After the WordPress 5.2 release was pushed back to early May and the first release candidate became available for testing, some detailed posts surfaced about 5.2 with some new and more in-depth analysis.

William Earnhardt addressed the accessibility changes developers should note. These include Post Formats in list tables, a change in the Archive Dropdown Widget, and some other small items.

There are also several improvements for developers touching on Privacy Policy pages and data exports.

Some other miscellaneous updates for developers:

👉🏻 A new wp_body_open Theme Hook that “[t]hemes are encouraged to begin using […] as soon as 5.2 is released.”
👉🏻 Login header adjustments.
👉🏻 A new category_list_link_attributes filter has been added to Walker_Category to allow customization of the HTML attributes.
👉🏻 Introduction of a new users_have_additional_content filter, which will enable plugins to run additional checks before a user is deleted.

The new Site Health Check feature has drawn a great deal of interest. It brings a new admin interface that helps users “self-service” their site. Tests are filterable so plugins/themes can add their own (direct/async) tests. 😷

Like many WordPress plugins, Site Health Check has a debugging information tab and a button to quickly copy non-sensitive information so you can easily paste it into, say, a support ticket or email.

Developers, be sure to check out the WordPress 5.2 field guide if you haven't yet. 📔

To top it all off, the Gutenberg editor will now support GIPHY images, as of WordPress 5.2. Woot!

Chris Coyier shares his thoughts on how to improve WordPress comments. Chris has WordPress sites with a cumulative total of a few hundred thousand (generally high quality) comments, so he speaks with some authority on this subject.

Many of Chris's suggestions are ones I like — HTML email formatting and some design love for the admin interface. Comments, unfortunately, seem unlikely to receive serious attention anytime soon. 🤐

Justin Tadlock posted an update about his focus and direction with Theme Hybrid as he limits his scope to a few key projects: “It’s hard to build truly great products when you can never focus on any given thing at a time.” ⌛

Newly released Exhale will be Justin's flagship theme going forward, and he will be heavily invested in creating child themes for it. Older themes will get security and other urgent updates if needed. The Members plugin will be Justin's flagship plugin project. 🛳️

Theme Hybrid will continue to offer both a Standard and Premium membership tier, but Justin is lowering the price for the Standard membership.

Registration is open for WPCampus 2019, which is happening July 25-27 in Portland, Oregon. 🎓

Here's an excellent guide (in five languages) to help developers write better commit messages.

If you follow PHP development, you might be interested to know that a JIT (“just in time”) engine is coming to PHP 8. This change will present some challenges, but overall the benefit will be increased performance. ⏱️

There isn't a lot of information about this right now, but there is a good discussion with Zeev Suraski, CTO & Co-founder of Zend and Derick Rethans in the latest episode of PHP Internals News. Their conversation provides an overview and some background regarding past efforts to get a JIT engine into PHP.

Speaking of PHP versions, here's a nice updated list of what's expected in PHP 7.4 near the end of 2019.

Jon Kantner tried going without CSS in all the major browsers and wrote about the experience. Why? “It's a good way to check some accessibility standards. [….] And, like any tool we have in our set, leaning too heavily on CSS to handle the functionality and behavior of elements can lead to poor experiences.” 😖

HeroPress published Anyssa Ferreira‘s story this week, which involves Anyssa's efforts to travel to WCUS from São Paulo, Brazil in 2015 and 2016. Anyssa was repeatedly denied a visa to enter the United States, even though she had received a scholarship to attend WCUS! 😠

This year Anyssa will be going to WCEU, no visa required.

Hopefully, something can be done to help clear barriers WCUS attendees may face, especially those who receive scholarships.

RafflePress is an upcoming product from Awesome Motive (makers of OptinMonster) that promises to provide a method “to easily create giveaways, contests and rewards” in WordPress. 🎫

Delicious Brains shared in a recent post how they replaced all of the jQuery with React in  WP Migrate DB Pro.

If you are a JavaScript developer, Sam DeSota‘s arresting post is worth a read: “Javascript debuggers are broken, and it's our fault.” 💔

Ian Stewart talks about being a communication leader by using the elements of art and visual design:

Just like I can use these elements to create visual harmony and an effective design or piece of art, I can use these same elements to be a better leader in design.

WPGraphQL for ACF is a new plugin that allows you to interact with your Advanced Custom Field data using GraphQL Queries.

Here's a good reminder from Ben Cullimore that designers should avoid the temptation to overuse icons and start with user needs.

Icons have their advantages, but Ben noticed in some of the use cases he shares that some icons do more harm than good. After lots of lab testing and pop-up sessions, his team ended up with a set of 11 icons that achieved everything they needed.

BuddyPress recently updated to version 4.3.0. It's a security and maintenance release, so be sure to upgrade if you are using the plugin on any of your sites.

I recently stumbled across these WordPress-specific Nginx configuration templates and best practices. Good stuff!

Beaver Builder reports that they have crossed the 1,000,000 mark for installs! 👏

As Hashim Warren pointed out on Twitter, that is more than the entire user base of Squarespace.

Dumitru Brinzan examines the package size of major WordPress versions over the past decade and how they've grown over 600%. We've gone from 5.38 MB and 603 files to 38.0 MB and 1,713 files.

Dumitru also looks at the sizes and number of files of popular themes and plugins, including JetPack.

Noting that there “are appropriate tools for all tasks,” Dumitru believes that WordPress is no longer suitable “for the most basic of websites.” He illustrates this with the line “you don’t use a blowtorch to light a match.” 🔥

I do believe there are instances where additional complexities in software are required. On the other hand, many websites are bloated. JavaScript, images, and video can be optimized or removed. Bloat is often a result of pride and laziness in business decisions and development.

🎙️ Here are a few podcasts I've enjoyed recently:

  • Matt Medeiros interviewed Craig Hewitt and Dave Rodenbaugh of RogueStartups. They discussed how business owners operating within the WordPress ecosystem and the SaaS world view “the economy of plugins” as opposed to “hosted software solutions.”
  • If you have a vested internet in podcasts, you might want to keep an eye on what the startup Luminary is doing, and how it may threaten independent podcasting. I recommend listening to this 30-minute segment of the Accidental Tech Podcast. (This is an Apple-based podcast, but this part doesn't mention Apple.) There are some great insights here.
  • The WPMRR WordPress Podcast had a recent episode where Joe Howard and Christie Chirinos talk about the pros and cons of using open-source and closed platforms.
  • If you're interested in content marketing, then you might enjoy WPElevation‘s interview with Kim Doyal. One of the lessons she shares: “Don’t charge into something new with the mindset of Ready, Aim, Fire. Instead, take your time with Aim, Ready, Fire.”