WordPress news roundup #2

Welcome to my second WordPress News Roundup. This time I have recorded an audio only version. Let’s just call it a podcast! Give it a listen and see what you think.

You will find a transcript of the episode at the bottom of the post.

I welcome any feedback you may have. I’m also interested in any suggestions for topics or news to cover. Please leave a comment below.

Show notes:

(Links to references in the podcast)

Episode Transcript

Click to display transcript

Hi, it’s Mike Little here, and welcome to another of my WordPress news roundups. This one is number two.

So on the security front, there have been a number of security releases for some popular plugins recently Buddypress, the WordPress REST API, duplicator, WP Super Cache. Ironically, all in one WP security and many more. As usual, my advice is to ensure you update your WordPress site as soon as updates are available. If you don’t log in to your site every day, use a plugin like Updates Notifier, which will send you an email whenever updates are available, coupled with a good backup routine, this will help keep you safe. If you want to learn more about website security in general, subscribe to Sucuri’s blog at blog.sucuri.net. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.

There’s a new plugin which claims to alert you of any plugins you have installed that have known vulnerabilities. This sounds like a good idea but my expectation is that any published vulnerabilities will only be known after the plugin author has had a chance to issue an update, so that one would hope you would already have the updated versions of any plugins this service knows about. Still, I’ll add a link to the plugin in the show notes and it’s something worth investigating.

The press this bookmarklet continues to be improved heading for WordPress 4.2 release. It was interesting to hear that although selected images are initially stored as URLs, when the post is published, the images are imported into your media library. This will prevent any inadvertent hot linking. I was also intrigued to hear it may eventually work on multiple sites though, not in this next release.

I’ve seen a lot of buzz around Google’s announcement that they will be expanding their use of mobile friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide, and will have a significant impact in search results, they’ve said. The change is supposed to go live April 21, which is in itself interesting in that Google have pre-announced this algorithm change they did so back in February. The WordPress theme review team have some advice on their blog, and I’ll link to that. And you can use Google’s mobile friendliness testing tool to check your site. If your site does not pass their test, I recommend switching to a mobile friendly or mobile responsive theme unless you have the CSS skills yourself to fix the problem. On the whole, I see this as a good move. I do get frustrated by sites that don’t work well on my mobile phone and will quickly give up if they are too frustrating or too slow.

I spotted on Twitter that Stack Overflow have published the results of their developer survey and WP Tavern have highlighted that the survey ranks WordPress as the third most dreaded technology. Ouch. It also hurts that we are considered worse than SharePoint. Though I expect that’s because SharePoint developers generally have had some kind of formal training.

I was very interested to see that WP dev shed had published an article benchmarking the many WordPress caching plugins. It was interesting to see that such a large number of plugins on the test, many of which were new to me. It was nice that they ran all the tests on shared hosting to emulate the typical non technical user’s experience. Though their particular hosting service used an NginX proxy, which many do not. It’s a shame they went to so much trouble to document the results from tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow only to conclude that the results weren’t really applicable to the experiment. But when they did get onto the speed test, it was gratifying to find my particular go to caching plugin, WP Super Cache, ranked second overall. The winner though was rocket cache a new player in town, and it’s one I keep meaning to investigate.

I mentioned in my last roundup that WordPress 4.2 would support emoji characters. What is exciting is that technical changes to do that, more importantly, will enable WordPress to natively support Chinese, Korean and Japanese characters a great step along the way to WordPress being a truly international app.

It is interesting to see that the theme review company that company started recently by Emil Uzelac and just in tadlock to provide commercial theme reviews is considering plugin reviews too. They don’t yet offer the service on their site, so I haven’t seen any idea of pricing. But I’ll keep my eye open for the news.

I spotted an article on Microsoft’s place in the opensource world with a little speculation they might one day opensource Windows. WP talent had an article neatly summarising just how far the organisation has come. I still find people surprised when I tell them that an IIS version of WordPress is still maintained. and it is good to be reminded that they have sponsored WordCamps in the past and at least two major Microsoft sites run on WordPress, Microsoft Europe and Microsoft news centre.

Finally, I read a great article by Pippin Williamson about him and his team contributing back to WordPress. It’s well worth a read. If you make some or all of your living from WordPress, please do consider giving back to the wider community in some way. As his first commenter asked, there are many non coding ways to contribute, check out make.wordpress.org for details.

This has been a brief roundup of WordPress news I found interesting recently, I hope to bring you more in the next episode. If you have any ideas for topics or news you would like me to cover please leave a comment below. Or if you’re not listening to this on my site, go to mikelittle.org and look for the latest news roundup. I’m always glad to hear feedback. Thanks for listening. Bye

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Comments

  1. An engaging, informative and succinct piece. Convenient too for those who can’t make the meetings and the links are really useful.

    What’s more – no ads, I did not have to sign up to anything and.. its free. Thanks a heap.

  2. Hi Mike, thanks very much for mentioning our study on caching plugins. We learnt alot putting it together and in hindsight there are certainly things we’d do a bit differently in terms of setting up the experiments and framing the results. Still I’m stoked you found the results useful. Cheers.