WordPress news recap for February 2018

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A short month with many updates

February was a big month for WordPress, especially considering that it’s the shortest month of the year. Not only did WordPress celebrate a birthday, but it also experienced three separate updates, and some of the most popular plugins were also changed extensively.

In the community, you’ll also notice that there has been a rumbling. That’s the sound more WordCamps and events coming to a town near you, regardless of whether you’re in Nigeria or the United States. Also, GDPR is upon us and in February, WordPress developers across the globe started to prepare for one of the biggest data changes in recent history.

WordPress news

WordPress turns 15 years old

Since its inception, WP has improved significantly year after year, and in February it turned fifteen years old. Let’s wish WordPress a happy birthday!

WordPress 4.9.3 and 4.9.4 was released

As well as the previous security update, there were an additional two versions of WP released. 4.9.3 was an improvement update, but unfortunately, it introduced a bug that needed to be remedied in 4.9.4.

WordPress theme and plugin news

Jetpack 5.8 adds lazy loading

Jetpack is by far one of the most popular plugins for WordPress, which is helped by the fact that it’s recommended to all new users. In February they launched their new lazy loading module which allows images to only load as the user gets near to them, giving your site a faster loading speed to reduce bounce rate.

WooCommerce 3.3.1 released

For eCommerce websites, WooCommerce is the go-to software solution. In early February they released their 3.3.1 version which fixed template conflicts that occurred for a handful of different WordPress themes and plugins.

Related: How to start selling on WordPress with WooCommerce

YoastSEO released 6.3.0 and 6.3.1 updates

The first update from Yoast was primarily a bug fixing change that fixed a common error that would occur when a WordPress function wasn’t available when getting the .htaccess file path when using Apache. The latter was a core update which improved YoastSEO.

Akismet version 4.0.3 was released

The most popular form moderation tool, Akismet prevents spammers from leaving thousands of comments on your WordPress site or sending you emails through your contact forms. This version added a new scheduled task “to clear out old Akismet entries in the wp_commentmeta table that no longer have corresponding comments in wp_comments.  This should help reduce Akismet’s database usage for some users.”

Community news

The WordCamp incubator is back

“In 2016, the Global Community Team ran an experimental program to help spread WordPress to underserved areas by providing more significant organizing support for their first WordCamp event. This program was dubbed the WordCamp Incubator, and it was so successful in the three cities where it ran that the program is back for 2018.”

WordPress Lagos 2018

A WordCamp event was held towards the end of February in Lagos, Nigeria. WordPress is being used around the world, and wherever you are located, you can be confident that there is a WordCamp for you attend within a few hours drive. These events can give you insight into how to utilize WordPress to the fullest, as well as being an excellent opportunity for networking.

WordCamp meetup reports added

A new section has been added to the WordCamp Central that includes reports and data from the WordCamp program and the various meetup groups. This addition is designed to give users and event coordinators greater transparency into how WordCamp is run and the success of other events.

Diversity outreach speakers

WordPress has been making a significant effort lately to improve the diversity of their team and their platform by training diversity outreach speakers.

Related: How to plan (and not plan) a WordCamp

WordPress business news

Observations on a maturing ecosystem

In this episode of the Draft podcast, they chat about the “steady change that has played out in the WordPress ecosystem throughout the past decade and speculate about what is still to come. One aspect they explore rather deeply is the future trajectory of a website’s purpose and the role WordPress has to play in this transition.”

How WebDevStudios is serving different market segments

“In this episode, Lisa Sabin-Wilson shares about the entangled history of WebDevStudios and eWebscapes and how she and team are targeting every level of the market. WebDevStudios focuses heavily on the upper and enterprise market segments, providing a high degree of attention and support to those clients.”

GDPR and WordPress

GDPR became law in the EU and the UK on May 25th but in February this was announced and WordPress and its developers began to take action. Almost 28% of all sites use WordPress which is why it’s particularly important for the company to facilitate GDPR compliance at all levels.

Related: Practical steps for website GDPR compliance

The challenges of running a theme and plugin business

“In this article by Alexander Mat, co-founder at MotoPress, he shares and discusses his company’s biggest challenges in today’s saturated and Guten-stirred WordPress business sphere. MotoPress has been financially successful in creating WordPress plugins and themes for small and midsize businesses for quite some time now, so it is interesting to get Alexander’s take on the current state of things.”

How to speed up your WordPress website

WP sites run relatively fast when compared to other CMS, but there’s always room for improvement. WordPress is incredibly accessible but the problem with this is that non-developers are able to make very simple mistakes that can have a huge impact on their site speed.

From around the web

Celebrating Smashing Magazine issue #200

Smashing Magazine is the go-to resource for web development and design. Over the years they’ve published over 200 newsletters and, in this roundup, they share their most valuable lessons.

How GDPR will change the way you develop

While GDPR might only be necessary in Europe, its reach is spreading across the globe. “GDPR requires you to be more thoughtful about the sites and services you build, more transparent about the ways you collect and use data, more considerate of your users, and more thorough in your development and documentation processes.”

A comprehensive guide to UI design

“When designing your user interface, it helps to have a system in place. This guide will help you find a solid UI approach that will stand the test of time.”

AMP news

AMP is controversial, to say the least, but it’s been adopted by some of the world’s biggest companies. Should you follow suit? What are the pro’s and con’s of AMP and does it live up to the hype?

Understanding web fonts and getting the most out of them

Designers and developers often overlook fonts because the differences can be relatively minute, but when used properly a font can create positive emotion and improve the look and feel of your site.

Related: Which web fonts to use for website design