WordPress.org Hides Plugin Deprecation from Users

It’s official, as I’ve just learned from Mika (aka Ipstenu) and Samuel (aka Otto) — WordPress.org will remove the description and assets from all known deprecated plugins, so users landing on the plugin’s page will be told that “This plugin has been closed for new installs” and nothing else, leaving users to wonder what happened, why the plugin is closed, and what they should do next.

I’m a strong proponent of letting users know why a plugin is deprecated, but Mika and Samuel have taken a hard-line against this, and have told me that all known deprecated plugins will be closed (except for exceptions — see bellow).

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4 Big Improvements in WPSSO Core in the Last 2 Weeks

It’s been a very productive two weeks of coding for both the WPSSO Core plugin, and it’s WPSSO Schema JSON-LD Markup add-on.

On April 26th – just two weeks agoWPSSO Core v4.0.0 was released, which included support for the new Gutenberg editor. Since then, WPSSO Core v4.1.0, v4.2.0, and v4.3.0 were also released (the last one just today), along with WPSSO JSON v1.25.0 and v1.26.0.

In case you missed all the update notices and posts about those versions, the following is a quick summary of the big changes and improvements in both WPSSO Core and its JSON-LD add-on. And at the end of this post, you can also find a summary of our release schedule philosophy, and why we chose to release four big improvements, in four different versions, in just two weeks. ;-)

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WPSSO Ditches WordPress & Gutenberg Notifications

The release of WordPress 5 and the new Gutenberg editor are just around the corner, and Gutenberg developers still have not tackled a serious design issue with the current Gutenberg notification system — notices in Gutenberg are being displayed over the content area, forcing users to dismiss notifications to gain access to their content — and in some cases, where several non-dismissible notices are displayed, users may not have access to the content area at all.

The notification system in the current version of WordPress is nothing fancy — and can feel a bit intrusive when several notices are displayed at once — but it’s a lot more flexible and functional than the proposed Gutenberg notification system. :-) As an example, here are some typical SSO (Social and Search Optimization) notifications when editing a test post in the current version of WordPress, in the Gutenberg editor, and with the upcoming release of WPSSO Core v4.2.0 that moves SSO notices into the admin toolbar.

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WPSSO Core v4 with Support for Gutenberg

The new Gutenberg editor for WordPress v5 may not be ready yet — and I can certainly attest to that, lol — but it’s coming soon, and WPSSO Core is ready for Gutenberg!

This latest version of WPSSO Core (scheduled for release this week) includes several key changes aimed specifically at integrating WPSSO Core with the new Gutenberg editor. The Social and Search Optimization metabox is now refreshed when the Gutenberg post is saved, and any SSO notices are displayed using the new Gutenberg notification system. The notices themselves have also been improved by including more information about the dismiss button — either simply hiding the notice (Gutenberg default), temporarily dismissing it for 1 hour, 3 months, etc, or dismissing it permanently.

Have you tried the Gutenberg editor yet?

WordPress v5 is coming soon, and if you haven’t tried the new Gutenberg editor in a staging environment (contact your hosting provider for details), then you could be in for a major surprise! Many plugins will not be compatible with Gutenberg, and for those few and rare plugin authors that are still actively maintaining their plugins, updates to support the Gutenberg editor may take some time. Save yourself the headache – install the Gutenberg editor in a staging environment now, and make sure all your plugins are compatible. ;-)

WPSSO Core v4.0.0 beta is available now.

If you’re a WPSSO Core Pro user — and have a staging environment — you can select the “Beta and Up” version filter for WPSSO Core in the SSO > Update Manager settings page, to install and test the latest beta version. You can also re-select the “Stable / Production” version filter at any time to re-install the last stable / production version.

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The Fastest Way to Improve Social and SEO Images

A new add-on for WPSSO Core called WPSSO Tune WP Image Editors is the fastest and easiest way to improve your social and SEO images — simply activate and regenerate your thumbnail images (aka resized images), and you’re done! :-)

How does it work?

Have you noticed that after carefully adjusting an image in Photoshop, you upload it to your site and WordPress creates small images that seems a bit “fuzzy” — nothing like the nice sharp original?

The reason is that after resizing any image, that image must be sharpened – always, but WordPress doesn’t do any sharpening, so the resized image remains a bit “fuzzy” — probably not what you want for a featured image or share on social sites! ;-)

The WPSSO Tune WP Image Editors add-on takes care of this — it automatically applies a reasonable amount of sharpening to all JPEG images resized using the default WordPress ImageMagick editor.

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Exciting New Cache Feature Coming in WPSSO Core

There’s an exciting new cache feature coming in WPSSO Core v3.56.0 — a new “Auto-Refresh Cache After Clear All” option will be available under the SSO > Advanced Settings > Cache Settings tab (Pro version).

One of the interesting things about WPSSO is that most cached objects, like meta tags and Schema JSON-LD markup, are created and stored as arrays, independent of the webpage. This makes it possible to loop through all post, term, and user IDs, and re-create those arrays easily — again, completely independently of the webpage (or WordPress action hooks), so no HTTP connection is required — which makes for a very fast and efficient way of creating (or re-creating) cache objects! ;-)

The new “Auto-Refresh Cache After Clear All” option is enabled by default. When you click the “Clear All Cache” button (from any settings page), the WPSSO cache will be cleared and a background task will be started to re-create all the missing WPSSO cache objects. The same class method is also called when the plugin is activated, to optimize the speed of all front-end webpages and back-end editing pages. :)

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Choosing your PHP Image Extension for WordPress

WordPress supports two different PHP image processing extensions — ImageMagick and GD — with a preference for ImageMagick over GD (even when ImageMagick is not installed). The GD extension can still be used in cases where the preferred WordPress ‘WP_Image_Editor_Imagick’ class does not provide support for the requested mime-type or class method.

In some cases, the ImageMagick extension might not be installed, or might be unreliable (old versions of ImageMagick can be buggy). You can hook the WordPress ‘wp_image_editors’ filter to manage the preferred order of WordPress image classes.

For example, here’s a filter and function to remove the ImageMagick class altogether:

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Fix “sslverify = false” for Pro Plugin / Theme Updates

This is a pet peeve of mine – some plugin and theme authors (to make their lives easier) set “sslverify = false” in their Pro version update checks and/or other HTTP requests.

Luckily a few security and error checking plugins like the Query Monitor plugin (for example), will show a warning if the WordPress wp_remote_get() function is executed with “sslverify = false”. To make sure this is never the case, you can use the following filters in your functions.php file.

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WPSSO – New Extension for Breadcrumbs Markup

WPSSO Breadcrumbs Markup (aka WPSSO BC) version 1.0.0 for WPSSO Core was released yesterday. You can install and activate the extension from the SSO > Extension Plugins settings page, download it from the WPSSO website, wordpress.org, or GitHub.

Uses Google’s preferred Schema JSON-LD format.

Most comprehensive Schema BreadcrumbsList markup of any plugin.

Adds Schema BreadcrumbList markup to posts, pages, and custom post types.

Select between using ancestors (page parents, grand-parents, etc.) or categories for breadcrumbs.

No theme function or template files to modify!

Simply activate / deactivate the plugin to enable / disable the addition of Schema BreadcrumbList markup.

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WPSSO – Robots Option for Search Engines / SEO

WPSSO Core v3.52.0 includes a new “Robots” option for search engines / SEO in the post edit Publish metabox (see the changelog here). Uncheck the “meta name robots” option under the SSO > Advanced > Head Tags List > SEO / Other tab to hide / exclude the “Robots” option from the Publish metabox (enabled by default if no SEO plugin is detected).

This new WPSSO Core version includes a new “Person” role for users – this role is added to all new users by default. You can uncheck the “Add Person Role for New Users” option under the SSO > Advanced > Integration tab to disable this automatic feature (enabled by default). The “Person” role will be used by WPSSO JSON for selects requiring a “Person” role for its Schema markup.

WPSSO Core v3.53.0 also includes fix for the image upscale feature – an incorrectly named variable prevented the proper calculation of the image upscale size.

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