WordPress 5.5 rolled in August 2020 and soon after a huge number of sites over the Internet broke. Get ready because WordPress 5.6 can possibly do something very similar.
One of the WordPress developers behind the jQuery Migrate Plugin said in a support thread that the plugin would become “useless” once 5.6 rolls out. Anyone actually relying upon it in December will encounter the rubber bands snapping off their websites once more.
WordPress is on a planned three-phase modernization of the use of jQuery. jQuery is a bunch of scripts that gives sites functionality like animation, provides interactive elements to web pages, makes making plugins and themes easier because it handles features common to sites, and controls CSS with it.
Older versions of jQuery are still being used in many plugins and themes. Older jQuery libraries contain Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) and Denial of Service (DoS) vulnerabilities, which can be risky for sites.
WordPress 5.5 was the initial move toward modernizing WordPress by forcing the whole WordPress ecosystem to update their code and get on board with the latest and safest version of jQuery.
The initial step of the journey was to eliminate the jQuery Migrate 1.x library.
jQuery Migrate is code that allows a site with plugins that use older versions of jQuery to continue functioning. It makes a WordPress site backward compatible with plugins and themes that still use older jQuery scripts.
WordPress announced these steps a long time early. Plugin and theme developers had ample warning that jQuery would be taken out, giving them a lot of time to update their product.
When WordPress released version 5.5 in August 2020, a huge number of sites stop functioning as they should. A few people were locked out of their websites and couldn’t sign into their admin panel. Other publishers saw their whole websites stop displaying entirely.
WordPress released a plugin called, Enable jQuery Migrate Helper to reestablish all the wrecked sites. A huge number of sites were reestablished and continued working like normal.
WordPress 5.6 will roll out step two of modernizing the use of jQuery by updating the jQuery Migrate library to the most recent version, 3.3.1.
The websites that were depending on the “Enable jQuery Migrate Helper” to shield their websites from falling apart are going to suffer all over again.
As indicated by the official announcement:
“The first step was included with WordPress 5.5, which stopped enabling jQuery Migrate version 1.x by default.
As part of… part two of this process… which updated the bundled jQuery version to 3.5.1. Alongside this, jQuery Migrate was also updated to the newer 3.3.1 version.
Do note that the Migrate script for version 3 is not compatible with features that the previous migrate script provided a polyfill for, and features previously marked as deprecated are no longer available.”
That means that functionality will break all over again for sites still relying on the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin to keep their site functioning.
In a WordPress Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin support forum, somebody asked if the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin will still keep working with WordPress 5.6
“When the WordPress 5.6 update arrives, will Enable jQuery Migrate Helper still work?”
The WordPress plugin developer replied:
“So the short of it is that no, it will not help once WordPress 5.6 comes around, as the jQuery library in WordPress is planned to be upgraded, and that would leave this helper useless…”
Many plugins and theme developers updated their software to the latest version of jQuery and fixed the problem. Users of those products should have no problem.
But there are themes and plugins that are no longer being maintained and there might be other people who have not yet updated their code. Users of those products will probably observe their website’s top working.
If you’re currently using the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin and when signed into your admin panel you see error messages, then yes, you may encounter unexpected site behavior when WordPress updates to version 5.6.
Then again, if the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper isn’t reporting any errors that mean your themes and plugins have updated their jQuery libraries and the site should work well.
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