Category: News

Introducing ClassicPress 1.0.0: Aurora

Since ClassicPress began in August of 2018, our all-volunteer team has worked hard to bring ClassicPress to you. Today, we are pleased to announce the first official, stable release of ClassicPress: version 1.0.0, codenamed Aurora, available immediately.

Starting with Aurora, the ClassicPress v1 series is a long-term support (LTS) version for businesses who want the power and stability of WordPress 4.9.x and are seeking an equally stable alternative solution. Since all existing plugins and themes that are supported on WP 4.9.x are supported in ClassicPress 1.0.0, Aurora is also ideal for those that find that WordPress 5.0+ is no longer a fit for them.

ClassicPress 1.0.0 is based on the codebase of the WordPress 4.9 branch (currently WordPress version 4.9.9) and contains all changes from this version of WordPress, including the latest security fixes.

Of course, we’ve also made the codebase our own. Read on for more details…

Major changes from WordPress

  • Versioning strategy. We use the industry standard semver specification for predictable, logical ClassicPress version numbers.
  • Development process. ClassicPress is developed on GitHub, which allows us to take full advantage of development tools such as Travis CI and Renovate.
  • Security Updates.
    • GPG signed releases. We publish our releases using signed git tags and zip files served from GitHub, so that you know what you’re getting. Much more to come in future versions, including release verification during automatic and manual updates!
    • Updates. ClassicPress serves new version notifications from our own API servers, again with a well-tested and clearly-defined versioning policy.
    • PHP versions. ClassicPress requires PHP 5.6 or higher, as the first step in a strategy for encouraging ClassicPress users to keep their sites up to date. ClassicPress 1.0.0 also adds PHP 7.3 compatibility for all unit-tested code in the core software.
  • Translations. ClassicPress serves core translations from our own API servers. ClassicPress core is currently translated into 10 languages, and more to come with help from our community.
  • Admin dashboard. WordPress-specific features like community events and featured plugins have been removed and/or replaced with ClassicPress equivalents. For example, we’ve added a “Featured Petitions” widget to encourage community participation in our development process.
  • Renaming. We’ve renamed all visual aspects and comments/docblocks from WordPress to ClassicPress. For compatibility, class/function and file names have been left alone.
  • Installation. For new sites, ClassicPress has a re-branded installation process, with fewer steps. We also support installation using composer natively.
  • Simplifications. We’ve removed the Akismet and Hello Dolly plugins, but they can still be installed from the plugin directory. We’ll be making the core software even leaner in version 2.
  • Community. ClassicPress is what it is today due to input and support from our welcoming and thriving community. Thank you for helping us make ClassicPress a reality!

For a list of new or changed functions and filters in ClassicPress 1.0.0, see this post.

There are a lot of other places where we’ve been able to make small improvements to ClassicPress so far, such as better design and typography in parts of the admin dashboard, and other developer experience improvements. For more information, including links to download the release, installation instructions, and a more complete list of changes, please see the release notes on our forums.

We are excited about what the future holds for ClassicPress and encourage you to participate in the ClassicPress Community. We want to be the content management system of choice for businesses worldwide, and we need your support to succeed! Connect with us on Slack and join our forums and petitions sites to add your voice and vote to our community. Your contributions help ClassicPress continue to grow and thrive!

A word from Scott…

Today ClassicPress reaches a major milestone, and again I find myself without words to properly express my gratitude for each person in the Community who has worked to make Aurora happen. The time, effort and passion that has been dedicated to ClassicPress over these last several months has been awe-inspiring, and I am grateful for every hour each of you has given to the project. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Truly, ClassicPress is Community-led, and I am thrilled to be a part of this journey with each of you.

I look forward to what comes next as we continue on toward creating a world-class content management system for businesses who want to have a powerful, versatile and predictable solution for their website needs.

– Scott Bowler

For more information, including links to download the release, installation instructions, and a more specific list of changes, please see the release announcement on our forums.

ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc2 is live!

Today we’re excited to announce the release of ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc2, available immediately.

Here is a list of the minor changes in this release, as compared to our last one, 1.0.0-rc1:

  • Remove files that were accidentally included in rc1
  • Avoid duplicated rewrite rules (WordPress and ClassicPress) in .htaccess after migration
  • Remove WP-only themes features, continuing from changes in rc1 (details)
  • Add some explanatory messages for the default themes, since both parent and child themes are included (details)
  • Use a consistent header for all About tabs in the dashboard (details)
  • Fix a PHP notice in the dashboard petitions widget (details)

Next steps

Testing is critical during the RC phase — if we have any new bugs in ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc2, we need to know now so that we can get them fixed before the final release!  Otherwise, the final release will be out on Tuesday, March 5, as previously mentioned.

We invite you to put your new or existing ClassicPress sites on rc2 as soon as possible, and let us know if you see any issues, especially with regard to any of the areas that we changed.

For more information, including links to download the release, installation instructions, and a more specific list of changes, please see the release announcement on our forums.

ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc1 is live!

Today we’re excited to announce the release of ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc1, available immediately.

We have now left the “beta” release stage, and we are one step closer to a full, stable release that will serve as our foundation for many more future releases.

Here is a short list of the most important changes in this release, as compared to our last one, 1.0.0-beta2:

  • Finish porting changes from WordPress for PHP 7.3 compatibility.
  • Remove most links to WordPress.org and features that use WordPress.org accounts.
  • Fix any known bugs that are new to ClassicPress.
  • Miscellaneous other “polish” such as better organization for new files and improving the experience around ClassicPress installation and default themes.

We need your help!

Testing is critical — if we have any new bugs in ClassicPress 1.0.0-rc1, we need to know now so that we can get them fixed before the final release!  We invite you to put your new or existing ClassicPress sites on rc1 as soon as possible, and let us know if you see any issues, especially with regard to any of the areas that we changed.

For more information, including links to download the release, installation instructions, and a more specific list of changes, please see the release announcement on our forums.

ClassicPress: A Six Month Review

Did you know that ClassicPress will be six months old this month? It’s true. This month, we will celebrate six months together as an organization. It’s been a very busy six months! In addition to preparing for the launch of ClassicPress v1, we have been laying a firm foundation within the organization that will serve us well as we grow. Creating a roadmap and a more formalized organizational structure are two essential building blocks of that foundation, and we are happy to announce that they have been completed and approved by the Founding Committee.

It’s All About Community

ClassicPress is proudly a democratic community-led organization. We believe that careful planning combined with the insight and collective wisdom of the ClassicPress community will ensure the success of ClassicPress for many years to come. We want to be able to rapidly change and adapt to meet the expressed needs of the ClassicPress community. Clear roles and boundaries will help us to avoid some of the pitfalls that other organizations have experienced.

We facilitate democratic discussion and decision making via our forums, and each member has a say in how ClassicPress evolves over time by sharing and voting for ideas on our petitions website. We are sensitive to the wide variety of needs presented by ClassicPress users, and we want to ensure that those who use ClassicPress find it to be a positive experience that supports them as they focus on their own personal and business goals.

Navigating the Future

With the understanding that every organization experiences conflict from time to time, we have also created some guidelines to help navigate those challenges successfully. Ultimately, all decisions made will be an effort to serve the best interest of the organization as a whole. That has been our vision from the beginning, and we understand that it will take time and effort to make that dream a reality.

The Founding Committee is made up of many kinds of people: designers, developers, marketing professionals, security experts, plugin and theme authors, attorneys, and more. We all have a common goal — to serve the ClassicPress community by creating a powerful, versatile and predictable content management system. If you are part of the ClassicPress community, thank you for your trust, your insight, and your contributions in the forums and elsewhere! If you’ve not yet joined us, we invite you to take the time to get to know us better. We plan to be around for a very long time.

Photo by Jennie Brown on Unsplash

ClassicPress Localization

One of the most common support questions we get lately is regarding choosing languages in fresh installs of ClassicPress, and we hear you! Let’s break down how we got here, how you can help and what you can do if you want to use a language that’s not in our initial list of 10 translated languages.

How did we get here?

When ClassicPress was started back in August there was no infrastructure, and definitely no localization team, just a dream about how we could be better.

We knew out the gate that making sure ClassicPress was localized would be a monumental task. We needed to have tons of infrastructure in place, a team of translators and user feedback.

Work started on the localization infrastructure at the beginning of October (link). This continued with setting up API endpoints (link), and was finally included in Beta 2 (link).

In order to get translations served from the ClassicPress infrastructure in time for V1 we needed to prioritize which languages we would focus on first. The committee chose the 10 most-used non En-US languages to get started (link, at bottom). These 10 would provide the necessary foundation to begin testing our infrastructure and gathering feedback on which languages to focus on next (link).

A task this large was bound to hit some snags, and in spite of our best efforts, not everything went 100% to plan. After the discovery of some issues relating to wrong file names (link), we responded by quickly pushing out a fix to our servers to ensure users didn’t continue to face this problem.

How can you help?

For the ClassicPress V1 release, we’re focusing on making translations available for 10 of the most-used non-English (US) languages. We’re open to adding more languages once this initial effort is working well, but until then, we have made a temporary plugin that will let you use WordPress language packs for other languages. Please note that these won’t be fully translated and will not be supported long term.

With regard to the first ten languages, we need your help with Turkish, Spanish (Spain), Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, French (France), and Japanese. If you are interested in helping with the these locales or any others, please join the #i18n channel on Slack or post a new thread in the i18n forum. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and will help to move this important part of ClassicPress forward.

What if I want to use ClassicPress with another language?

If you want to use ClassicPress with another language that is not on our list of 10 initial translations, we recommend installing the Use WordPress Language Packs plugin. This will provide you access to the WordPress Language Packs for the locales that aren’t yet supported in ClassicPress. Please keep in mind that when using a WordPress language pack, most strings will be translated, but not all.

Our community is what makes ClassicPress different, and we are grateful for your participation. Please reach out to any committee member with any questions you have on this or any other topic. Thank you for your support!

Can I use the ClassicPress BETA on a live website? (Yes!)

Switch your WordPress Site to ClassicPress

WordPress 5.0 was launched today and major plugin authors are telling people not to upgrade their websites (see posts by: Yoast SEO, Advanced Custom Fields and WPML). As a result, many people want to switch to ClassicPress (a business-focused fork of WordPress) as soon as possible. The big question on everyone’s lips is: “Can I use the ClassicPress BETA on a live website”?

ClassicPress itself is extremely stable. It has been tested on hundreds of sites with varied setups and our development team lead, James Nylen, has given the green light for us to say it’s safe to use in a live environment (there are no open bugs on our GitHub repository).

So the short answer to the question is YES! On a side note, I switched 55 live websites to ClassicPress as I wrote this article. Everything went perfectly!

You might be wondering why ClassicPress is still in BETA if this is the case. The answer is simple — there are a few things we need to do before launching v1. Specifically:

  • There are a few dashboard areas we still need to convert to being ClassicPress focused rather than WordPress focused (for example, we’re adding a Petitions dashboard widget)
  • There is still the occasional mention of WordPress instead of ClassicPress, such as in the README file
  • Localisation is incomplete

If you would like to switch to ClassicPress, migration is extremely simple — you can download and install our migration plugin which will do the hard work for you (always make a backup first!).

Please note: Please make a backup of your site — ClassicPress cannot be held responsible for any issues that may arise from installing BETA software

There is one plugin that is unhappy with a ClassicPress installation: Wordfence (and for good reason — Wordfence is a security plugin and one of its functions is to detect whether core files have been modified, which of course ClassicPress has done). Please let Wordfence know that you would like ClassicPress compatability!

There are two plugins which conflict with our migration plugin: Disable WP Core Updates Advance and WP Config File Editor. Please disable these plugins if you’re migrating your site.

Ready? We are!

Download ClassicPress

Switch to ClassicPress

ClassicPress BETA release

Please note: ClassicPress is in BETA, but our beta version is well-tested, stable, and ready for use on your site. When ClassicPress v1.0.0 final is available, you will be prompted to update from the beta version.

DOWNLOAD NOW!

It is with great pleasure that we announce the BETA release of ClassicPress. Our BETA release comes in two parts:

  • ClassicPress itself
  • The ClassicPress migration plugin

To download either (or both!) head over to our downloads page.

Release highlights

The BETA release is a major milestone and we are excited to introduce some key features, including:

  • ClassicPress automatic updates are now implemented
  • GPG signed releases
  • Work towards serving translations from ClassicPress infrastructure has been completed
  • Old code for compatibility for PHP 5.5 and lower has been removed
  • We have removed/modified more WordPress-specific wording and admin dashboard content
  • All build dependencies kept up-to-date using Renovate
  • Miscellaneous other fixes and development process improvements
  • The new ClassicPress logo and “business-focused CMS” branding has been added

We need your help!

Please help us spread the word about the BETA and, most importantly, please try it out in a test environment for your current websites. The faster we can discover issues, the quicker we can resolve them and move towards our Release Candidate.

If you find any issues, please report them on our GitHub repositories:

In addition, you are more than welcome to submit pull requests and get involved with solving existing issues.

As always, we just want to say a big thank you for all your continued support in making ClassicPress a reality.

Michelle Coe joins the ClassicPress founding committee

It is with great pleasure that we announce the addition of Michelle Coe (Creative Director and Owner of BlueSkyPhoenix LLC) to the founding committee of ClassicPress. Michelle first volunteered her time a few weeks ago, but in short order has made her mark on the community in the areas of design and marketing – as well as general contributions to the community at large.

Michelle has over 20 years of experience providing elegant design solutions for small to mid-size businesses. Since founding BlueSkyPhoenix in 2011, she has created and deployed more than 100 websites, designed 70+ logos, and created countless other designs for her clients’ digital and print needs. Passionate about small business, Michelle partners with her clients to build brand strategies and web designs that convey a professional, positive business image.

“As a small business owner who supports other small businesses through website design, I’m excited about the opportunity that ClassicPress presents, especially in light of the recent controversy surrounding WordPress 5.0 and the integration of Gutenberg into WP Core. Working together with the rest of the ClassicPress team, I look forward to contributing to the evolution of a smarter, more elegant solution for businesses and non-profit organizations.”

Michelle speaks at regional events on topics relating to entrepreneurialism and business development, most recently at the Inaugural Fauquier Chamber of Commerce Micro Enterprise Symposium. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Fauquier Chamber of Commerce, and is co-chair of the Fauquier Chamber Micro Enterprise Council. She and her council organized the very successful Inaugural Micro Enterprise Symposium, held in October of 2018.

She previously served as 2017 Vice President of the Warrenton Regional Chamber (GWCC); in 2016 she served as Secretary and Marketing Director of the GWCC. She is also a member of the Haymarket-Gainesville Business Association. BlueSkyPhoenix was selected as recipient of the 2016 GWCC “Entrepreneur of the Year” award.

We’re excited about having someone with such a fantastic track record on the committee, and we look forward to taking ClassicPress forward with her help.

Theme and Plugin Compatibility with ClassicPress

A lot of people have heard of ClassicPress by now and although many are not opposed to the idea of a hard fork, the idea that plugins and themes will no longer work is worrisome. The main and real question is: how much and for how long will my theme and plugins continue to work on a different platform such as ClassicPress?

If a plugin or theme works with WordPress 4.9.x, it will work with ClassicPress 1.x for as long as the 1.x releases are supported. If you’re seeing something otherwise, please help us fix it by reporting a bug.

Longer-term, compatibility will depend on the specific differences between ClassicPress v1 and v2. We can understand that people have reservations. And it is difficult for us to say exactly what will happen, because we also don’t know that yet. However, we can say confidently that we will do our best not to break sites with any upgrades, and give people time to opt in to new features 🙂

We think that for the time being (two years at least), big players in the plugin and theme space will want to keep backward compatibility. As long as the Classic Editor plugin is being “promoted” as an alternative, these plugins should remain working for installs that run Gutenberg and installs that do not, which means these plugins can also be used on ClassicPress.

[UPDATE:] On November 7, 2018 Gary Pendergast of WP Core announced that the Classic Editor plugin will be officially supported until December 31, 2021. This automatically implies that plugin- and theme authors will want to keep their software functional on the classic editor too, which in turn means that said plugins/themes can be used on ClassicPress.

At the moment we are working hard towards our initial release. Once v1 is out the door, we will start talking with plugin developers to see what can be done to make ClassicPress compatibility smoother. By the time the classic editor plugin is no longer supported by WordPress, we believe there will be a robust ClassicPress theme and plugin market that attracts the best designers and developers, and serves the business market we focus on. You can bet we’ll be working hard to bring that about.

If any plugin and/or theme developers are reading this, we encourage you to get in touch with us via Slack.