Hey guys, hope you're enjoying summer holiday (if you have summer in the first place; sorry, southern hemisphere!). I thought I'd update you on VersionPress, our progress during the past few months and what's coming in the near future.
Our general plan is to ship new releases about every 3 months so our v2 release is rather close. We expect it to be available sometime in August and this is what you can look forward to:
Full site sync (incl. database) between two environments, like dev <-> test or staging <-> live. This is a big deal, something we've been working towards since our first prototype and I'm really excited that it will finally see the light of day. In v2, we'll ship a couple of WP-CLI commands to deliver the base functionality with better user interface coming in a future update.
New GUI stack. v2 sees a complete rewrite of the admin interface, using technologies like WP REST API, React.js and TypeScript. This has two main purposes – we will be able to provide a much richer user experience and the admin interface will be able to run independently of WordPress backend. We have some interesting plans with this for example for remote management.
The reworked GUI will also contain some new functionality like manual commits, the ability to revert a range of changes, visualize what exactly changed as part of the commit, etc. It's not fixed what will appear in v2 and what will ship as part of some future update but the main thing in v2 is the new GUI stack and all the opportunities it opens up.
Resolved db.php dependency. VersionPress 1.0 could conflict with some other plugins that opted to utilized the db.php drop-in as we did. This was an issue with some caching or debug plugins so we're happy to see this resolved in v2.
Besides those things, a lot of smaller updates are coming as well, from better support for automatic updates to performance improvements and some internal fixes to the core versioning engine.
Well, there is nothing really new about our Early Access Program, it is working fine so this is just a quick recap of our plans with it.
As previously announced, VersionPress 2.0 will be an Early Access release, as will be 3.0 when it ships later this fall. The EAP stage gives us the opportunity to prepare for a broader public release in a relatively controlled environment, yet still provide access to VersionPress to anyone interested. VersionPress 4.0, if all goes to plan, will be our first non-EAP release early next year. That will start a new era for this project with lots of important changes and announcements around it (and good ones I promise!).
While most of the work on VersionPress seems to be, and is, technical at this stage, there are also many other things we try to get rolling in parallel.
One such example is improving the hosting situation. At the moment, VersionPress requires Git on the server and
proc_open() enabled to interact with it. While some hosts support that just fine (e.g., FastComet, Uberspace, etc.), some don't. This is not easily fixed but there are several things we can do about it, for example, re-implement part of the Git client in pure PHP, work with hosting providers more closely, and we have a couple of other ideas of how to approach this. It's just an example of something that requires quite a lot of effort outside the main plugin development but is equally important for VersionPress in the long term.
Thanks for reading and have a nice summer!