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WordPress: The current fast updates for themes

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Earlier last year, WordPress 4.2 introduced the ability to install and update plugins in place. This feature is known as " Shiny Updates". This feature is much faster in the sense that it allows you to quickly update a plugin without going through the updates page. Here's what it looks like in action.


Due to the complications that there were during the development of version 4.2, the “shiny” updates have been postponed for the next versions. Since then, version 4.3 and 4.4 do not yet offer these updates for themes.

An experimental plugin is still available

This functionality is still retained by the development team, who are looking for the best way to implement it. The team is experimenting with different approaches using the plugin " Shiny Updates" page (in French).

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Very few people know this plugin because it was created during the session of WordCamp US.

Most of the things the plugins offer are quick ideas. We haven't done any testing or added any suitable interface. - Obenland

The experience of rapid updates

When you browse the themes installed on the site, they are displayed in the form of a map. When a topic has an available update, the update text is displayed at the top of the map. Trying to click on it would expect the update to take effect, but instead the theme details are displayed.


In the same way it is possible to do plugin updates, it should be possible to do theme updates on the same page. Having a quick updates link elicits an unnecessary click. There are at least two challenges to overcome. The first is to rephrase the update text which simultaneously serves as a notification and link for initiating the update. The second is to determine if it improves the user experience.

Why Shiny Updates Are So Fast

Since this feature was added to the plugins, some people wondered why this process was much faster. According to Obenland, these updates are fast because:

“The whole dashboard doesn't need to be reloaded, including going back after updating. So when everything is done in the background, instead of having nearly 85 requests, only one is done. "

How to participate

Even though the dev team isn't sure which direction to take, Obenland says they want to use various unique actions on WordPress.

We want to unify the install / update / activate / remove plugin and theme flows, and be able to get rid of these different screens.

The plugin is available on Github. You can also follow Slack discussions with the hashtag # feature-shinyupdates.

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