Press This Removed from WordPress 4.9 in Favor of a Plugin

photo credit: matt-artz Tools. 2015(license)

Press This, a tool that allowed users to quickly clip and publish content from web pages, is set to be removed from WordPress’ upcoming 4.9 release. The feature is being retired and will live out its remaining days as a canonical plugin.

WordPress contributors opted to make a clean break by completely removing Press This and its supporting functions from core. After 4.9 is released, users visiting wp-admin/press-this.php will be prompted to install the plugin from WordPress.org.

A revamped version of Press This landed in WordPress 4.2, released two years ago. Contributors had been talking about switching it to use the REST API instead of admin-ajax since the 2014 redesign of the bookmarklet. This update is still on the plugin’s roadmap for anyone interested in contributing to its development.

“Following the importers and the link manager, it’s about time to say goodbye to Press This,” WordPress lead developer Andrew Ozz said in a ticket proposing the feature’s retirement. “Bookmarklets were popular seven – eight years ago, and now are considered mostly ‘old tech.’ The Press This usage was dwindling for the last several years. Currently it is at under 0.2% of the wp-admin requests (as far as I can tell). It seems best to extract it from core to a plugin, similarly to the importers.”

What Use is Press This without the Bookmarklet?

Development on Press This’ accompanying bookmarklet feature has also been discontinued. Older bookmarklets will not work with the new canonical plugin.

“Usage of bookmarklets across the web has decreased significantly and bad actors attempting to trick users to preform unsavory actions increased over the years,” Brandon Kraft said in a post announcing Press This’ retirement. “Coupled with advancing toward a new editing in experience in core, we decided it was a suitable time to make these changes in one swift move.”

Heavy users of Press This might wonder what the feature is worth without the bookmarklet. Posting through the interface will now require more copying and pasting. The URL scanning remains, but it’s not as efficient as highlighting a portion of text on a page and clicking on the bookmarklet to auto-populate a new post in WordPress. This change makes the plugin simpler to maintain but removes the time-saving feature that made Press This feel like magic.

“With the rise of bad actors attempting to trick folks to entering their credentials via phishing attempts, I removed the functionality in an effort to not promote requesting credentials after firing off JavaScript on a random site,” Kraft said. “To set expectations, I am not foreseeing a change in this decision; however, I support continued conversation and dialogue.”

Kraft opened a GitHub issue on the plugin’s new repository to centralize any discussion regarding restoring the bookmarklet functionality.

Any plugin authors who have extended Press This will need to update their plugins with a check for plugin availability as demonstrated in wp-admin/press-this.php.