5FTF recap for February 26th, 2021

⏲️ Time: 3 mins

My #5FTF participation kind of sputtered out in the last half of 2020. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as most of it was either because I had higher priority client work to take care of, or holidays and PTO happened to fall on the same days and I looked forward to the extra time away.

That said, I’ve come roaring back, so to speak in 2021, though I didn’t document January’s event. Today I feel that I accomplished quite a lot.

Blogroll Block

I recently had my Blogroll Block plugin approved for inclusion in the WordPress.org plugin repository, and after a brief delay in getting the SVN repository set up, I was able to get this handled. Blogroll Block 1.0.0 is officially available for download, and hopefully soon it will also appear in the Block Directory. It’s my understanding that this is a special area of the plugin repository for plugins that do only one thing, and that’s provide a block. The items listed there are also searchable and install-able right from the editor screen when creating content, assuming the user has the right install capabilities. I’m very excited about this prospect.

On top of releasing the code for Blogroll Block, I also decided to dust off whatever graphic design skills I still have, and create a new icon for the plugin. I tried to keep it simple, with just a scroll that’s unrolled a little, and an abstracted “list” of items on the rolled out portion. I added a small touch of shadow in the appropriate places, but nothing that’s overbearing. Lastly, I decided to go with my old high school colors of royal blue and orange for something that will hopefully pop out and attract someone’s attention.

Orange scroll on blue background, with lines intended to represent a list of links.
The icon I designed for Blogroll Block

WordPress Core

Typically, over the past number of years, I’ve generally shied away from trying to contribute to WordPress Core. This is at least in regards to looking around and trying to find some easy things to provide a fix for within a day, and certainly not something that would necessitate weeks or months of active attention to get ready for potential inclusion.

No, instead I went for some really small things in forgotten areas of the WordPress admin panel. The first one I wanted to tackle was some UI adjustments for the links/blogroll management area. So, I copied down the development repo for WordPress, got an install setup that used it, and went to find the broken UI. It wasn’t there, it was fixed and looking good. Went and checked the commit history for the file(s) in question, and sure enough someone had beat me to it, and those changes will make it in to WordPress 5.7.

I was not deterred by any means, as I had another of what I consider a bug in mind. If you try to visit the old links/blogroll area on a new install of WordPress, you get some messaging about installing Link Manager first to restore this area. They provide a link that sends you to the plugin install page in your site, and fill in “link manager” as the keyword for a search. That’s nice of them, except for the fact that there are over 2000 results returned for that query. Good luck finding the plugin they intended!

I wanted this fixed. I knew there were ways to create links that install a plugin for you, I knew there were ways to create links that activate a plugin too. Just a matter of determining how to safely and accurately create those.

After a couple hours of digging, coding, and testing, I had my patch ready that uses the same methods for installing and activating. Moseyed on over to WordPress Core Trac and opened my ticket. I was quite confident that I was not going to make it in time for the WordPress 5.7 release, as that’s in beta right now, and due pretty soon. However, I wasn’t sure if it would even be accepted since the Links area is generally forgotten at this point.

Thankfully, and to my relief, it got accepted and has a milestone of WordPress 5.8. Can’t wait to see my name in props again. While I was at it, I checked all my open tickets and remembered a small ticket regarding some of the RSS feed files. So I nudged about it and asked if it was worth considering for 5.8 as well, and not long after it got accepted too. Huzzah! Two tickets covering small details. At the end of the day here, I’m quite happy with how the day went.


Michael is a seasoned developer who loves helping build stuff for the internet. He brings over a decade of varied experiences working with both front and back end developer stacks.

His primary focus has been WordPress and PHP and all the components that go along with them. During the day, he is a Support Engineer with Maintainn and WebDevStudios, helping clients get the best that they can out of their own websites.

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