Tuesday, May 28, 2024

WordPress 6.5 Release Derailed By Bugs In New Feature

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WordPress 6.5 has been postponed because of disagreements over a new feature that would have required some websites to download a plugin in order to keep them functioning.

Font Directory Problem

What derailed the 6.5 release is a new Font Library feature for managing fonts that also makes using Google Fonts GDPR compliant. The GDPR compliance part is a nice feature that allows a publisher to connect with Google Fonts and download fonts locally instead of serving them from Google’s servers. That’s what makes them GDPR compliant because Google’s servers won’t have access to your site visitor’s IP address.

The fonts themselves were going to be stored in a new location, /wp-content/fonts/. However it was acknowledged that doing this would result in bugs due to some file systems inability to store fonts in that directory. The compromise that the core contributors initially agreed to was to require buggy sites to use a plugin (Fonts to Uploads) in order to be able to function with WordPress 6.5.

That plan didn’t go down to well because it didn’t conform to the design philosophy of making WordPress work out of the box.

There was strong opposition from the WordPress community.

Among the comments:

“I think this is a significant mistake that deviates from WordPress’ core philosophies, the existing technical infrastructure, and the stated requirements and plan for shipping in 6.5. …By removing a key aspect of the compromise plan, it undermines the entire plan, and means we are fundamentally shipping something we know is broken with 6.5.”

Multiple comments agreed that the original plan was flawed, including this one:

“So basically the decision of moving uploadable fonts outside of the uploadable folder is already proven problematic even before releasing with partial testing.

And TBH `wp-content/uploads/fonts` path was semantically better in the first place.”

So the fonts are now back to being stored in the more compatible location of /wp-content/uploads/fonts/.

And that led to the announcement that 6.5 would be delayed by a week:

“Based on community feedback on the Unblocking WP6.5 – Font Library and Synced Pattern Overrides and Font Library follow up posts, there has been a change to the WordPress 6.5 release schedule and a final change to the Font Library.

…This approach ensures that the greatest number of sites possible can benefit from the new Font Library feature without the need to install or configure anything. …Shipping a feature that requires additional configuration or technical knowledge isn’t in line with the guiding philosophies that have helped the project mature into the successful project that exists today.”

Not Without Some Minor Complaints

The change to where the files will be stored did meet with the observation that storing fonts in the /uploads/ directory is not semantically correct because the fonts are downloaded in the case of Google fonts, among other observations.

WordPress 6.5 is now schedule for release on Tuesday, April 2nd, 2024.

Read the full announcement:

WordPress 6.5 release delayed 1 week

Featured Image by Shutterstock/PBXStudio

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