WordPress Classic Editor support extended for at least one year – WP Tavern

Last week, I reached out to several members of the leading WordPress committers to see if we can get an official word on whether Classic Editor support will continue beyond the only months it apparently has left to live. I received a semi-official response, but was asked not to post for a more detailed and nuanced response.

Earlier today, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomposy announced the official decision. It was just as expected. The WordPress project would continue to support the Classic Editor plugin for a while.

“At the time, we promised to support the plugin until 2021 and adjust it if necessary as the deadline approached,” she wrote. “After discussing it with Matt [Mullenweg], it is clear that continuing to support the plugin until 2022 is the right call for the project as well as for the community. “

From now on, regular users have a one-year extension.

However, the plugin will not suddenly stop working on December 31, 2022. This is simply the current deadline for the “full support” phase. It should continue to function well beyond the date set for this window of assistance to close.

Designer Mark Root-Wiley contacted WP Tavern via Twitter last week, but others have been asking the same question for a while. For some, they needed to know if they could continue to meet specific customer needs. For others, it was a baton to use in conversations for all things publisher-related. Whatever the reason, before today the last word had come from a Make Core article in November 2018.

“The Classic Editor plugin will be officially supported until December 31, 2021,” wrote lead contributor Gary Pendergast in the three-year-old announcement. It was a shock to many at the time, unsure if the new block system would meet their needs.

While three years may have seemed like a long time to ditch the classic in favor of the modern WordPress editor, current statistics show the project still has a few miles to go.

Currently, there are over 5 million active installations of the Classic Editor plugin. I’m still waiting for a more accurate count, but no one has provided an answer yet. At best, we believe the meter is running over 10 million, so we can speculate on the floor and ceiling for possible use.

Active installations are also not the whole picture. For example, we installed the plugin here at the tavern for legacy reasons, but we don’t use it in our daily work. We can probably turn it off completely. WordPress does not have a telemetry system to track the use of these features. Although the installation total does not always make the picture clear, the current number supports pressure for continued maintenance.

“I think it’s important to note that the plugin is not going anywhere,” said core committer Jonathan Desrosiers. “It will continue to be listed in the .ORG repository for the foreseeable future. “

He pointed out that understanding the next phase of the Classic Editor plugin means examining the level of effort required to support it since 2018. The overwhelming majority of changes over that nearly three-year period have been to follow:

  • The text changes.
  • Adjustments to avoid warnings / errors and promote consistency between supported PHP versions.
  • Changes to obsolete action / filter hook calls.

“It’s been almost three full years, and the plugin has largely required very little maintenance to keep running, and most of the maintenance has been to limit warnings and notifications in the debug logs,” he said. he declares.

The goal of the Classic Editor plugin was to ease the transition to the block editor. So far, there have been eight major versions of WordPress since upgrading to version 5.0.

“There is a theory called the diffusion of innovations that seeks to explain how, why and at what rate new technologies are spread,” Desrosiers said. “It separates adopters into several groups based on when they’re ready to jump: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards. I really think we’ve seen a good chunk of the late majority start using the Block Editor. This can also be confirmed by the growth in plugin installations, which has slowed down and leveled off this year. “

He had expected that the previous deadline would mark the next stage of the Classic Editor plugin, called the “sunset” phase. It would be a time when the WordPress project would go from full support to encouraging late users to switch to the current publisher to reduce the number of plugins.

“The background I gave previously shows that so far the level of effort required to keep the plugin working on newer versions of WP has been pretty minimal,” Desrosiers said of the phase potential delay. “I expect this model to continue through backward compatibility. If any security issues or major issues are encountered, they will of course be resolved. Any incompatibilities with the plugin and newer versions of WP will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but little or no time will be spent on bug fixes.

However, this sunset phase will have to wait. We won’t see this until at least the current support window closes on December 31, 2022. WordPress project managers will need to re-evaluate the lifespan of the plugin at this point.

The other looming question would be whether the core of WordPress would move specific elements of its system to the Classic Editor plugin, for example by allowing custom post types to support the old editor or the meta API. -box.

“At this time, there are no plans to move any of the underlying ‘classic’ parts of the kernel to the plug-in,” Desrosiers said. “I’m sure the removal of these parts will be assessed at some point in the future, but when that will be unclear.”

Even when official Classic Editor support hits a deadline, it doesn’t mean that such a traditional editing experience will cease to exist. Plugins like Disable Gutenberg have promised a longer lifespan than the initial support window, and more publisher projects will undoubtedly spring up if demand is large enough.

“The block editor has come a long way and I encourage anyone who hasn’t given it a second chance (late adopters) yet to do so,” Desrosiers said. “You might be pleasantly surprised. “

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