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WordPress Weekly News 012: A chat with Matt, PHP 5.6, And More

Moeez — March 30, 2017 4 Minutes Read

Remember when we were in school and our friends would share their assignments with us but not specifically allow us to copy the whole thing and we would do that anyway? Well, Facebook reminds me of those moments. The Facebook mobile app now has three features: Camera, Direct and Stories, all of which are copied from Snapchat. Talk about rip-offs.

WordPress weekly news

Let’s now get back to all the major WordPress talking points which I will be bringing to you in this WordPress Weekly News. In this week’s roundup, we will talk about PHP 5.6, a chat with Matt, theme authors and much more.

PHP 5.6 takes over 5.3 5.4

PHP 5.6 is now the most widely used PHP version. It has overtaken PHP 5.3 and 5.4 and according to W3Tech, it is now used in over 82.6% of the websites. Out of all the PHP versions, PHP 7 is used in 3.1% of the websites and PHP 5 is used by 95.3% with PHP 6 topping the charts.

PHP 5.6 version

PHP 5.6 still receives security updates while the previous versions used to receive updates up till 2016. This makes 5.6’s popularity a major milestone for PHP since it will continue to receive update till 2018.

When we talk about WordPress, the community is a bit slow in adopting newer versions of PHP. Most of the users are still using unsupported versions like 5.2. To eradicate this issue, WordPress has launched a community where collaboration can increase between those with hosting experience.

How Old Is Your Plugin?

A new website gives you information that you won’t get from the WordPress Plugin Directory. It tells you the age of a plugin. That’s pretty interesting. Developed by Ahmed Awais and Maedah Batool, Age WP plugin, tells you how old a plugin is. You can type in the plugin name in the search bar and you it will tell you when it was entered in the WordPress directory.

WP plugin age

In 2015, the WordPress plugin directory was redesigned and has replaced “Download” with “Active Installs”. The website also tells us how many times a plugin has been downloaded. Awais, the co-founder of the website, figured that one of the data points of a plugin is the submission date.

Matt Talks About Theme Repository

Matt Mullenweg had a meeting last Friday to discuss the future of WordPress Theme Repository. He wanted to know more about the theme review team and the issues that are most commonly found in themes.

Matt wants the theme repository to be the central hub of all the themes and users should be able to find themes at the repository only. He was also interested in giving more weight to user reviews. Matt is interested in including a theme-ranking system where themes will be ranked based on user reviews.

Users can be given an option to give a thumbs up or another option for feedback which will affect the ranking of a theme in the repository. Matt also thinks that the home page should include themes which are popular rather than showing them randomly.

Theme Authors Lack Knowledge – Recent Survey Reveals

Carolina Nymark, a member of the theme review team, reviewed tickets of 100 themes that were not approved to find out what were the most common issues in those themes. Her analysis revealed that 23 themes missed escaping or used the wrong function. 21 themes had text that was not ready for translation. Other common issues were:

  • Missing prefix: 20 themes
  • Scripts or styles are not enqueued: 18 themes
  • PHP notices, errors or warnings: 12 themes
  • Style tags does not correspond with theme functionality, or are deprecated: 10 themes

The Theme Handbook covers almost every aspect of a theme but doesn’t have much content on security issues. To address the hassle of manually reviewing each theme for security related issues, a plugin is under development phase which will automatically detect issues in the themes coming in for approval.

The Week’s Best Tutorial & Tips

If I have missed out on a news or a tutorial that you think is good enough, do share it in the comments.

 

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Moeez is ‘The’ blogger in charge of WPblog. He loves to interact and learn about WordPress with people in the WordPress community. Outside his work life, Moeez spends time hanging out with his friends, playing Xbox and watching football on the weekends. You can get in touch with him at moeez[at]wpblog.com.

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