ACF version 5.0 landed on WordPress.org this week with Gutenberg compatibility now available for more than one million sites where the plugin is active. The release is a welcome update for developers who were concerned about what would happen in real world usage of Gutenberg on sites with ACF-powered customizations. ACF’s Gutenberg compatibility is arriving well ahead of WordPress 5.0’s TBD schedule for merging the new editor, giving developers time to get their clients’ sites ready.
“You can expect to see lots of Gutenberg related items in our changelogs over the coming months as we edge nearer to WordPress version 5.0,” the ACF announcement stated. “You’ll also want to take note that ACF 5 is the only version that will provide Gutenberg support. Previous versions will not be compatible.”
The version numbers across ACF Pro and the free version on WordPress.org are somewhat confusing. This particular release is significant in that it brings several years of development from the Pro version into the plugin hosted on WordPress.org. Now both products are technically on v5.7.6.
Hi guys. This version 5 release is for our “free plugin” on https://t.co/V7oUQSI5Ei and does not affect ACF PRO. Now both ACF and ACF PRO are v5.7.6!
— Advanced Custom Fields (@wp_acf) September 17, 2018
ACF 5.0 introduces a redesigned UI, performance improvements, and the plugin’s new Local JSON feature, which saves field group and field settings as .json files within the user’s theme. This reduces database calls and allows for version control of field settings.image credit: ACF
Version 5.0 adds six new fields, including a link, group, accordion, oEmbed, date time picker, and clone fields (an ACF pro feature). It also introduce a new Tools page where users can export and import field groups as JSON.
For more information on items related to upgrading ACF and add-on compatibility, check out the official 5.0 release post.
WPForms has acquired Pirate Forms, a popular WordPress contact form and SMTP plugin originally created by ThemeIsle in 2015. The announcement coincides with International Talk Like a Pirate Day but the pirate branding of the plugin is set to be retired and its users will be given the option to migrate to WPForms.
Pirate Forms was purchased in what WPForms co-founder and CEO Syed Balkhi describes as “an all-cash deal.” Although the plugin currently has more than 300,000 users on WordPress.org, its features and capabilities are inferior to the more modern WPForms and its creators lacked the resources to bring it up to speed.
Pirate Forms had gained popularity in its earlier days by providing a simple forms plugin (without all the builder functions) for sites that required just one contact form.
“Where most of the other plugins aim at ‘mega functionality’ with tons of customizations, add-ons and whatnots, Pirate Forms has made a bet on simplicity,” ThemeIsle representative Karol K said in the plugin’s farewell post.
“In other words, it just works(ed) right after the installation, with no particular setup required (other than adding your form to a contact page). This was a nice refreshment compared to the usual ‘get through tons of onboarding wizard screens before you can use the plugin’ -approach.”
Pirate Forms could no longer deliver what users expect from a forms plugin in 2018 and ThemeIsle opted to find a buyer in order to free up resources to focus on releasing the Hestia 2.0 theme.
“This acquisition further strengthens WPForms’ position in the WordPress ecosystem,” Balkhi said. The expectation is that a large number of users will migrate their forms to WPForms as the result of Pirate Forms discontinuing active development.
A migration path to WPForms is built into the latest version of Pirate Forms and Balkhi describes the process as a seamless transition. Users are also free to select another forms plugin but they will not have the benefit of the migration tool, which also imports the notification email and confirmation settings from users’ existing forms. Those who have purchased Pirate Forms Pro will receive a free one-year license to WPForms Pro.
WPForms has more than 1 million active installs and currently maintains a 4.9 out of 5 star average rating on WordPress.org. The drag-and-drop WordPress form builder is much more advanced than Pirate Forms and the free version allows users to create contact forms, subscription forms, payment forms, offline forms, multi-page forms, and many other types of customized feedback mechanisms. It is also compatible with all of ThemeIsle’s themes.
The team at Big Bite Creative has developed a new website for Amnesty International using Gutenberg, soon to be launched at amnesty.eu. The agency worked in partnership with WordPress.com VIP to provide the London-based human rights organization with the tools to create multiple sites that could be uniquely customized for their editorial needs.
After successfully using Gutenberg to launch a site for an international bank, Big Bite CTO Jason Agnew said his team gained confidence to use the new editor for the Amnesty site. The client approached Bite Bite around the time of WordCamp Europe when Matt Mullenweg unveiled a roadmap for getting a stable Gutenberg release before the end of the year.
“On top of this the Amnesty project suited Gutenberg,” Agnew said. “Their brief mentioned 14 components which could be used to build out multiple sites. I honestly think it would have been difficult to build something that required this level of flexibility with a field manager like Fieldmanager, CMB2 or ACF. Perhaps it would have been possible with page builders like Visual Composer, but these platforms are still figuring out how they will work with the WordPress 5.0.”
Through the use of a combination of prompts, custom blocks, nested blocks, and predefined styles, Big Bite made it possible for even non-technical editorial staff to create and arrange content to build out websites for various outreach locations.
“It’s been fascinating to give the client full control over the site structure compared to the more traditional development of templates,” Agnew said. “We are still in the early stages of launching sites with the new platform, but the client has built up the EU site on their own without much support, which should be going live early October. Now they are in the process building out websites for Mali and Iran, with the goal to launch around 20 sites initially. We’ve had the editorial team describe the experience as fun – that’s from a team who have used WordPress with ACF in the past, which does offer an intuitive UI but still requires a level of training of what fields relate to what pieces of content on the front-end.”
As many others have reported, one of the most challenging things Big Bite encountered in extending Gutenberg was the project’s incomplete documentation.
“We’ve had our challenges, and particularly the Gutenberg documentation is not up to standard, which leads to a lot of time being wasted,” Agnew said. “But I have to say once our team get over the first block or two it wasn’t an issue. It’s important to say that the Gutenberg team Slack have been a great help when we did run into problems. We did discover IE11 support is still a work in progress, for example, copy & paste didn’t work, meta boxes wouldn’t render causing saving issues with posts.”
Agnew said for most issues there isn’t a lot one can do to resolve them apart from waiting for each update as the plugin improves, but it’s something agencies need to account for when working with clients. The Big Bite team also found that Gutenberg compatibility is still an issue for many of the plugins that they looked at using for the project.
“Apart from using Yoast we’ve mainly custom built the theme due to many plugins still requiring UI changes to work well with Gutenberg,” Agnew said. “Probably the most significant feature we wrote was language syndication system.”
Big Bite plans to open source Amnesty International’s full theme, which includes all of the custom blocks. Prior to that they are going to remove all the branding to avoid lots of new sites popping looking like the Amnesty brand. The agency is aiming for publishing the code the same day as WordPress 5.0 is released or earlier if the release is delayed beyond January.
For a closer look at the Amnesty International project, check out Big Bite’s announcement post. The video below was created in partnership with WordPress.com VIP and offers a tour of some of the custom Gutenberg blocks they created for Amnesty.
In the early days of HeroPress there were quite a few Indian contributors, for a variety of reasons. India has long been a technology powerhouse, but the WordPress community was just beginning to get traction. I got to meet many Indians and even traveled there for WordCamp Pune. The stereotype that “India is cheap” is a difficult one for Indians to deal with. What does it mean? How should it be responded to?
In October of 2015 Rahul Bansal, the owner of a world class WordPress agency named rtCamp, did a HeroPress essay where he talks about what it means to run an agency in India, charge properly, and turn our work that rivals any from anywhere else in the world. Check out Rahul’s thoughts:
During their presentation at Drupal Europe, the Frontkom team behind the Drupal Gutenberg project announced that they are working on a block management system called Gutenberg Cloud, a collective library of blocks online.
“Gutenberg to us is much more than just another module,” Frontkom CIO Per André Rønsen said during their presentation at Drupal Europe. “We think of it as a platform for brand new features. We are very excited about the sharing/community aspect and the possibilities here. We want to make it easy to share and reuse custom blocks across pages, across projects, across companies, and even across publishing platforms. Drupal has always been great at sharing backend style of code. Now let’s make it great at sharing frontend code as well. This is why we’re working on a block managing system.”
Gutenberg Cloud would provide a plugin for WordPress and a module for Drupal (and eventually other applications) that would enable users to browse, filter, and discover blocks within the admin and download the ones they select. Early mockups I previewed show an interface similar to the theme and plugin browsers inside the WordPress admin.
A cloud-based block service solves a few problems that Gutenberg early adopters are already experiencing when hunting for blocks. WordPress theme and plugin shops have have been releasing their own block collections bundled into a plugin, but it’s not easy to discover or browse the individual blocks. Having blocks available on Gutenberg Cloud would prevent developers from having to create a new module or plugin for each individual block. It also prevents users from having to download an entire collection of blocks in a plugin when they really only need one or two of them.Gutenberg Cloud Will Launch as a Community Project, Developers Contribute by Publishing Packages to NPM
Rønsen said they plan to launch Gutenberg Cloud as a community project. Any developer can contribute blocks by creating an NPM package and tagging it with “gutenberg-cloud.” The description on the cloud service outlines their intentions: “Code once, use everywhere: As Gutenberg blocks are CMS-agnostic, we want to provide an ecosystem all systems can connect to.”An example Hero section block published to NPM
“We imagine everything from freelancers to big agencies and even community minded non-profits to contribute,” Rønsen said. “When people benefit from a better user experience, they tend to want to pay it forward. We have already talked to people in both communities wanting to contribute with code, so that is a great start for the platform.”
I asked if his team envisions block creators being able to sell access to their blocks in the future. He said his team is open to finding a payment solution for commercial blocks but only if the community demands it.
“Personally, I would be skeptical about committing to a community project that had a very commercial edge,” Rønsen said. “I think it’s important that the project stays focused on open source contributions, with a sharing-is-caring attitude. It’s the only language we know in Drupal. However, there is nothing wrong in providing high quality content and getting paid to do it. That’s why it’s on our roadmap to facilitate a payment solution for premium blocks – if the community wants it. It’s not central to the success of the platform, but I imagine it could be a great way to make some money for a skilled designer.”
Rønsen said his team plans to launch Gutenberg Cloud sometime later this year after completing internal testing and an invitation-only closed beta with a different companies. One of the most challenging aspect of the project is creating a system that can handle updates.
“By default users will get the latest stable release for the block from the author,” Rønsen said. “There will be a way to lock into a specific version and to version control that in Git, however. The plugin update system is a good analogy, but the infrastructure is completely outside of WordPress core. There are also some issues we haven’t solved yet regarding updates; it’s hard to make a system that doesn’t require a high maintenance effort for block developers.”
The Gutenberg Cloud project is contingent upon Gutenberg development continuing on a path towards being a library that is decoupled from WordPress. Last week Rønsen told the Tavern that his team hopes “that Gutenberg core devs will catch onto the vision of Gutenberg as the ‘editor for the open web’ — not just for WordPress.”
Gutenberg team member Gary Pendergast indirectly acknowledged this in a recent blog post that affirmed the Drupal Gutenberg project and reiterated WordPress’ mission to democratize publishing.
“One of the primary philosophies of Gutenberg’s technical architecture is platform agnosticism, and we can see the practical effects of this practice coming to fruition across a variety of projects,” Pendergast said.
“From early experiments in running the block editor as a standalone application, to being able to compile it into a native mobile component, and now seeing it running on Drupal, Gutenberg’s technical goals have always included a radical level of platform agnosticism.”
If the Drupal community ends up adopting Gutenberg for its core editor, the shared library presents an unprecedented opportunity for deeper collaboration across the two publishing platforms. As an agency that has done client work for publishers on both CMSs, Frontkom saw the potential before many others and took it upon themselves to fork Gutenberg for Drupal. This is the beauty of open source software in action.
“WordPress has many advantages that make it so popular, but hoarding those to ourselves doesn’t help the open web, it just creates more silos,” Pendergast said. “The open web is the only platform on which publishing can be democratized, so it makes sense for Gutenberg to work anywhere on the open web, not just inside WordPress. Drupal isn’t a competitor here, we’re all working towards the same goal, the different paths we’ve taken have made the open web stronger as a whole.”
Rønsen said he could see other applications and e-commerce platforms like Magento benefitting from better page-building tools. His company has a special interest in publishers and plans to release a set of open source tools for building news front pages later in 2018. Rønsen said he is hopeful the Drupal Gutenberg project can evolve alongside WordPress as it enters into the site building and customization phase of the project.
“I’m hopeful that the Gutenberg project will stay decoupled from WP one way or another,” Rønsen said. “This will leave room for Drupal to innovate on top of it. It could even be the case that the page building tools and customizer integration in WP will play nicely into the current architecture. In any case, I believe the basics of the editor and block concept will continue to be a good fit for Drupal. There is already some consensus out there on how to use Gutenberg for page building. A great example, is Big Bite’s work with Amnesty. If the continued experience is anything like that, I think we have a perfect match.
The downside of Zuckerberg’s exalted status within his company is that it is difficult for him to get genuine, unexpurgated feedback. He has tried, at times, to puncture his own bubble. In 2013, as a New Year’s resolution, he pledged to meet someone new, outside Facebook, every day. In 2017, he travelled to more than thirty states on a “listening tour” that he hoped would better acquaint him with the outside world. David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager, who is now the head of policy and advocacy at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the family’s philanthropic investment company, attended some events on the tour. He told me, “When a politician goes to one of those, it’s an hour, and they’re talking for fifty of those minutes. He would talk for, like, five, and just ask questions.”
But the exercise came off as stilted and tone-deaf. Zuckerberg travelled with a professional photographer, who documented him feeding a calf in Wisconsin, ordering barbecue, and working on an assembly line at a Ford plant in Michigan. Online, people joked that the photos made him look like an extraterrestrial exploring the human race for the first time. A former Facebook executive who was involved in the tour told a friend, “No one wanted to tell Mark, and no one did tell Mark, that this really looks just dumb.”
There seem to be three communication gaps outlined here in Evan Osnos’s revealing profile of Mark Zuckerberg: one is getting unvarnished feedback from your employees. Speaking as a fellow CEO and founder, it’s certainly hard to pop that bubble — see “the bear is sticky with honey.” There are a few techniques like skip-level 1:1 meetings, anonymous feedback forms, interviewing new hires, and 360 reviews you can do to try to counter this, but there’s no panacea and this one requires constant work as you scale.
The second gap is getting the unvarnished truth from your users — much easier, as they’re quite happy to tell you what’s what. I’ve recently started cold-calling (yes, on the phone!) some of our Jetpack customers just to understand what they love and don’t love about the experience and about how we can help them solve their business challenges. There’s a casual intimacy to phone conversations that just can’t be replicated in other user feedback forums. Pair this with good instrumentation throughout your product so you see what people do and not just what they say and you’re golden.
The third and last communication gap is the connection to the world as most people experience it. If your status, wealth, or celebrity reach a point that they are shutting you out from “real” experiences, take some risks and get outside of your comfort zone. As it turns out, this new GQ profile of Paul McCartney offered a tip on that:
McCartney tells me a further such story of a time he took the Hampton Jitney, the slightly upmarket bus service that runs from the Hamptons into Manhattan, because he was deep into Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby and he wanted to finish it, and how he then took a local bus uptown, and when a woman blurted from across the bus, “Hey! Are you Paul McCartney?” he invited her to sit next to him and chatted all the way uptown. “It’s a way of not worrying about your fame,” he says. “It’s a way of not turning into the reclusive rock star. I often say to Nancy: I get in their faces before they get a chance to get in mine.”
Makes me wonder if Jack Dorsey still rides the bus to work every day. I think this is what Zuckerberg was attempting with his 30-state tour, and hopefully it was helpful even if the optics didn’t appeal to everyone — the daily habit of his 2013 resolution to meet someone new every day feels more powerful than the touristic 30-state one. But for an entity as large as Facebook maybe it’s moot, as Casey Newton pointed out in his newsletter last week it can be quite hard to pin the answers to Facebook’s real problems, and our democracy’s real challenges in the face of targeted online propaganda, to just one person.
Version 5.0 of Hybrid Core, one of the longest-running WordPress theme frameworks, is now available. Justin Tadlock celebrated 10 years with his Theme Hybrid community last month and released his new Mythic starter theme into beta. Mythic was built on top of Hybrid Core and developed in tandem with version 5.0.
The framework has been rewritten almost entirely from scratch to be a leaner, more modern starting place for theme development. Tadlock describes it as “a fundamentally different framework, rewritten from the ground up, that supports more modern PHP practices.”
“I started 5.0 with a goal of bringing the framework up to date with more modern PHP practices and code,” he said. “The first iteration of the framework was built in 2008, so it was time to get us ready for the next era of theme building.”
In nearly a decade of supporting the framework, Tadlock found that users didn’t always know how to get started building something from scratch. Many copied one of his existing themes and would add and remove things from it based on their own needs.
Version 5.0 doesn’t necessarily make it easier to build on top of Hybrid Core with its new, more complicated method of bootstrapping, new view system for templating, and requirement for using Composer. This is why Tadlock is officially recommending Mythic as the path for building a theme with Hybrid Core in the future. Most of the documentation and tutorials he plans to create in the future will be centered around the Mythic starter theme, which is nearing a 1.0 release.
We just closed all tickets on the 1.0.0 milestone for the Mythic starter theme! It feels pretty good.
Barring any OMGBBQ issues between now and tomorrow, you should see an announcement post from me.https://t.co/J4CGLKa1y5
— Justin Tadlock (@justintadlock) September 17, 2018
For many theme developers, Mythic’s use of the BEM (Block-Element-Modifier) CSS class-naming system is their first introduction to a system of non-hierarchal, component-based CSS. Because BEM doesn’t rely on nested selectors, it’s easier for users to overwrite CSS that they want to change. Tadlock explains the benefit for child themes in a recent post about why Mythic uses BEM.
A handful of the Hybrid add-ons are now available as Composer packages, including one for breadcrumbs, customizer controls and settings, Google fonts, and a featured image script. Tadlock plans to split more parts of the framework off into packages in the future for an increasingly modular core.
Hybrid Core 5.0 requires PHP 5.6+ (with 7.0+ recommended) and WordPress 4.9.6+. Tadlock will support Hybrid Core’s 4.x series for at least another year to give theme authors time to adapt.
A lightweight theme based on the Beauter CSS framework.
Yoast SEO 8.2 was released last week with the plugin’s first tools designed specifically for Gutenberg. It includes two new How-To and FAQ structured data content blocks for early adopters of the new editor.
Structured data is content that can be marked up with a shared vocabulary, such as the one provided by Schema.org. Content like products, books, reviews, podcasts, events, and recipes lend themselves well to this specific type of organization. Structured data helps search engines index the site more effectively and communicate results in more compelling ways, such as rich snippets, rich cards, or voice search.
Structured data is not easy for most WordPress users to implement without the help of a plugin. Now that more content is being created in Gutenberg, users who want their content to display as enhanced search results will need to seek out plugins that make that an automatic part of the content creation process.
The plugin outlines all the necessary data the users needs to add in order for the How-To and FAQ content blocks to appear as valid pieces of structured data.image credit: Yoast.com
In the future the Yoast team plans to create many more structured data blocks.
“We’ll work first on blocks which we can dogfood on Yoast.com, like Job posting and Event,” Yoast CTO Omar Reiss said. “After that, we’ll just go for the popular ones, like Recipe.”
It's a basic theme what is built using Bootstrap 4. Basically, it's just a skeleton for child themes.
The work is in progress...
Gutenberg 3.8 is available for download. This release features a full screen mode that hides both the admin bar and the menu. Unlike previous versions of Distraction-Free-Writing mode where things would fade in and out of view, these two items stay hidden until full-screen mode is disabled.
User Interface elements have been added to manage reusable blocks in bulk. Theme authors are now able to register editor styles for blocks by targeting the blocks themselves. This avoids combating CSS specificity and doesn’t require knowledge of the internal DOM structure for the editor.
The block settings icon has been moved from the right side of blocks to the toolbar. This change sets the foundation for refactoring the toolbar and it reduces clutter by keeping the icons together.
Gutenberg 3.8 also contains a significant increase in performance thanks to a new hand-coded default block parser.
Having a formal specification of the Gutenberg block grammar has allowed us both to maintain a stable core during the almost 40 releases of the plugin and lately to allow competing parser implementation to evolve and be compared in terms of performance and correctness.
In concrete terms, we are shipping a new default implementation that is hundreds of times faster than the spec and has been stress tested with really long posts (including Moby Dick). These tests are also available for anyone to run against. Memory consumption has also gone down dramatically for server side operations. I’d like to specially thank Dennis Snell and Ivan Enderlin for their great work improving this area.Matias Ventura
To see a complete list of changes along with links to their corresponding pull requests, check out the release post.
As part of the roadmap unveiled at WordCamp EU earlier this year, WordPress.com has started rolling out Gutenberg to a subset of users.Try Gutenberg Call-out on WordPress.com
According to a WordPress.com Happiness Engineer, the team is testing the implementation to determine the best way and time to enable it. Users will not be able to use Gutenberg unless their theme is updated to support blocks and the various alignment options.
Theme Wranglers are already in the process of adding support to WordPress.com’s nearly 100 free themes.
A quick search of the WordPress.com support forums for Gutenberg provides some insight into what users think about the new editor. For example, this user provided feedback on the use of so many icons without displaying their textual equivalent.
For now, Gutenberg is opt-in but eventually will be opt-out. Once Gutenberg is made available to a wider audience, support documents and official blog posts will be published to inform users about the new editor.
BuddyPress 3.2.0 is now available. This is a maintenance release that fixes 25 bugs and is a recommended upgrade for all BuddyPress installations.
Update to BuddyPress 3.2.0 today in your WordPress Dashboard, or by downloading from the wordpress.org plugin repository. For details on the changes, read the 3.2.0 release notes.
In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Fred Meyer, David Hayes, and Alex Denning of WPShout to learn about WPShout’s Pro Community. This community aims to bring people together to learn from each other and provide one-to-one mentorship opportunities with David and Fred.
Later in the show, John and I discuss why it’s a matter of when and not if, Dark Mode will be added to WordPress. We round out the show by discussing burnout and some other personal things.Stories Discussed:
Next Episode: Wednesday, September 26th 3:00 P.M. Eastern
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The WordPress 4.9.9 release leads published a roadmap for the release this week. The minor release will be led by Anthony Burchell and Alain Schlesser. It is targeted for November 5 with the first beta arriving near the end of October.
The leads identified four key focus areas for the upcoming release: accessibility, internationalization, the Site Health Project, and Gutenberg preparation. The internationalization focus is aimed at improving translations and RTL support, as well as ensuring that date/time values work. The roadmap doesn’t identify any specific accessibility items but Burchell said the leads see lots of ways they can “drastically improve the experience for a lot of people with minimal effort.”
Contributors to the Site Health Project, previously known by the “Servehappy” code name, will be working on resolving issues that will allow users to stay on WordPress 4.9.9 while they prepare for 5.0 and still have access to the important information about how to update their PHP versions.
“It will be crucial to get the Servehappy components included: WSOD protection, update dashboard notice, plugin version requirements,” Burchell said. “The reason for this focus is because, when 5.0 ships, users who decide not to upgrade will be on 4.9.9 for a potentially extended time period. If we don’t have these Servehappy components included in 4.9.9, getting rid of old PHP versions will only happen after 5.0.”
Another major part of WordPress 4.9.9 will be landing items that lay the groundwork for anything necessary for Gutenberg’s merge into 5.0. Two items identified include user locale support in REST API endpoints and endpoints to lock/unlock and release posts.
With an unusually quick turnaround, WordPress 5.0 could arrive before the end of 2018. Development will kick off in mid-November, one week ahead of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
UPDATE 9/13/2018 – 8:13PM: The wording on the roadmap document has been updated to more accurately reflect the intentions of contributors regarding the work outlined for the Site Health Project. The roadmap now reads:
“We will investigate the work remaining for the Servehappy project and determine how to get it in people’s hands as soon as possible. WSOD protection, update dashboard notice, plugin version requirements are the hot items pending.”
About a year ago, Christie Chirinos wrote the essay “What I Do Does Not Define Who I Am“. It felt like a big deal at the time, and it was, but like most big deals, it slowly faded from memory. That’s one of the reasons I do these replays, for the benefit of my own memory as much as anything else.
As I’ve mentioned, part of the goal of HeroPress is to speak to those with less privilege and show how WordPress can help overcome that. That message shouldn’t come from me, a white American male. I simply don’t have the experience. I can read about it, but I’ll never actually have the experiences.
The story really needs to come from someone with experience. Christie has some of that experience, and she does a wonderful job talking about how WordPress helped a little bit. I hope her story helps.
The first official WooCommerce Android app is now in open beta. The companion mobile app allows users to manage their WooCommerce stores on the go. Store owners who want to test the unreleased version of the mobile app can sign up with the Google Play Store. The WooCommerce app requires Jetpack to connect stores to the app.
The beta introduces a basic set of features for managing orders, viewing store stats, and receiving sales notifications, including the following:
- Check basic orders and revenue statistics with time period selection.
- View orders list in chronological order, with status and total value.
- Review individual orders with all the standard details, and contact customers.
- Perform basic order fulfillment.
- Get notifications about orders and reviews, and the ability to moderate them.
- View a list of the top-selling products on your store.
The app’s real-time order alerts even include an optional “cha-ching” sounds for new orders.
Over the past few years, the WooCommerce community has demonstrated a demand for mobile apps on both platforms. A suggestion for an Android app received 533 upvotes on the WooCommerce ideas board. There is also a motley assortment of unofficial WooCommerce store management apps available on the Google Play Store. Some of the more popular ones include StorePep WooCommerce App, WooCommerce Mobile Admin, Admin app for WooCommerce, and Dashly – WooCommerce Dashboard.
None of the third-party mobile apps seem to be very highly rated, nor are they consistent with the WooCommerce branding. A cursory glance at the reviews for these apps shows that most of them are slow, buggy, and not very well supported. However, they have temporarily fulfilled a need in the absence of an official app from WooCommerce.
Considering the options currently available, an official WooCommerce app will be a welcome addition to the tools available for store owners. An iOS app is also in the works. At the end of July, the WooCommerce development team put out a call for testing the first iOS Beta. Anyone interested to test the apps can check out the Woo Halo site and register to be part of the testing group.