Thoughts on breaking changes and a native CP pre-Gutenberg plugins ecosystem

This is not “just talk”. I’m opening this topic because while doing real things, I realized the following:

If we don’t introduce breaking changes, the WordPress ecosystem will do so anyway.

WP has an amazing back-compat history. But they are clearly resetting their back-compat base to WP 5+ now, which is going to leave CP behind, and which is nothing else but an extra motivation to start doing things differently.

At a certain point we will have to fork pre-gutenberg plugins anyway, because they will stop being compatible with WP 4.9 (and hence with CP).

Just an example: Contact Form 7, a very common plugin.

Two options:

  1. Do nothing and wait for CP to die.
  2. Fork pre-gutenberg plugins (and allow the project to have some breaking changes).

Option 1 is inevitable. There is nothing you can do to avoid it other than update CP to be a copy of WP 5+.

Assuming option 2 is the way to go, this will allow to adopt some breaking changes, since most of the required adjustments will be minor adjustments, and it will enrich the native CP plugin ecosystem.

“Who is going to maintain them?” you will ask.

And I say… most well known plugins evolved together with WP from lower versions and achieved a mature state. They don’t need maintenance for them to work the way they already did. Anyway, if the native ecosystem gets richer, new devs will jump in and take control of their favorite plugins, maybe improve them with new CP features.

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The problem is that PHP keeps changing, with breaking changes, so they do need maintenance. Also, security issues come up.

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Fair points. Both have solutions :slight_smile:

Regarding PHP changes… well, if plugins were more or less up to date on WP 4.9 it means they are around PHP 7. Updates won’t be a nightmare.

About security issues… well well. It’s not that those appear everyday, specially for the battle tested plugins that many use. But again. They can be solved.

What are the alternatives to this?