Hey there, everyone. We’re back with yet another edition of The WordPress Update for June 2018.
If you’re not familiar, this is our monthly series where we collect all the latest and greatest WordPress news from the past month, add some of our own thoughts and analysis, and share it with you both in our newsletter and on our blog.
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In the biggest news in June, Matt Mullenweg laid out a rough roadmap for what’s happening with the new WordPress Gutenberg editor over the next few months. We still won’t see WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg any time soon, but things are definitely moving along and the Gutenberg team will push more aggressively for adoption.
Beyond that, there’s a nasty new WordPress malware that eats other malware, as well as a handy new plugin that makes it easy to find plugin compatibility issues.
Keep on reading to catch up with everything noteworthy that happened in June 2018.
Matt Mullenweg lays out the roadmap for Gutenberg
As part of Matt Mullenweg’s keynote speech at WordCamp Europe 2018, he laid out the roadmap for Gutenberg in the near future.
In case you’re not already familiar, Gutenberg is the name for the complete rebuild of the WordPress editor.
Here’s what’s going to be happening with Gutenberg over the next few months…
In July, there’s going to be a new minor release with a strong CTA for users to install either the Gutenberg or Classic Editor plugins. Additionally, WordPress.com wp-admin users will need to opt-out if they don’t want to use in Gutenberg (this won’t affect self-hosted WordPress sites).
Basically, the push in July seems to be about getting as much usage as possible while Gutenberg is still in its plugin format.
In August and beyond, the goal is to resolve all critical issues with Gutenberg and get it active on 100,000+ sites with over 250,000+ posts written.
Also around August (or beyond), there are hopes to have a WordPress 5.0 beta ready to go.
If you read the WPTavern article that I linked above, you’ll see that many agency owners think the timeline is a bit ambitious. So while there’s a chance we see this stuff happening in August, it’s more likely that the “and beyond” part wins out.
You can also find more information in another WPTavern article, “Gutenberg Team Panel Talks Release Timeline, Theme Building, and Customization at WCEU“.
We know where WordCamp US and Europe 2019 will be
Matt Mullenweg’s keynote speech was only a part of everything that happened at WordCamp Europe, which wrapped up on June 16th.
As of yet, everyone seems to have been too busy to publish any detailed roundups, so maybe we’ll save that for July!
But if you’re interested in where next year’s WordCamp US and WordCamp Europe will be hosted, here are the details:
WordCamp US 2019 will be hosted in St. Louis.
And WordCamp Europe 2019 will be hosted in Berlin, Germany.
Start planning your calendars now if you want to attend!
A WordPress malware that eats other…malware
In June, Wordfence highlighted an interesting new malware infection called “BabaYaga”.
What makes BabaYaga unique is that, as the title above suggests, it has the capability to actually remove other malware from your WordPress site. And it can even safely update your WordPress core software to make sure that your site runs smoothly (apart from the BabaYaga infection, of course!).
Now, BabaYaga isn’t doing this to help you – it’s really just trying to eliminate the malicious competition and keep your site working smoothly so that it can use your site for nefarious purposes.
The end-purpose goal of BabaYaga is to generate spam content and links for affiliate marketing. Essentially, it uses spam content to rank your site for certain keywords and then redirects visitors to an affiliate link.
Neither of those things is what you want on your site!
Plugin Detective – Check out this awesome new plugin
As part of WordCamp Orange County in June 2018, there was a Plugin-a-Palooza contest where the winner took home $3,000. This year, a plugin called Plugin Detective won the crown.
This is an exceptionally interesting plugin because it solves a pain point that I’ve had to write about quite a bit. Specifically, if your site is experiencing an issue, how do you find the exact plugin that’s causing that issue if you have 25+ plugins active?
Diagnosing plugin conflicts is one of the most common first-steps with any issue. But it’s also a huge pain to do manually.
Previously, you basically had to manually deactivate/reactivate individual plugins until you could find the culprit.
Plugin Detective takes that manual process and automates it for you. It’s basically doing the same thing – just without any manual input. It’s still pretty new, but this is definitely a plugin to watch.
The menace of WordPress theme creep
“Theme creep” is when your WordPress theme tries to do too much by itself.
See, WordPress themes are only supposed to handle your site’s design and layout. All the functionality is supposed to be in plugins.
For example, if your theme includes a “portfolio” post type, that functionality should be part of a plugin, not the core theme.
Why is this important? Because if you ever want to switch themes in the future, you will lose data if you’re using a theme with theme creep issues.
On the other hand, if your theme properly separates design and functionality, you should be able to seamlessly switch between themes without any issues.
For a deeper discussion of this issue, check out this detailed post from David at WPShout. The comments section is definitely worth a read, as well!
This post is a refresh and republish of David’s original 2014 post – but it’s still relevant today, unfortunately.
How to host WordPress yourself from Delicious Brains
Hosting companies have made it pretty easy to install and host WordPress nowadays. But have you ever thought about hosting WordPress yourself?
This approach definitely isn’t for everyone – but for the curious, it’s a neat way to both gain control, learn some basic server admin, and maybe even save some money.
Delicious Brains has had a detailed guide to hosting WordPress yourself for years now. But every year, they update the guide to account for the latest changes. Most recently, they updated the series this June.
Even if you don’t go through with it, reading this guide is an interesting way to get a look at what’s happening behind the scenes with your WordPress site.
Automattic/WordPress.com buys Atavist
In business news, Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com, made a big acquisition of a company called Atavist.
Atavist is a content creation platform for publishers and bloggers. Sounds like WordPress.com, right? Well, the difference is that Atavist also makes it easy to create a paywall and build a subscriber base.
The Atavist CMS is going to get kicked to the curb, but Automattic plans to integrate Atavist’s publishing platform into WordPress.com.
While the terms of the deal are undisclosed, Atavist had raised $5.7 million in “debt and venture funding”, so it’s likely a multi-million dollar deal.
WordPress in Uber – A neat Twitter conversation
This isn’t really news, but you might enjoy this funny little Twitter anecdote that Matt Mullenweg featured on his blog. It goes to show the widespread usage of WordPress. Pretty cool!
And that wraps up all of the most important WordPress news and articles from June 2018.
Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter by using the box below. And also check back next month for all the exciting news that’s bound to drop in July.