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January 31, 2024: Woo Wednesday

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Woo Wednesday Online Meetup at Noon Pacific Time

Join Us At: Meetup.com

Other Upcoming Meetups (Pacific Time)

Dallas/Fort Worth WordPress: Event PageFeaturing Eric L.

WORDPRESS HELP-DESK SUPPORT: List of WP Meetup Groups – By Eagle

Halifax WP – Let’s Update our WordPress Sites for 2024: January 31st @ 3:00 pm

Seattle WP – WP Freelancers Meetup: February 1st @ 10:00 am

Learn WP – How to Deal With All Your WordPress Problems: February 1st @ 12:00 pm

Toronto WP – Navigating the Cybersecurity Landscape: February 1st @ 2:00 pm

Buffalo WP – Monthly Meetup: February 1st @ 4:00 pm

San Jose/Santa Cruz WP – Email authentication setup: February 1st @ 6:00 pm

West Orlando WP – First Friday Collaboration Meetup: February 2nd @ 7:00 am \

Midcities WP – Round Table Discussion: February 3rd @ 11:00 am

Learn WP – Creating an About page using patterns: February 4th @ 5:00 pm

O.C. WP – Monthly Meetup: February 5th @ 7:00 pm

Rochester WP – Best Practices for using AI for Page & Post: February 5th @ 3:30 pm

Woo News

WooCommerce Logo

WooCommerce 8.5.2 Released

From the Woo Developer Blog

Highlights:

WooCommerce 8.5.2 included updated logic to notifications that are causing fatals on some sites. This point fix release resolves the issue and includes safer checks for errors so that notification errors don’t cause fatal errors.

In the meantime, if your site is experiencing problems here is a workaround.

Using the CLI:
wp option set woocommerce_show_marketplace_suggestions no

Otherwise, disable marketplace suggestions in:
Settings > Advanced > Woo.com.

It also includes a Customize Your Store fix for potential PHP warnings and fatal errors when the images variable is not defined.

This release includes these fixes for issues in 8.5.1:

  • Add defensive checks for strpos in ComparisonOperation #44033
  • Add rudimentary try catch for all remote endpoint spec evaluators #44037
  • CYS: fix PHP warnings and pattern button #43354

You can download the latest release of WooCommerce here or visit Dashboard → Updates to update the plugin from your WordPress admin screen.

WooCommerce’s Web API: We want to hear from you!

From the Woo Developer Blog

“As you may know, WooCommerce ships with several server-side web APIs, collectively called the “Web API”. It includes the REST API, Store API, webhooks, and AJAX endpoints.

If you build things that use the Web API, we’d love to hear your feedback. Specifically, we’d love to hear what, if anything, is currently missing and what could be improved. We’ll use this data to inform our product roadmap and to design future projects. There are three quick and easy ways to help us:

Thanks in advance for your feedback! We appreciate your perspectives, and your insights are invaluable to us when shaping the roadmap.”

Addressing Concerns and Commitment to Improvement – WooCommerce 8.5 Release

From the Woo Developer Blog

“On Jan 9, 2024 we released WooCommerce 8.5.0. Quickly thereafter, we began receiving reports about issues, which brought into question the quality control for this release. 

We want to acknowledge and address the challenges and concerns raised by the community following the release of 8.5.0, and subsequently 8.5.1. The feedback is invaluable to us, and we appreciate your candid insights.

The 8.5.0 release introduced breaking changes that affected our users. While we swiftly addressed the initial issues with the release of 8.5.1 on January 15th, subsequent reports have brought to light a myriad of problems that have understandably caused frustration and concerns among members of the WooCommerce community, from merchants to developers.” 

WooCommerce Blocks Extensibility Snaps: Additional Checkout Fields Progress

From the Woo Developer Blog

Highlights

Additional Checkout Fields progress

We’ve been continuing our work the Additional Checkout Fields project. Last update, we said we would be working on rendering the three different field types available in fields in the “Contact Information” and “Additional Information” steps in the Checkout block.

Contact Information

The “Contact Information” step is an existing step in the block that houses the email field, and optionally the controls for creating or logging into an account. Additional fields will be rendered below these.

The "Contact information" step in the Checkout Block. There is an additional checkbox, text input, and select input rendered there.
A checkbox, text, and select input rendered in the Contact Information step.

Additional information

The “Additional Information” step is a new step added to the Checkout block that will only show if additional checkout fields have been registered. The title and description of this block can be edited from the post editor.

The "additional information" section in the post editor. It shows that the title and description of this step are editable. Inside this section a checkbox, text, and select input are rendered.
A checkbox, text, and select input shown in the Additional Information step in the post editor.
Fields in Emails, Order Confirmation, and Order dashboard

We also worked on making the values submitted by the shopper visible in the emails sent out after an order is placed, the order confirmation screen, and on the order dashboard. The merchant can edit these fields in the order dashboard too!

The order confirmation page showing the values of the additional checkout fields entered during the Checkout process.
Order confirmation page
The order confirmation showing the values of the additional checkout fields as entered during the Checkout process.
The address with additional checkout fields as seen in the order confirmation email.
The order dashboard showing the additional fields values as entered by the shopper.
The order dashboard showing the additional fields values as entered by the shopper.
The order dashboard showing the edit view for the Billing and Shipping addresses. Inside it, the additional fields can also be edited.
Editing the shopper’s address in the Order dashboard. The additional checkout fields can also be edited within the shipping and billing addresses.

Next month

Next month, our plan is to write documentation, tutorials and tests for this feature. When we’re confident, we hope to remove the feature-gating and get it into the following WooCommerce version. What we roll out will not be the final product, but we hope to have all of our “must-have” tasks complete. We will continue to work on our “nice to have” list following the initial launch.

Feedback

If you have any feedback to share on the WooCommerce Blocks extensibility work we’re doing, we’d love to hear it! Please feel free to open a discussion on our GitHub discussions board or leave a message for us in the WooCommerce Community Slack.

WooCommerce 8.6 Beta: Upgrades to Product Blocks

From the Woo Developer Blog

The beta version of WooCommerce 8.6 is now available for testing! You can either download it directly from WordPress.org or install our WooCommerce Beta Tester Plugin.

What’s new in WooCommerce 8.6?

WooCommerce 8.6 adds some interesting features like:

New block style for the Product Details block

As a part of our efforts to enhance the default state of WooCommerce for block themes, we have introduced a new block style for the Product Details block. This new style will provide an improved design on the default product page and be mobile-friendly.

Six new collections added to the Product Collection Block

To make it easier for you to promote your products, we have introduced six new collections to the Product Collection block. When you add the Product Collection block to the Editor, you will now be prompted to choose from one of the available Collections:

  • New Arrivals – recommend your newest products,
  • Top Rated – recommend products with the highest review ratings,
  • Best Selling – recommend your best-selling products,
  • On Sale – highlight products that are currently on sale,
  • Featured – showcase your featured products,
  • Product Catalog – use it to display all products in the catalog or configure it manually as before.

More updates

  • Added rudimentary try catch for all remote endpoint spec evaluators to prevent fatal errors (#44037).
  • Fixed fatal errors due to compatibility with PHP 8 (#44007).
  • Added new endpoint for retrieving suggested products from the REST API (#43720).
  • Added a new item to search for HPOS orders by product or customer, increasing the performance of these searches by about 2x (#43356).
  • Added a HPOS CLI tool to compare an order between datastores (#43173).

11 Tips and six tools for stress-free inventory management

From the General Woo Blog

“Effective management of your sales and inventory will ultimately save you time and money and lead to more satisfied customers. To do this, your information streams need to be synced and organized to function as a cohesive system — even if you’re selling on multiple channels.”

Inventory management tips

1. Know your inventory turnover ratio

2. Use demand forecasting

3. Accurately determine order quantities

4. Classify your inventory by priority

5. Determine your reorder points

6. Manage your lead time

7. Build good supplier relationships

8. Use inventory valuation methods for financial reporting

9. Perform manual inventory audits

10. Develop a plan for disposal and obsolescence

11. Control your costs

Ten growing trends: How ecommerce will change in 2024

From the General Woo Blog

“Here are ten ecommerce trends to watch in 2024 and consider building into your business strategy. Keeping up with these trends can help you improve customer experiences, operate more efficiently, and stay competitive — all keys to your success.” 

1. Artificial intelligence (AI)

2. Augmented reality (AR)

3. Subscriptions

4. Omnichannel

5. A tougher fight against fraud

6. Short form video and live streaming

7. Mobile-first design

8. Voice searches

9. Sustainability

10. Payment choices

“Operating a successful ecommerce business takes continually adapting to changes. It’s smart to see what’s trending in your market and to adapt. Keeping these ecommerce trends in mind as you plan your 2024 business strategy can help your ecommerce technology work better, make your customers happier, and build your business.”

Email sender requirements: What you need to know for February 1, 2024

From the General Woo Blog

“Effective February 1, 2024, Google and Yahoo will roll out new email sender requirements. This change may prevent your emails from reaching customers, so compliance with the new requirements should be considered mandatory — and all types of emails, whether transactional, marketing, or something else, must comply.”

From Google’s support pages, all senders who send email to Gmail accounts and all domains and consumer email brands hosted by Yahoo Mail must meet the following requirements:

  • Remove Gmail from your store’s “From:” address.
  • Set up SPF or DKIM email authentication for your domain.
  • Maintain spam rates below 0.10% and avoid reaching a spam rate of 0.30% or higher.
  • Make sure that sending domains or IP addresses have valid forward and reverse DNS records (also known as PTR records).
  • Use a Transport Layer Security (TLS) connection for transmitting email.
  • Format messages according to the Internet Message Format standard.

Senders of 5,000 or more messages per day to Gmail accounts will also have the following requirements:

  • While smaller senders should have SPF or DKIM set up, both are required for larger senders. DMARC email authentication confirms both protocols for your sending domain.
  • Marketing messages and subscribed messages must support one-click unsubscribe and include a clearly visible unsubscribe link in the message body.

Word News

WordPress 6.4 Shirely Horn

Current Version of WordPress is 6.4.3 – Maintenance and Security release

From WordPress.org

“This security and maintenance release features 5 bug fixes on Core, 16 bug fixes for the Block Editor, and 2 security fixes.

Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. Backports are also available for other major WordPress releases, 4.1 and later.

You can review a summary of the maintenance updates in this release by reading the Release Candidate announcement. For further information on this release, please visit the HelpHub site.”

Security updates included in this release:

m4tuto for finding a PHP File Upload bypass via Plugin Installer (requiring admin privileges).

  • m4tuto for finding a PHP File Upload bypass via Plugin Installer (requiring admin privileges).
  • @_s_n_t of @pentestltd working with Trend Micro Zero Day Initiative for finding an RCE POP Chains vulnerability.

Roadmap to WordPress 6.5

From WordPress.Org

“WordPress 6.5 is set to be released on March 26th, 2024. This release brings greater design control and optionality, more robust block capabilities with new APIs, access to current block theme functionality to classic themes, and the start of the new admin redesign. More specifically, these significant features include the Font Library for easy global font management, support for Appearance Tools in Classic Themes for more expansive design options, and more robust revisions across the editing experience (including revisions for template parts and templates). New APIs like Interactivity, Custom Fields, and Block Binding expand block capabilities and underpin features like partial sync patterns, and PHP compatibility work ensures alignment with PHP versions. Rollback for plugin and theme updates enhances safety, and bug fixes address various components for an improved user experience. The first taste of the admin redesign as part of phase 3 efforts are planned for this release in an iterative and contained way by bringing a new experience to the template, template part, and pattern lists within the Site Editor.”

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Cryptographers Just Got Closer to Enabling Fully Private Internet Searches

From Wired

“Three researchers have found a long-sought way to pull information from large databases secretly. If the process can be streamlined, fully private browsing could be possible.”

How to Hand Off a Website to a Client (In 6 Steps)

From CodeInWP

“In this post, we’ll start by talking about why this process is so important. ⚙️ Then, we’ll show you how to hand off a website to a client. Let’s get to it!”

📚 Table of contents:

Hackers target WordPress database plugin active on 1 million sites

From Bleeping Computer

“Malicious activity targeting a critical severity flaw in the ‘Better Search Replace’ WordPress plugin has been detected, with researchers observing thousands of attempts in the past 24 hours.

Better Search Replace is a WordPress plugin with more than one million installations that helps with search and replace operations in databases when moving websites to new domains or servers.”

“The plugin vendor, WP Engine, released version 1.4.5 last week to address a critical-severity PHP object injection vulnerability tracked as CVE-2023-6933.

The security issue stems from deserializing untrusted input and allows unauthenticated attackers to inject a PHP object. Successful exploitation could lead to code execution, access to sensitive data, file manipulation or deletion, and triggering an infinite loop denial of service condition.”

Free Resources

Waveformer

“Waveformer is an open source web app built by Replicate. It uses MusicGen to generate music from text.”