Apparently we’re not the only ones who’ve noticed that WordPress’s development schedule and updates are doing more harm than good.
Mika Epstein, who voluntarily reviews and approves plugins for the WordPress plugin directory, voiced the concerns shared by developers who are struggling to keep up.
Breaking people’s vehicles on purpose or be negligence didn’t work so well for Detroit’s automakers so why would Matt Mullenweg want to bring planned obsolescence to writers and small publishers and small businesses’s websites? Detroit is still struggling to win marketshare back from Toyota and Honda.
Here’s the WordPress user’s comment which prompted WPtavern to break silence on the forbidden updates issue (a ban awaits anyone who posts twice):
As the pace of WordPress releases grows, plugin and theme developers have to constantly update their products. This is leading to a real and growing problem among WordPress site owners and companies like mine that handle website maintenance and updating.
This pace is leading to an almost daily need to fix problems, caused by these updates. Plugin updates tend to break things, even though we primarily use professional, paid plugins for the idea of support and generally better quality products.
I get that it’s important to patch security issues, but we’re also seeing a lot of new functionality, moving plugins into core, and other changes. These cause theme developers to push out updates with great frequency and they make mistakes.
I’m worried that the pace of core updates is driving the larger ecosystem toward failure. Everyone is scrambling to keep things patched, then new conflicts arise and things break down. The person on the end ‘companies maintaining their sites, responsibly, or services like mine’ face a constant flow of updates, then testing, then trying to fix things that have broken.
Mullenweg dismisses users’ concerns with a wave:
Mullenweg answered the question by saying improvements can be made to the plugin directory so that users can share the burden in the testing process. He also said that the speed of WordPress development will increase instead of decrease. Meanwhile, the development team will continue to release three major versions per year.
WPtavern as an Audrey Capital (Matt Mullenweg’s personal venture capital fund) vehicle admonishes its readers to just get with the program (giving themselves a nice pat on the back while they are at it):
While we do a great job of keeping users and developers informed, plugin and theme authors should subscribe to the Make Plugins and Make Themes sites respectively. Anyone involved with maintaining WordPress sites should subscribe to the Make Core site where important information related to core is published.
We know that the release strategy isn’t going to change so whether you’re a developer or someone in charge of maintaining sites, how are you keeping up with WordPress?
Like Soviet journalists during Stalin’s electrification plan, Jeff Chandler simply admonishes us to work harder and faster (as if we didn’t have enough to do and don’t work hard enough for our clients).
Here at BusinessPress and Foliovision we have another suggestion for Matt Mullenweg and Automattic: Stop running after marketshare (apparently 25% is not enough) and trying to lock-in users with bundled services (JetPack). WordPress is an open source project created by its users for its users. Stop treating shared code like a private property. Have at least some respect for those of us who built WordPress for you (and for our clients).
An open source project is supposed to serve its users not a single company or a cabal. Think hard about that Jeff Chandler: remember the strong independent spirit who founded WPtavern.
In the meantime, work is proceeding apace to give control of WordPress back to agencies and publishers at BusinessPress. Quick solution: what all of you agencies and WordPress hosts need to do is no longer automatically allow major version updates. Minor security updates are okay. Stay off of the most recent major version, remaining a point revision or two behind.
I.e. right now 4.4.1 is current. We recommend you use 4.1.9 or 4.2.6 or 4.3.2 (get them at that link). All of these are maintained for security revisions (even going back as far as 3.7.1, we wouldn’t recommend staying that far behind). In this case, all of your plugins will actually work properly (be careful about updating plugins to most recent versions in case the author removes support for previous versions: most authors are more considerate than that though and won’t deliberately break their own plugin).
If you’d like regular updates on our progress to keep your WordPress sites secure and maintenance free, say hello.