The importance of automated updates for all the things

I logged into my personal site today. It was the first time in a while. I realized while doing so that I haven’t blogged much on that site this year. As soon as I logged in, I was confronted with several update notifications. This happens every time.

This can’t be.

Most people don’t use their CMS all day every day. They log in every now and then to change something specific, to write a blog post, or whatever other task. To be confronted with notifications galore every single time is unacceptable.

We, as professionals in the WordPress space, are blind to the gross user experience that is managing a self hosted website. Is it better than it was five years ago? Yes, by miles. Is it acceptable? Not at all.

Today, hosted software is the norm and it is a better user experience (for the most part) than having to twist all the knobs and tweak all the settings yourself like you have to do in a self-hosted system. For the average person, every interaction with the software is a painful one.

Apple knew this when they enabled auto-updates for iPhones. Who misses manual updates? I’d bet not even 1% of the 1% misses them.

I believe every host that relies on self-hosted software like WordPress should be all over this problem. Core should be on it. Product makers should be on it. In the long term, it is a very big deal.

The groundwork for auto updates has been laid for some time. Since WordPress 3.7, auto updates have been possible for core, plugins, and themes. The decision to make those updates is up to managers and hosts, with controls for site owners to prevent it.

It was a controversial decision with a lot of pushback. It was unequivocally the right call.

Now it’s time to make another step. It’s time to start talking about what the future will look like for automated updates for everything. And built in should be the assurance that the update was successful; if it was not, it should be rolled back and properly direct the administrator on how to resolve the issue.

It’s not easy, but I sincerely believe it’s critical to WordPress’s long term success. Because when I log in, I want to manage content, not manage my content management system.

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