21 Mar 2019

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: WordPress Ends Support for PHP 5.2 – 5.5, Bumps Minimum Required PHP Version to 5.6

WordPress has officially ended support for PHP 5.2 - 5.5 and bumped its minimum required PHP version to 5.6. The plan announced last December was to bump the minimum required version in early 2019 and, depending on the results, bump it again to PHP 7 in December 2019. Sites on PHP 5.5 or earlier can still get security updates but will not be able to upgrade to the latest major WordPress version.

Today only 2% of WordPress sites remain on PHP 5.2. Roughly 20% are on versions 5.5 or earlier. Nearly half of WordPress installs are on PHP 7.0+.

One might wonder why WordPress' approach isn't to just bump it all the way up to PHP 7. With its influence and dominant market share, this requirement would inevitably force users to get on board. However, WordPress contributors believe in supporting users who, for whatever reason, need more help upgrading PHP. Steamrolling this requirement has not been the WordPress way, despite years of immense pressure from the developer community.

"Leaving users behind for technical reasons creates a two-folded web with only few being able to leverage its power," WordPress Core Committer Felix Arntz said. "Collaborating with and supporting these users gives that power to everyone in the long run."

Gary Pendergast shared a few stats about how effective WordPress 5.1's PHP update notice has been in prodding site owners to get on newer versions of PHP:

For WordPress 5.0, sites updated their PHP version from PHP <= 5.6 to PHP 7+ at the rate of 1 basis point per day. That is, the percentage of WordPress 5.0 sites using PHP <= 5.6 dropped by 0.01 every day, prior to the release of WordPress 5.1.

For WordPress 5.1 (after adding the update notice), that has increased to a steady 5 basis points per day. Doesn't sounds like much? Every day, that's hundreds of extra site owners choosing to go through the (frankly, terrifying) process of updating their PHP version. All they needed was a little extra nudge, and a little bit of information.

Scary EOL notices and attitudes of "well, we're just bumping our supported PHP version, too bad if you don't know what to do next" don't help. Giving people the information they need to help themselves works.

WordPress folks are doing our part to help clean up the ancient PHP installs that are still running a large percentage of the internet, and we're find that this isn't an insurmountable problem. It just requires a bit of patience and empathy to solve.

WordPress developers around the web sent out celebration tweets after the news was announced. Although PHP 5.6 is the new minimum required version for running WordPress, the project's technical requirements page recommends users ask their hosts for PHP version 7.3 or greater. PHP 7+ offers massive performance gains for users and developers will be able to update their plugins to use more modern syntax.

This is big news!!

WPGraphQL has a minimum requirement of PHP 5.6, so it couldn't even be considered for core until now.

Still a ways to go before we're ready for serious consideration, but pretty big news. https://t.co/gCbJM9VcRc

- GraphQL for WordPress (@wpgraphql) March 21, 2019

21 Mar 2019 4:10am GMT

20 Mar 2019

feedWordPress Planet

WPTavern: Gutenberg 5.3 Introduces Block Management, Adds Nesting to the Cover Block

Gutenberg 5.3 was released today with basic block management, a feature that will be included in WordPress 5.2. It is a new modal that can be launched from the vertical ellipses menu, inspired by Rich Tabor's CoBlocks implementation. Users can turn individual blocks on/off or even entire sections, such as Common Blocks, Formatting, and Embeds. Block management should help users avoid the bloat that happens when installing block collections with more blocks than they need.

This version's updates to the Cover Block make it possible to nest other blocks inside of it. Users can now add buttons, paragraphs, and headers to easily create a call to action. It's not immediately evident that nesting blocks is possible, despite the floating inserter. It takes a little bit of time to discover that it is available. There are still some quirks with this feature, but overall it makes the Cover Block much more useful than previous versions.

A few contributors commenting on the Cover Block's nesting PR said that it seems like the work on this iteration is essentially a light version of a section block. They questioned if it might be better to finish the work on the Section block (#4900) and build from there. Many developers and designers are eagerly awaiting the addition of a Section block to core, which will provide a standard for the plugin and theme industries to build on.

"I think the cover block has very specific functionality that the section may not have like the focal point selector," Automattic JavaScript engineer Jorge Costa said. "It is also important to note that the adjustments we make here to the way nesting works will also benefit a future section. This also allows us to test nesting a little bit more, before going to the section block. I expect the section block to be widely used in the community and will probably serve as a basis for many things being built in the future so it is important that we get it right. Exploring in cover will contribute to that."

Gutenberg 5.3 adds an experimental Legacy Widget Block that allows existing WordPress widgets to be added as Gutenberg blocks. It offers a dropdown of available widgets. After selecting one, the block populates that area with the widget's settings.

This version also improves block outlines for the hover and selected states for a more accessible UI with less distraction. Performance benchmarks show a slight decrease in performance with Gutenberg 5.3. Check out the release post for a full list of enhancements and bug fixes. This is the last plugin release that will be rolled into the upcoming WordPress 5.2 release.

20 Mar 2019 9:14pm GMT

HeroPress: Sometimes bad things that happen to you are good things in disguise

Pull Quote: Sometimes bad things that happen to you are good things in disguise.

My Mom used to say that things you remember from your past the most are things that had an impact on who you are today. Negative or positive, they affected you in a way that helped create the person you are.

The Early Days

Her father said to her, "Jean, you are always welcome but leave your kids at home." That I will remember until the day I die. Why? We were biracial. My mother (who was White) left her home in Virginia to run away to Cleveland with my father (who was Black, and from West Virginia) to get married. That was in 1956.

My father left us when I was about 8. Left us high and dry. The only positive thing I remember that he gave me was a typewriter. He said to me, "Teach yourself how to type and you'll always be able to make a living." I didn't realize he "gave me anything" until after he died.

After my second failed marriage, I moved my Mom in with me because she was ill. That was 2005 and that's when my journey with WordPress began. I originally started using Joomla but found that it was too cumbersome to keep up-to-date because things needed to be done manually, whereas WordPress had this cool way of updating the plugins right inside the dashboard. I was hooked and left Joomla behind.

I went back to work full time at one of the local hospitals. But not even a year into it I quit.

One morning as I am waiting for the home health aide to arrive, my Mom started to cry and said, "I don't want to die alone." I stopped and looked at her and said, "You aren't going to die alone."

That day, I got to work and one of the doctor's pissed me off. I thought about what my Mom said and then starting thinking, "I don't need this bullshit." I went to my desk and started packing my things. My co-worker said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I quit." She said, "What?" I said, "I quit." The doctor ran out, "What are you doing and where are you going?" I said, "I quit, and you can kiss my ass!"

I got home too early and my Mom asks, "Why are you home?" I just stood there. She looked at me and said, "Did you quit?" I started laughing, "Yep sure did and told that doctor he could kiss my ass!" She started giggling! "We'll be okay." she said.

Shifting Gears

At that moment I said I must take this hobby of building sites part time, to a full fledge business. I hunkered down in one of the upstairs bedrooms and started to write out my strategy. I had already completed a few small business websites, so I contacted them and from there and word of mouth, my business started to grow.

But it wasn't until after my Mom died that WordPress really saved my life.

We were thick as thieves my Mom and me. She almost died having me. I had a sister (she died last April) but she wasn't close to us and kept mainly to herself. But Mom and I…we were two peas in a pod all the way up to the day she died. I sat with her for five days in hospice and those were some of the longest days and nights of my life.

I felt like someone dropped a weight on my chest. I couldn't breathe. I felt faint. I felt lost.

Thank God I had Buster, my dog. If it hadn't been for him, I don't know what I would have done. There was a night I just couldn't bear not having my Mom. I had a bottle of Valium and thought, "I should just get it over with, go be with my Mom." But I looked down at Buster and thought, "No one is going to take better care of him than me. I can't do that to him."

I struggled with depression. Slowly over time I couldn't function to even work on projects. It finally got to a point where my gas was turned off in the winter and I didn't have food. I was bundled up with blankets and small heaters in my house to stay warm.

Every penny I got, was basically food for Buster. One time I went 5 days without food.

My car was repossessed. It was just crazy. Then I got evicted in mid-January 2013. Yep, evicted.

My sister, who I wasn't close to, had received a lump sum of money from Social Security. She sent money to me since I had cared for our Mom all that time by myself. I rented a van, packed up what I could fit in the U-Haul on my own and ended up at an Extended Stay hotel - in the middle of a blizzard. Left all my furniture behind because I didn't have help.

I got to the hotel and sat there in the U-Haul. I looked in the mirror and said out loud, "How the fuck did you get here? You don't even have a pot to piss in!" Buster sitting in the other seat looking at me like I was crazy. That's when I knew I had hit rock bottom. Depression led me to the bottom.

Rising Up

But… that was a good thing! I met a lot of wonderful people online. I joined a few WordPress groups, but mainly the StudioPress forum because I had been using their free themes when they were Revolution Two. Then they developed the Genesis Framework. Their old forum was a gold mine of information and the people were awesome. I learned so much from that forum.

Every day from that point on was WordPress and Genesis. Meeting more people, learning more code. I was completely off the grid in that hotel room! No one here even knew where I was that's how far off the grid I was. But sometimes, you must do that in order to focus and get back on track.

There were a lot of bumps in that road the first year, too many to even write out in this essay, but I learned something from each bump.

My business grew from word-of-mouth, I started getting work from people who needed help who saw me on social media and through the forums. Work from people all over the world. It truly was exciting.

Each day is still WordPress and websites. Learning new things every day. Sitting with Slack windows open and chatting with other WordPress people online. It's been my entire world since 2013 and pretty much my "Saving Grace" because I feel like I know some people online better than people right here in the same city where I live at. I lived in the hotel for 2 years. Not because I had to but because I wanted to.

The Power of Communiity

The WordPress community is awesome and giving. The Genesis community is the same. It feels like family and I've never met anyone in person but care so much about the people! I would hope that those who know me would feel the same.

A friend recently shared a quote by the author Dodinsky that started off, "A lot of walking away will do your life good." But it was the end that really caught my attention and it said, "The more you walk away from things that poison your soul, the healthier your life will be."

And that is so true. Healthier in a sense that I walked away from all the bad, negative things and people that were in my space. I was able to grieve and heal. Sometimes bad things that happen to you are good things in disguise.

What's in my future? Well, one of my dreams is to get a Sprinter Van, have it customized for living on the road and drive cross country with Bella. Buster passed end of 2016 and Bella is my other life-saver. I'd love to drive cross country and stop and meet people I've met in the WordPress community. I know I can't really make that happen, but I can dream, can't I? LOL!

I'd love to follow you on Twitter. Follow me at @thecre8tivediva and I'll follow you back!

The post Sometimes bad things that happen to you are good things in disguise appeared first on HeroPress.

20 Mar 2019 12:00pm GMT