WordPress 5.0 Preliminary Results

Manga+Press 3.0 works with WordPress 5.0. Which, I figured it would because the plugin doesn’t use the editor at all.

However, it should be noted that’s for posting comics. More testing still needs to be done on the pages that modify the_content filter—specifically the Latest/Archive page functionality yet.

Scratch that out. The demo site is running WP 5.0.1, and the archive/latest comic pages are looking fine. I’ll wait for additional bug-reports, but from my end, Manga+Press works with WordPress 5.0.

At some point, I’ll update the plugin readme files to indicate that it does work with WordPress 5.0.

WordPress 5.0

I haven’t had a chance to test Manga+Press (either the current version or the beta) with 5.0, so I have no idea of how it will work with the new changes in WordPress 5.0. My working assumption is that Manga+Press 3.0 will/should work because I’m not doing any with the editor—although, I can’t rule out potential changes to the_content filter that 3.0 is currently using.

That being said, I don’t have plans to release 4.0 until after New Years, while I will need to perform tests with WordPress 5.0 and Manga+Press 3.0 to assure users that it still works. Which, with the Thanksgiving holiday next week, I likely won’t have time to do those tests until after WordPress 5.0’s projected release date, which has been pushed to the 27th.

What comes after?

That’s a good question. Assuming everything works in 3.0 as it should, 4.0 will be tested and refactored against WP 5.0’s changes. After that, and after some soul-searching, I’m going to make the decision that I won’t be continuing active development on Manga+Press beyond bug-fixes and WP core updates. I still want to implement the features I had planned for the original 4.0 release, but it occurred to me that trying to cram more features into what should be a simple comic browsing/management plugin would be pointless, and doesn’t go with my original goals for the plugin.

Basically, it’s a “we’ll see” scenario.

Manga+Press 4.0 Changes

It’s not released yet. Probably not until the end of September at this rate. Anyway, I wanted to add some information because like 3.0, Manga+Press 4.0 has breaking changes, this time surrounding the Latest Comic and Comic Archive page functionality.

The goal behind these changes was to bring these two pages back inline with how WordPress handles archive templates. The vast majority of issue reports I’ve had has had to do with these two pages, so the main goal for this release was to fix them.

There is an alpha version for download if you want to take it for a spin. DO NOT—I repeat—DO NOT use this version in a production environment because it will break things.

Comic Archive page

This is actually easier to deal with than the Latest Comic page was, because the fix was simple: enable the has_archive option on the Comic post-type, and give it a custom slug. Which should have been done way back when I updated Manga+Press to use custom post-types. So now, the Comic Archive page follows the WordPress template hierarchy. Which means, that there’s no custom work going on in the backend to create the comic listing, other than the switches to change the templates, and grabbing all comics instead of a per-page amount. However, I may change “unlimited” to “per-page” with an option to override, because I can see “unlimited” causing potential performance issues if an end-user has a lot of comics.

Latest Comic page

After some consideration, I realized that this page didn’t fit into the standard WordPress template hierarchy, so something different had to be done. I decided (for now) on creating a custom end-point with its own template. With the custom end-point, there’s a base $wp_query object that can be overridden by using the pre_get_posts action. So I’m overriding that query to add the most recent comic.

I’m still thinking about creating a new custom post-type to handle Latest Comic page, which have the added advantage of having its own archive, which means that in theory, a comic author can run separate series.

Either way, the Latest Comic page functionality is still up in the air right now. What ever I decide on, I want to maintain some form of backwards compatibility.

Other changes

After taking inspiration from WooCommerce, I’ve added new actions to allow other theme developers to better integrate Manga+Press templates. I’m also using another WooCommerce concept: theme compatibility. Basically, it eliminates the need for a child-theme if you’re using one of the standard WordPress themes, and I’m also providing a hook for other developers to add their own compatibility markup. What this means that I’m going to sunset the original child-themes, and keep compatibility going back to the TwentyFourteen theme.

Finally, with this next release, I’m no longer supporting versions of PHP older than 7.0, since WordPress itself now supports PHP 7.2. If your host doesn’t have the minimum requirements as recommended by WordPress, and if they won’t update their server to meet those requirements, then it’s very likely time to move on.

Blame Me, I Broke the Docs

Well, not really. You can still access the docs at docs.manga-press.com, but I may be moving them back to GitHub Pages in the near future. GitBook changed some things recently, and I’m not particularly happy with the changes. The end-result is that I merged the developer docs and the guides into one repo, and the new GitBook experience is rather lacking.

In the meantime, what started as a simple fix for the issues with the Latest Comic and Comic Archive pages has turned into a full-on refactoring of the plugin. Which means, guess what? The original 4.0 roadmap is postponed. The refactor will become the new 4.0, which will have breaking changes. I realized that I was doing the archives wrong, for one. The Comic CPT was configured wrong, and considering my years of professional experience using WordPress, I should have caught that. You can have archives for CPTs in WordPress, and you can even customize the slug used. So that bit of WordPress Core functionality has been added—should have been added years ago, and should lead to a better experience all around. The Latest Comic page has been changed to a custom endpoint—branching from an idea that I had in my last post. So the next release will feature templates for both pages, but still maintain the original Comic Archive sub-templates for the three supported styles.

So, no release date yet. I’m hoping it’ll be soon, though.