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WordPress Removes HHVM from Testing Infrastructure

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Before the release of PHP 7 in 2015, many WordPress managed hosting companies looked to Facebook’s HHVM to provide better performance. Pagely, WP Engine, and SiteGround added HHVM hosting options in 2014 and early 2015. However, PHP 7 performance gains have been enough to preclude wider HHVM adoption.

WordPress core developer John Blackbourn announced yesterday that the project has removed HHVM support in the Travis test suite after April 2017 stats showed a mere several dozen WordPress websites running on HHVM. WordPress never officially supported HHVM but Scott Taylor made many improvements to core for better HHVM compatibility three years ago. Blackbourn clarified on Slack that WordPress is not removing this support but rather will no longer include HHVM in its testing infrastructure.

“Support for HHVM itself hasn’t been dropped, but support for testing WordPress on HHVM has been dropped,” Blackbourn said. “HHVM usage is so minuscule (literally in the dozens according to update stats) that we can’t warrant the time needed to ensure the test infrastructure works.”

The change isn’t likely to affect too many developers, but it’s an important milestone that signifies how well PHP 7 has been performing for sites that have switched. Blackbourn suggests those running WordPress on HHVM should consider switching to PHP 7+, as it is “far more widely supported and tested, and offers all of the memory and performance benefits that HHVM pushed forward.”

The open source MongoDB project also announced yesterday that it will no longer be supporting its HHVM driver, saying it no longer makes good use of contributors’ engineering time.

“At the start of 2015 we began work on an HHVM driver for MongoDB, as part of our project to renew our PHP driver,” Derick Rethans, MongoDB engineer and author of Xdebug, said. “Back then, HHVM was in its ascendancy and outperforming PHP 5.6 two to one. With such a huge performance difference it was reasonable to assume that many users would be switching over…With PHP 7 released, we saw very little use of the HHVM driver for MongoDB.”

These announcements may be the start of more open source projects giving HHVM compatibility a lower priority. On the ticket for removing HHVM from the test matrix on Travis, John Blackbourn thanked HHVM for its importance in helping move PHP forward.

“The PHP world owes a lot to HHVM for helping it push it forward,” Blackbourn said. “Without HHVM, maybe we wouldn’t have seen such incredible performance gains in PHP 7.”

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The Jason Seifer Updog Memorial Scholarship

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Jason Seifer was not only an exceptional teacher and talented programmer, he was an entirely unique and genuine individual, and an amazing friend to many. As Treehouse founder and CEO remembers him, “Jason always brought electricity and energy to Treehouse and our work.” Jason joined Treehouse at the start, when as Tommy Wingo remembers, “We were a very small team, so everyone influenced the company’s development in an outsized way. Jason added character and a wickedly surreal, pun-filled sense of humor. He provided us with a solid technical foundation in Ruby, was one of the fastest typists I’ve ever known, gave amazing hugs, and sincerely cared about his friends.”

Many of you from our community will likely have come to know Jason as the master of all things Ruby, a patient mentor, and an entertaining half of the weekly Treehouse Show, alongside Nick Pettit. The loss of Jason has been felt throughout so many communities and by anyone who was lucky enough to have known him. As Nick shares, “Some people make music and paintings, or they cure diseases, or they make sure their children get to school on time. Jason’s medium was friendship. He would always take the time to ask how you’re doing and he took a genuine interest in others. He was everyone’s best friend.”

Jason and Nick on the Treehouse Show

After Treehouse, Jason joined healthcare startup Doximity, where he continued to have a positive impact on his team and the world around him. In memory of Jason, the amazing folks at Doximity have set up the Jason Seifer “Updog” Memorial Scholarship at Jason’s alma mater, the University of Central Florida. The need-based scholarship will provide promising UCF students the vital support they need to allow them to concentrate on their studies.

We couldn’t think of a better way for Jason to be remembered. As Fred Zara describes, “Jason was one of the most dedicated teachers. He was very funny with a great sense of humor. He will be greatly missed, not only by the Treehouse family but by the entire tech community.” Jason loved to teach and share his knowledge with others. As Brittney Blews describes him, “Jason put in 100% every day for our students, and his passion showed through in his work and influence. Jason started as my coworker and became one of my dearest friends. His awkwardness could clear a room, and I’m proud to say that I’ve learned my cheesiest of puns from him. Days at the Treehouse office have never been quite the same without him, and the world will never be the same without him either.”

Please help us spread the word about the Jason Seifer Updog Memorial Scholarship and encourage donations towards this meaningful cause.

In memory of @jseifer, show your support for the Updog Memorial Scholarship.
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The post The Jason Seifer Updog Memorial Scholarship appeared first on Treehouse Blog.

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WordPress to Select New JavaScript Framework for Use in Core

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WordPress core contributors have started collaborating more around their JavaScript efforts this year with regular core-js meetings. One item on the most recent meeting’s agenda was discussion on choosing a new JavaScript framework for use in core as an alternative to Backbone.

Contributors began by summarizing the criteria for evaluating framework options, includes factors like stability, longevity, maturity, adoption, accessibility, proven in a WordPress context, and extensibility, among others. Most of the discussion centered on the benefits and drawbacks of React vs Vue.

The majority of those who participated in the meeting seemed to favor React, as it is already used with several major WordPress projects such as Calypso, Gutenberg, and Jetpack. WordPress’ project lead, Matt Mullenweg, has publicly stated that Automattic is betting on React long-term. Mullenweg has also expressed a desire for Calypso, or a similar interface, to replace wp-admin in the future. The company has been building its products on React for several years and is pot committed at this point when it comes to the framework.

WordPress officially adopting a JavaScript framework will likely have a ripple effect that will influence how many products in the ecosystem are built and/or re-written. Proponents of Vue.js find it easy to learn and extend. Those who are advocating for React also cite its extensibility, stability, and its proven use with popular WordPress products.

Contributors present for the meeting agreed they would be hesitant to commit a new framework to core without using it in some way for a core feature. The decision has not yet been made. Anyone with experiences to share on implementing JS frameworks in the context of WordPress is invited to comment in the discussion on the meeting notes and join the next core-js meeting Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 8:00 AM CDT.

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WordPress 4.8 Release Candidate

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The release candidate for WordPress 4.8 is now available.

RC means we think we’re done, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible we’ve missed something. We hope to ship WordPress 4.8 on Thursday, June 8, but we need your help to get there. If you haven’t tested 4.8 yet, now is the time!

To test WordPress 4.8, you can use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the release candidate here (zip).

We’ve made a handful of changes since releasing Beta 2 earlier this week. For more details about what’s new in version 4.8, check out the Beta 1 and Beta 2 blog posts.

Think you’ve found a bug? Please post to the Alpha/Beta support forum. If any known issues come up, you’ll be able to find them here.

Developers, please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 4.8 and update your plugin’s Tested up to version in the readme to 4.8. If you find compatibility problems please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release – we work hard to avoid breaking things. An in-depth field guide to developer-focused changes is coming soon on the core development blog.

Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages!

This release’s haiku is courtesy of @matveb:

Érrese uno
Cien veces y más
Erre ce dos

Thanks for your continued help testing out the latest versions of WordPress.

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HHVM no longer part of WordPress core’s testing infrastructure

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WordPress has never officially supported HHVM, but since WordPress 4.0 it has been compatible, largely thanks to the efforts of @wonderboymusic in #27881 and other tickets.

Many large scale sites which switched to HHVM around 2014 have since switched to PHP 7, and usage numbers of HHVM according to the wordpress.org update statistics indicate that HHVM powers only several dozen WordPress websites as of April 2017.

Core’s unit test suite when run on HHVM never actually passed (this may not be completely accurate, memories are hazy), often errored completely, and was always marked as an allowed failure. All of this, coupled with the disproportionately high amount of effort required to maintain the test and CI infrastructure for HHVM, means that WordPress core is no longer tested on HHVM as part of the Travis CI build. See #40548 for details.

If you’re running a WordPress website on HHVM, you should consider switching to PHP 7+ which is far more widely supported and tested, and offers all of the memory and performance benefits that HHVM pushed forward.

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WordPress is Digital Glue

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We’ve all made software decisions that have gone on to cost us time, frustration and money. As a business owner, I feel an overwhelming pressure to make sure that our own company uses software that helps us to be effective, profitable, and well-poised for the future. Where we’re using a supplier to deliver a software solution for clients, their performance is equally vital. Making the wrong decisions can feel like a death sentence, and for a business, sometimes it can be.

So how can we choose the right software? Well, I think a first step is to understand the macro trends that define these choices. But one thing’s certain, whichever software choices we make, WordPress can act to successfully bind together all manner of systems.

The opportunity: Pragmatic Digital Platforms

When we speak to clients and prospects, and in particular to those responsible for strategy, we find they’re increasingly looking for fully-connected business software platforms. But more and more they are discovering that one vendor or one solution won’t provide all of the components they need. Those that have paid out for software licenses in the past will likely have suffered at the whim of closed roadmaps, limited supplier choice, and not knowing what’s going on ‘behind the curtain’. Their only alternative is to consolidate best-in-class components into proven, effective, integrated architecture. This trend, this quest to successfully incorporate separate software elements, results in what I like to call ‘Pragmatic Digital Platforms (PDPs).’

A PDP can allow for the varying rates of adaptation and growth of the distinct components. It can evolve over time, incorporating updated and best-of-breed software as innovations arise. But whereas no single piece of software can meet most organizations’ needs, there’s a case for having a consistent and unifying structure to underpin and assimilate everything else.

Strategically, PDPs add capital value to a business through:

  • Data ownership
  • Technical and operational design control
  • IP creation
  • R&D tax credit compliance (in the UK)
  • Driving digital capability within the organization
  • Granting organizations the control over where to invest in unique capability and where to leverage off-the-shelf capability

Almost every organization has a requirement for web-based content management, whether it simply runs their customer-facing platform or maintains their entire business infrastructure. Until we invent a more effective way of getting communication out of one human brain and into another than a Content Management System (CMS) – one that fulfills the workflow, governance and structural requirements that corporations have – then WordPress simply has to be a very strong contender for that central role in most PDPs.

How WordPress can help

In my opinion, that’s one of the fundamental reasons that WordPress has been so extraordinarily successful. It’s great software, supported by one of the world’s largest open source development teams – ranking in the top 2% of all open source projects. But more than that, it’s used by a huge number of suppliers and end users. With almost 70 times the number of SERPs for ‘WordPress agency’ as for ‘Drupal agency’, WordPress is truly the lingua franca of the web.

WordPress is incredibly well connected. I think of it like a multi-purpose adhesive. It’ll connect with and stick to almost anything it comes into contact with: search engines, email providers, CRM systems, payment gateways, social media and far more besides.

WordPress eliminates the risk of investing in architecture because it’s free, open source, community-owned and has a public roadmap. Prototypes and proofs of concept can be achieved very quickly to de-risk critical path and run lean, agile or risk-mitigating programmes. It’s fast, easy and inexpensive to customize it and to develop new integrations. You can take as much or as little as you need. You can swap out components as required, and that’s true whether you’re enhancing or replacing native WordPress functionality with an integration or swapping integrations in or out to maintain alignment with your requirements.

One real world example we’ve worked on is a platform for PEI Media, the first release of which is https://www.secondariesinvestor.com/. This combines an identity and entitlement management system called Blaize with WordPress to power the architecture and drive sophisticated B2B content revenue and realize a contemporary data strategy.

[Caption: An illustration of a software architecture that might power Secondaries Investor]

The end result is a super-fast, highly-cacheable but dynamic and scalable website that draws on many layers of architecture. WordPress acts as a platform of differentiation that connects with everything, from embedded social media to CRM. It serves as a great example of a platform that leverages the power of connecting different components to serve PEI Media’s strategic business objectives.

[Caption: PEI Media’s platform, www.secondariesinvestor.com]

Where does this trend take us?

Inevitably, this trend takes us towards two types of organization: those that pay license fees then leverage the platforms they have, and those that build strategic digital capability as a core business competence and create a Pragmatic Digital Platform.

So it’s time to draw a line in the silicon. And time for companies to decide whether they want to drive a standard model car, or configuring their own. Both strategies are valid and will produce winners in their respective races. Either strategy might provide the best value at any given point in time. Predicting the strategy that’s the right one though is the next great game.

If you come down on the side of Pragmatic Digital Platforms, WordPress is a strong contender for the content management system component. More than that, it deserves serious respect as a pot of digital glue to which you can attach the other components that your organization needs in order to execute and leverage layers of different architecture.

David Lockie is the Founder and Director of Pragmatic which he set up in January 2012 after freelancing as a WordPress Developer for a number of years. David loves delivering websites that add value to businesses and organizations and has been invited to speak at international conferences WordCamp and WordSesh, sharing his insights on becoming a successful WordPress freelancer and revealing how WordPress can save the world.

The post WordPress is Digital Glue appeared first on Torque.

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