PHP version.
  • If they don’t know, Check if they know how to check. If they do, suggest that they check and that they want it to be 7.2 or higher. 7.1 EOL is in a year.
  • If they don’t know and don’t know how to check, invite them to sit down and the volunteers can help them check using the Site Health Check plugin. DO NOT scrape the site. They can end up being blocked off the servers.

Postcards were created with 5 core things to check. As well as printable table toppers. They are used as fliers for people to know where to download the site health check.

Meetup organisers have also shown an interest in running the site health check and promoting it at their meet-ups.

This is where much of the user testing of both the “Update PHP” information page and the Site Health Check plugin is happening.

Plugins and Themes Plans

Plugins and Themes served from WordPress.org can be automatically checked and updated to be compatible with 7.X. This is because there is access to the SVNSVN Subversion, the popular version control system (VCS) by the Apache project, used by WordPress to manage changes to its codebase. where these plugins are being pushed from.

Ideally, plugin authors who have a plugin in the plugin repo will update their plugins to be compatible with PHP 7.X. There are already plugins such as the PHP Compatibility Checker which people can use to check how compatible their websites are with a version of PHP.

How are premium plugins and themes going to be handled?

The plugin team at WordPress.org can contact authors, but ultimately it is up to the plugin author to action the suggestions that are made from the WordPress.org team.

If there is no answer, or the author does not wish to fix errors, then this is a dead end.

Target Dates

WordPress 5.1  ->  ServeHappy notice + White Screen of Death protector

WordPress 5.2 ->  Site Health Check plugin

Where hosting companies come into play

We would like hosting companies to go aggressively, pushing their communities forward before WordPress does.

We know that, as a hosting company, many of you will see the same issues come up during a PHP update. It would be useful to the rest of the group if any information of any PHP errors that are being seen repeatedly and information about which plugin or theme is causing it. It will allow the rest of the team to prioritise which plugins and themes need attention to be fixed across the whole community.

It will also help the support team if any solutions are found to be shared, so that they know what to be suggesting in the forums. We may be able to add notices before a PHP update into the health check which highlights problematic plugins.

Hosts with PHP lower than 5.6 may see some initial notifications before that date.

Hosting company teams are most likely to know other people working in the hosting sector. Above all else – get the word out.  Big hosts are represented well here, but as a community we are aware and worried about the smaller, independent hosters. Talk to your hosting friends. Let them know this is coming. Invite the small hosting companies to join the Hosting Team on WordPress.org for up to date information of what is upcoming and will be effecting hosters.

The more we can update in batches the less burden there is across the whole industry.

Where plugin and theme authors come into play

If plugin and theme authors ensure that their plugins have a PHP minimum version set in their required header, then their plugins and themes will be ready once the PHP requirement is being enforced.

Plugin and theme authors should also ensure that their plugins are compatible with PHP 7.X. Tools such as PHP Code Sniffer (PHPCS) or the PHP Compatibility Checker as mentioned above should help.

Actions from the meeting

– Ensure there is communication with the hosting team regarding release date plans.

–  #core-php should be cross posting ServeHappy notes to the Hosting P2P2 A free theme for WordPress, known for front-end posting, used by WordPress for development updates and project management. See our main development blog and other workgroup blogs. as well.

– WordPress.hosting has been taken, unsure by who. It would be handy to have WordPress.hosting symlink to Hosting Team P2 to help getting other hosting companies to join the Hosting Team

– Recommend that Hosting Team check and sync up the Best Practices documentation.

– Can someone from the hosting team please review and ensure that Health Check plugin is checking against everything that exists in the “Hosting Best Practices” doc.

– Recommended to Health Check plugin to check out Lighthouse plugin UIUI User interface.

– Write up more in-depth info for meetup and WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. organisers, have postcard and table toppers online so they can be shared and translated easily.

Thanks

The effort to raise the minimum PHP version requirement of WordPress is a big cross- team effort. Big thanks to

  • @brettface for the notes.
  • #core-php, #plugins, #themes and #meta team for their hard work
  • the #hosting team for their input and support
  • @alexdenning from #marketing team for the content review
  • @clorith from #forums for the health-check plugin development
  • WordCamp London 2018, WCEU 2018 and WordCamp Brighton 2018 organisers for allowing us to test the Health Check help desk concept
  • And to the #polyglots team who will be asked in the near future to translate our work for the whole community.

#recap, #servehappy, #wcus

Progressive Web @ WCUS Contributor’s Day

From whatwebcando.today you can get a sense of the large number of rich web APIs that are standard today. This is often referred to as the Progressive Web Platform. With these capabilities, alongside the use of modern development workflows and coding and performance best practices, web developers can create great user-first experiences on the web.  Similarly, the WordPress platform has also been evolving steadily since its inception, and most recently, sweeping changes are being introduced with the development of GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/.

An important part of the continued evolution of WordPress is the integration of modern Web Platform capabilities into coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. when possible, and into plugins and themes as well. We have been working on a project aimed at integrating the Service Workers API (#36995) and Web App Manifests (#43328) into WordPress core, as well as expanding core support for HTTPSHTTPS HTTPS is an acronym for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure. HTTPS is the secure version of HTTP, the protocol over which data is sent between your browser and the website that you are connected to. The 'S' at the end of HTTPS stands for 'Secure'. It means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. This is especially helpful for protecting sensitive data like banking information. (#28521). Right now this effort is been advanced under the umbrella of a PWA feature plugin.

Up until now this feature pluginFeature Plugin A plugin that was created with the intention of eventually being proposed for inclusion in WordPress Core. See Features as Plugins. has primarily been collaboration between XWP and the Chrome team at Google. The pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party is a technology preview for a core foundation that themes and plugins can use to create new user experiences, like being able to access a site while offline. Service workers will also make it possible to do offline editing in Gutenberg. To be successful, the project needs the participation of the WordPress core community and wider ecosystem. We have been delaying the feature-as-plugin proposal until after Gutenberg launches, but now that WordPress 5.0 is around the corner, we want to start the formal feature-as-plugin process.

We will be at the WCUS Contributor Day in Nashville next week, and we want to discuss the current status of the PWA feature plugin and a roadmap for the work ahead. If you are interested in learning more about this proposal and possibly contribute to the project, we would love to chat.

#progressive, #pwa, #service-workers, #wcus