WordPress 2.7 Baseline

If you make use of any of my plugins then it’s likely you’ve noticed several fundamental changes, along with some tougher system requirements. I think now is a good time to actually write about these changes and discuss the reasons behind them.

I’ll start by making an admission: the release of WordPress 2.7 was a big headache for me. There, I’ve said it. I’ll continue on by stating that I love all the new features, and appreciate the updated interface and the amount of work that has gone into it (and continues to go into it). However, as a developer with around 20 plugins for WordPress, the changes in 2.7 were substantial enough that that it took considerable effort to get all my plugins working ‘properly’ again.

Since updating everything I’ve taken the decision to baseline all plugins to WordPress 2.7. Most of my plugins have supported versions from 2.0 onwards, and this was gradually clogging the code and creating a testing nightmare. WordPress 2.7 provides features that ease the work for plugin developers, so this seemed a sensible point to fix development from. In truth the plugins should still work in 2.5 and 2.6, but there may be some inconsistencies.

As part of the move to a 2.7 baseline I’ve migrated all JavaScript code from Prototype/Scriptaculous to jQuery. Currently this has been a brute-force migration, rather than taking a step back and re-implementing the code using proper jQuery techniques. Despite this an immediate advantage of the move is that it reduces the chance of JavaScript clashes between the various libraries. Another advantage is that because jQuery is bundled with WordPress I can now stop including it in the plugins themselves.

PHP5

No, I’ve not taken it this far… yet. While I don’t necessarily agree with Matt’s reasons why WordPress won’t be using PHP5 anytime soon, I can understand the desire not to alienate a large percentage of users. However, as a developer it is particularly frustrating not to be able to make use of ‘new’ features (and by new I mean several years old) of PHP5 that would simply life. It would be interesting to see figures for usage levels of PHP4/PHP5 for WordPress users to weigh up if it’s worth taking the plunge or not.

5 thoughts on “WordPress 2.7 Baseline”

  1. I totally agree with you that PHP5 is the way to go. It could be a bit frustrating for some of the people to migrate their server to PHP5.

    In my case it was simple command in .htaccess to treat PHP-files as PHP5.

    I guess, if it is such an issue, WordPress can:

    1) start a poll on wordpress.org / wordpress.com
    2) implement “Show me versions” sort of screen in Dashboard and present PHP version there
    3) use their WordPress.Stats plugin to collect such information
    4) create repository of software that is used by WordPress.org community (eg, php-version, list of plugins, …) the same way Linux distributions do now. This will help a lot

    Probably there are more ways to collect community opinion about PHP5.

    Best regards,
    kidsenergyburner.com

  2. The Nexen stats for October 2008 show PHP5 at 47.55% of the entire PHP market (which includes PHP<4 as well). They had predicted that PHP5 would have overtaken PHP4 by November 2008.

    The problem with surveying users is that the majority will never see the survey, or if they do they won’t bother responding. Mambo did everything it could to get feedback on this over a six month period last year. On the forums a grand total of 28 people responded. In the same period there would have been c.700,000 downloads. Gathering enough information was a nightmare. Unlike WordPress though, all 3rd party developers supported the change.

    I support changing on WP too but don’t get involved in the arguments. PHP5’s better performance & better security are the keys for me and since I use your Drainhole and Headspace John I’d be delighted to see these go to PHP5 😉

  3. Not sure about the methodology used for these statistics, but to me it seems they base their numbers at server level not domain?

    If this is the cae, one thing to bear in mind is what stats don’t tell you, and down to interpretation and experience.

    For instance, I believe the stats for PHP4 are still inflated due to many hosting companies offering both PHP5 and PHP4. On those servers, even though they have the PHP4 option, how many sites are actually making use of it instead of PHP5?

    So maybe all servers with concurrent installs of PHP5/4 are adding to ‘popularity’ of PHP4 even though only a few domains are actually using this version.

    Just my 2 cents,

    – Vincent

  4. The tide seems to be shifting. We have accounts with three different hosting companies and all of them finally offer PHP5 with relatively little pain.

    High time to move on. We have plugins of our own which are PHP5 and it would be nice to see WordPress move all the way over as well.

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