Even though January can be a slow time thanks to holiday rebound, plenty is going on in the world of WordPress. A new version release brings a bounty of bug fixes, Gutenberg is coming (and you can already get trained), and for the first time, the inside data from WordPress user surveys are public. This issue also covers some new developments from the worlds of plugins and themes. A pair of business acquisitions rounds out the month.
WordPress 4.9.2 released, patches 20+ bugs
On January 16, WordPress 4.9.2 was released. It includes an important patch for a cross-scripting vulnerability along with fixes for 21 other bugs. This release is for all WordPress installations running version 3.7 or higher.
Gutenberg 2.0 has landed
January 12 marked the first release of the Gutenberg editor for 2018. Version 2.0 contains lots of updates across all functionality, from pasting to a more polished publishing flow. Read the full specs here. More on Gutenberg later in this issue.
WordPress plugin & theme news
New wA11y plugin helps with accessibility
wA11y – The Web Accessibility Toolbox is a new plugin that will help you remove barriers that prevent users with disabilities from interacting with your website. Good accessibility goes hand-in-hand with good SEO, another reason to try this plugin.
Be wary of these PHP and WordPress functions
Plugin and theme developers should know which PHP functions can open security holes. This Smashing Magazine article explains top culprits to watch out for in your own development or in someone else’s plugins.
Plugin directory guidelines updated
Plugin authors will want to check out the latest updates to Plugin Directory Guidelines. The main reason for the update was to clarify guidelines and expand them to cover areas not previously discussed.
Auto-formatting of author bios removed, but still possible
Auto-formatting of author bios was added in WordPress 4.9 but unfortunately broke a number of themes, so it was removed in 4.9.2. The WP Dev team has made code available for theme authors who still want to auto-format author bios.
WordPress user survey data published
Thousands of users have completed the annual WordPress user survey, but until now, the results were only announced during the annual State of the Word address.
Now you can browse through survey results from 2015-2017 and see for yourself who uses WordPress, what they use it for, and how they bend it to their will.
What do users find most frustrating about WordPress? Dealing with plugin and theme problems. What’s best? Ease of use. How many hours does the average developer spend building a site? Read the survey to find out.
Watch WPCampus online
If you missed the free virtual conference on WordPress in Higher Education, you can now view all of the videos from all sessions online, for free. Topics range from using BuddyPress to building a training platform to implementing accessibility, and much more. Even if you’re not in higher ed, you’ll find some great takeaways here.
Find a WordPress meetup near you
WordPress business news
UpdraftPlus Acquires Easy Updates Manager Plugin
UpdraftPlus has acquired the Easy Updates Manager Plugin. UpdraftPlus is a popular WordPress backup plugin that’s active on over a million sites. Easy Updates Manager hasn’t reached quite that far yet, but it’s actively installed on over 100,000 sites. Easy Updates Manager provides granular control over WordPress core, theme, and plugin updates.
“From around the web”
Discovery on a budget
Building a new WordPress website or online business starts with the discovery phase. But what if you’re a discovery team of one, with no budget and few resources to draw on? Discovery on Budget: Part 1, will point you in the right direction and start you down the road toward clarifying the problem you intend to solve.
Related: How to use paid discovery workshops
Gutenberg is coming – what it means for existing content
You’ve probably heard by now that a new editor is coming to WordPress – Gutenberg. Find out what this will mean for your website in this article by John Hawkins. Heads up, it’s good news…
Speaking of Gutenberg, there’s a course for that!
If you’re a plugin or theme developer, you’ll want to check out this new Gutenberg Development Course from Zac Gordon. It contains over 30 videos for developers who want to update their products to take advantage of blocks. Grab a discount code from this article on WP Tavern and save a few $ while you’re at it.
The trend is up
Just how prevalent is WordPress on the web? Check out these CMS Market Share Statistics from W3Techs. As of Jan 1, 2018, 29.2% of websites are running WordPress, up from 13.1% in 2011. That reflects WP’s market share of 60%. Joomla comes in a distant second at 6.5% of market share.
That’s it for this month’s WordPress news wrap-up. For even more on the arrival of Gutenberg, check out Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word 2017 keynote address. A live demo of Gutenberg starts at the 35-minute mark. This is one of the bigger changes to WordPress in some time, so it’s definitely worth a look.
Related: WordCamp US 2017 recap