wordpress 4.4 is a meh release for most users

WordPress 4.4. had gone RC and while I am far from being a typical wordpress user, so maybe my opinion as a user doesn’t count much, it seems like it has no improvement in anything related to content production and consumption.

The REST API infrastructure is something that in the realm of big organizations. I just can’t see anyone fully separating client and server sides and connecting them with only API request. This is not efficient and will hurt SEO, and while sites that are more of an application then content (think google docs) do not care about  SEO and the performance hit they will be hit with is just nothing to worry about when considering the advantages in software development practices that the separation gives you (good JS developers are easier to find then good PHP ones as almost by definition there are more of them). But for anyone else? The infrastructure can be useful in cutting development time of similar feature but even that is done by very few people.

WordPress as an oEmbed provider is a nice feature but not practical. The problem with oEmbed in general is that you need to trust the source of the embeds and there is just no reason for anyone to trust someone he doesn’t know. This feature can be useful for people that have several sites or in a network, but for people that have one site there is no real advantage of embedding over using some sort of a shortcode that justifies the performance hit that will come from embedding content in an iframe.

Responsive images, in a world in which with everyday mobile bandwidth becomes cheaper and mobile CPUs become stronger, serving an image which is too big is just a not very significant problem, and again people that just post an image from time to time and are not photo bloggers are unlikely to feel the difference. And this is actually the small problem with the feature, the bigger one is that there is no user control on which images are used as alternatives and in theory you might end serving some cropped images and some resized images as alternatives to each other, something that they are obviously not.

The only feature that does make me excited is the taxonomy metadata which will let developers write code which do not feel like a total hack when trying to add features to taxonomies.

Overall, almost nothing to get very excited about, but also nothing to really hate. I think that is the exact definition of the word “meh” :).

4 thoughts on “wordpress 4.4 is a meh release for most users”

    1. Mainly an improvement in the admin related aspects of WP.

      • integrated local/email backup. Obviously “ON” by default
      • Better .htacces by default, protecting from direct access and listings of the relevant directories
      • With SSD technology getting mainline for harddrives, maybe it is time to check again the effectiveness of disk based object caching in core
      • Basic SEO
      • FB is not going anywhere soon so some support for opengraph
      • User permission management, at least have the ability to define new roles and associate permissions in the admin
      • Costume values haven’t got any love for I think 5 years. No wonder monstrosities like ACF became popular
      • On demand generation of image sizes or inclusion of better tools to generate images when sizes change and clean the uploads directory from old ones.
      • Probably can come up with more 😉

  1. Taxonomy metadata is a wasted effort, once a taxonomy has metadata you might as well just relate post objects – which is btw the major missing feature from core (namely a proper post relationship api for posts and users (I use the post 2 post plugin).

    1. Pete, I don’t know. You see a lot of code which have to have some metadata for a term, do some weird stuff like storing it in an option which hurts the performance of every page load. IIRC Yoast SEO is doing that, and that is how ACF works. So yeh, it is not a revolution, but it does close a big gap in the wordpress API.

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