Writing plugins for WordPress and maintaining backwards compatibility is something I take great care to maintain as far as is possible. However supporting what is currently 21 major release versions of WordPress is a huge task. The next release of Subscribe2 HTML is going to end support for some older versions.
There are a few reasons behind this decision, as explained above, Subscribe2 HTML currently supports 21 major releases of WordPress and maintaining this is a huge task, but there are other reasons.
WordPress and its plugins are written mainly in a language called PHP. Officially, PHP support now extends to version 7.4 and 7.3 only. Version 5.6 was widely used but is now no longer maintained and is not getting security fixes. Older versions of WordPress are very difficult to get working at all on current releases of PHP.
Additionally, Subscribe2 HTML contains a good amount of code that exists only for older versions of WordPress, bumping the supported version will allow for a reduced code base and smaller downloads and space on your servers.
Even the core WordPress development team are in discussion to cease support, or automatically update, older versions of WordPress. If the core team cease support, why should plugins continue to support these versions?
What about ClassicPress?
ClassicPress is a fork of WordPress 4.9 so support for ClassicPress is assured.
Subscribe2 HTML 12.0 is likely to bump the minimum required version of WordPress to 4.4. That will support (currently) the last 10 major releases and allow account for 97.6% of WordPress sites based on WordPress stats.
WordPress 4.4 has been chosen as it’s the version of WordPress that I can run locally for testing easily while also accounting for over 95% of installed WordPress sites. This version was released in December 2015. I would also look to maintain this support for as long as the core WordPress team support this version.
How does this decision affect you? Well, I suspect in one of three ways:
- Brilliant, less bloat on my server!
- So what – this doesn’t affect me!
- I can’t believe you are doing this to me!
If you are in one of the first two groups then thank you for even reading this far but this change really has no impact on you, feel free to update with the next release. (It should be out in the next 6 weeks).
If you are in the latter group then comments are open below where you can put your case to support older versions. Bear in mind the current code will continue to work just fine and I’ll continue to offer assistance as best I can to anyone with an active support plan.
If there are good reasons to support older versions and I can find a way to run older versions reliably on my local development server I may be able to revise the minimum supported version.