WordPress 6.4.0 is likely the version that has lived the shortest life as a major release following the chaos caused by curl.
Hello, I’m Javier Casares, and you’re listening to WordPress Podcast, bringing the weekly news from the WordPress Community.
You’ll find updates from November 6 to 12, 2023.
The launch of a major version of any product is always traumatic. Many people will tell you to wait a few days, others to wait for the next update… but this is not the case with WordPress.
For many years, the four weeks prior to the release of a major version have been mainly dedicated to testing, ensuring that everything works correctly. And this time was no exception.
Less than 24 hours after the release of WordPress 6.4.0, some people started noticing connection issues with external sites. It all came down to the functionality of curl, a library that allows you to connect to other sites and is essential in WordPress for, for example, checking for updates or downloading external elements.
Why did WordPress fail? Due to outdated versions that some hosting companies have because of the lack of updates and maintenance of their infrastructure. This has even led several teams, like the Hosting team, to consider including minimum versions of certain components in their list of versions and compatibility.
It should be noted that this has affected less than 10% of installations, but if you were one of those affected, you should consider talking to your provider to see what solution they are going to offer.
Has WordPress and its development worked well? Yes, because once the problem was detected, within about 12 hours, WordPress 6.4.1 was released, which mitigates the curl vulnerability via software. It’s not elegant, but it works.
Although we should not be blinded by this unforeseen situation, after all, we have two new versions of WordPress: 6.4.0 and 6.4.1.
It all began with the release of an extra version, WordPress 6.4.0 RC 4, which would not affect the general launch and corrected three elements mainly affecting themes and patterns.
And as in the last versions, the process began with a 24-hour code freeze and the launch party the following day, as planned.
WordPress 6.4 “Shirley”, in reference to the iconic jazz artist Shirley Horn, includes the new default theme Twenty Twenty-Four, improvements in the Editor, an expansion of the Command Palette, categorization of patterns, and hundreds of other enhancements.
Although 24 hours later, we had the release candidate of WordPress 6.4.1, which included an updated version of the Request library and was accompanied, a few hours earlier, by an update to the WordPress infrastructure so that those failed requests being made could work and the core, plugins, and themes could be downloaded normally.
Just 4 hours later, WordPress 6.4.1 was released, primarily focused on those sites experiencing problems with outdated and insecure versions of curl.
And now that the last version of WordPress for 2023 has been released, we look forward to the next year. For 2024, three new core versions are expected.
The first, WordPress 6.5, would start its beta on February 13, go through WordCamp Asia in early March, and have its final release on March 26. This version will focus on collaboration features.
The second, WordPress 6.6, will begin its journey on June 4, which means it will take its first steps alongside WordCamp Europe, to finally be released on July 16. This version will focus on improvements and fixes.
Finally, the third, WordPress 6.7, will start its beta phase on September 24, probably go through WordCamp US, yet to be dated, to have its launch on November 5. And, like the first, it will focus on collaboration features.
And about WordPress 6.5, we already have news, as the Performance team has already started the next step to include the main features of the Performant Translations plugin in the core, which means that the next version will be much faster for those sites that are not in American English.
And speaking of news, we must also mention Gutenberg 17.0, which brings us improvements in the Command Palette, dropdown menus, and some iterations of performance and accessibility.
For all developers, an entry has been launched on the Development Blog with a complete summary of all the changes affecting code and functions with WordPress 6.4, in addition to the latest versions of Gutenberg. Among the highlights: the ability to rename blocks, experimental form blocks, and the Data View.
The CLI team has closed their WordPress CLI Hack Day with 21 pull requests already included, and 4 more that are in the queue for final reviews.
A dozen contributors spent hours reviewing the backlog, picking tasks, and conversing to improve some of the processes.
The Design team has presented some very interesting visual improvements for the Editor.
The first is the system of dropdown and nested menus that will allow the creation of submenus and thus reduce the endless list of options.
Another new feature will be the grid mode page listing, allowing to view the featured image in addition to some extra information about each of the pages.
And if we combine both new features, we have that pages will have a system of advanced editing menus much simpler to navigate.
The Community team has opened the call to all local communities to meet again and celebrate another year of State of the Word.
The live broadcast will be next December 11 at 1500 hours Universal Time, and it will be held in Madrid, Spain.
If you are going to organize a meeting, visit the resources page and sign up as an organizer.
We already have BuddyPress 12.0 beta 4, the last version planned before the release of the final version. And it does so with 3 updates that pave the way for it to be available on December 6.
Thanks for listening, and until the next episode!