The Week in Analysis

WordPress 5.9 Feature Go/No-Go | October 14, 2021

Héctor Prieto has shared the decisions (with a transcript) from the meeting that determined what’s a “go” for WordPress 5.9 with Matt Mullenweg present as Project Lead. Yesterday the team released a video review of the proposed features going into 5.9.

Things agreed upon include: Block themes, the default Twenty Twenty-Two block theme, the Styles interface, various designs tools, the Navigation Block, and more.


Not everything is done yet, but the team is confident it will be — and this might be generally what we should expect to see for the release in December.

— David

Proposal for a WordPress Performance Team

Ari Stathopoulos has published a proposal for a WordPress Performance Team with input from Joost de Valk, Francesca Marano, and Adam Silverstein.

According to the proposal, “compared to other platforms […] WordPress is falling behind” in its speed and performance. While it is well-positioned “to meet the increasing needs and expectations of site owners and end-users, WordPress needs to be actively investing in performance in WordPress Core and beyond.”


The proposal acknowledges performance plugins (and functionality that should remain in plugins, like CDNs) as well as performance-focused themes. Why is a team needed to tackle performance optimization? The proposal authors’ answer:

“A team gives more visibility to the effort… it also opens up contributing to new types of contributors, like performance or data analysts… [and] could also attract contributions from different groups; browsers, hosting, SEO companies, etc.”

While the proposal has received mostly good responses in some public social circles like Post Status Slack, the birth of a new team is a rare event. WordPress performance for the common user hasn’t been embarrassing if you pick the right plugins, themes, and host. (This is a bigger if than most of us may like.)

Managed WordPress hosts have generally built their infrastructure, server environments, marketing, onboarding experiences, and put limits on WordPress to ensure performance. Increasingly, Headless WordPress is a bankable service. But vanilla WordPress could and should be much faster out of the box — and solutions such as headless and static have proved that the experience of speed has a high level of demand.

Joost noted in Post Status Slack he has a vested interest in WordPress’s performance now as an employee of one of the biggest WordPress hosts:

“Performance is a core feature of a CMS now in my opinion… we have ideas for both frontend performance improvements as well as some pretty big ideas for an overhaul and speed up of WordPress bootstrap. I’m superbly excited about sharing those with everyone over the coming weeks and months.”

— David and Dan

WPCloudDeploy goes to GitHub, Thoughts on WordPress as a Service (WaaS)

Nigel Bahadur, the owner of WPCloudDeploy, has some thoughts about “WordPress as a service” (WAAS).

Earlier this week, WPCloudDeploy opened a public GitHub repository for their plugin, which offers functionality inside WordPress that’s more commonly seen on SaaS platforms for spinning up sites and deploying code to them. WPCloudDeploy issued a short explainer and FAQ about the implications of this move and the advantages of using a public repo. Apparently, it was a conversation in Post Status Slack with Jonathan Wold that “crystalized the timing for releasing to GitHub.”


Nigel says that the biggest challenge with “WaaS” sites is “the completely disjointed experience” that comes from having “to stitch together” a unified interface across “various plugins and themes.” After talking with Jonathan, Nigel decided it was time to go ahead and put the WPCloudDeploy codebase in a public repo at GitHub in part to help open source developers collaborate across projects to create a better WaaS experience.

While WPCloudDeploy was always an open-source project, originally the plugin was an internal company tool that Nigel says “ended up becoming a commercial project.” And “as a commercial project, it was clear that public GitHub was where … [it] would ultimately end up. It was only a matter of timing.” After establishing a stable release with a good feature set and doing some cleanup, WPCloudDeploy was ready for a public release.

We have heard the UI/UX problem come up more and more in recent years, especially in the context of hosting companies trying to create a unified experience on their platforms. As others have observed recently, that motive contributes to the trend toward acquisitions of WordPress plugins and companies.

Nigel cites and agrees with Jonathan’s Sustainable Assembly approach, so if you haven’t read that yet, it’s worth adding to your reading list.

— Dan and David

Latest Post Status Feature

News for the WordPress Professional

WPCampus 2021 Online Conference Recordings Available

— The video recordings from the WPCampus 2021 Online presentations are now available and accessible via the event schedule. The WP Campus team hopes to be able to gather in person at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana for WPCampus 2022 if COVID-19 health conditions allow. magnifying-glass

What’s new in Gutenberg 11.7 (October 13th)

— A new release of the Gutenberg plugin (version 11.7) is out, and it includes advancements in the Navigation block and editor as well as some polish to the full site editor. The columns block now allows spacing to be set between columns, and LinkControl is now out of the “experimental” state. magnifying-glass

WooCommerce 5.8 Released

— WooCommerce 5.8 has been released. What’s new: The REST API now supports modified_before and modified_after fields. It also fixes usability problems with the dropdown field and several bugs. 🐛 magnifying-glass

Automattic Women: Michelle Langston

— Automattic Women is a new series of “conversations with some of the remarkable women working all over the world to design and develop Automattic software.” Michelle Langston, a Creative Technologist at Automattic, was featured recently. 👩‍💻 magnifying-glass

Online Courses and Legal Stuff

— Richard Best, a tech lawyer well-known for his involvement with WordPress, has a new site called Online Courses and Legal Stuff. It focuses on legal issues associated with online course creation. A recent post covers some practical steps to help you create great course content, protect yourself, and limit your risk. ⚖️ magnifying-glass

Is a Load Balancer Overkill in Your WordPress Hosting Setup?

— Ashley Rich explains load balancing — when it helps, when it doesn’t, and how to determine if your “extremely high-traffic” WordPress site needs it. 🚦 Bottom line: there are better things to try first, like caching and scaling, so load balancing should only be considered after they’ve been tried or eliminated as solutions. magnifying-glass

Post Status Announcements

15 Days Since Last Acquisition

October 5, 2021 - Brainstorm Force Acquires ProjectHuddle

👉 We’ve created a page for WordPress acquisitions going back to 2007. We’d also like to gather major investment data. Help us make this table more complete by adding additional deals, data, and links.

Listen To The Latest Post Status Podcast:

Fri 10/15 - Post Status Excerpt (No. 28) — A WordPress Core Performance Team?

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