WordPress’ Core PHP team has created a new GitHub organization for initiatives focused on improving the use of PHP in the project. The first one they are tackling is a new page on WordPress.org dedicated to educating users about the benefits of upgrading PHP. Contributors are collecting third-party articles and tutorials on PHP upgrades to find inspiration for the project, which is temporarily codenamed “servehappy.”
WordPress’ stats page shows that 14.2% of the all the sites it is tracking are running on PHP 7.0+. 40.6% of sites are on PHP 5.6, which is no longer actively supported but will receive security fixes until January 2019. This leaves 45.2% of all WordPress sites running on older, insecure PHP versions that have already reached end of life and are no longer receiving security updates.
Contributors are using the issues queue of the servehappy repository to collect benefits and statistical data they can use to sell the “update PHP” proposition to users. The project is currently in the brainstorming phase, but the team will eventually whittle the ideas down to present the most effective benefits.
“The primary task for the ‘servehappy’ repository will be to open issues for the benefits we’ve come up with over the past few weeks, and discuss them one by one, whether they qualify for the page and how they can be framed in the most convincing way,” Felix Arntz said.
In addition to proposing the benefits of upgrading PHP, the page will also include a call to action and information about how to upgrade or how to approach your host for an upgrade. Contributors are discussing the page’s outline and are aiming to tackle the project in a friendly and sensitive way that doesn’t put stress on users.
“The section ‘What should you need to know before doing an update?‘ must not unnecessarily make the user worry,” Arntz said, recapping the thoughts contributors expressed during the team’s most recent meeting. “Let’s highlight possible issues, but not overestimate them. People should see upgrading as a good thing, and we should point them to how they can determine whether their sites are ready.”
The Core PHP Team will be getting in touch with WordPress’ marketing team to request their expertise on refining the page’s approach. Anyone is welcome to contribute third-party resources or ideas to the servehappy project on GitHub. Check out the most recent meeting notes for a full summary of the project and its needs.