Plesk is here with the second major WP Toolkit release of the year: v5.11. With the new release now available, users can expect to find the Smart Updates feature’s user experience to be significantly improved.
That’s right, we revamped the User Experience of the Smart Updates Feature. Site administrators can now run updates with ease and breeze like never before.
Smart Updates UX Improved
While gathering feedback left and right, we quickly realized that Site Administrators are often still confused about how to proceed with the Smart Updates feature. ‘What are we supposed to look at?’ was one of the concerns rising to the foreground.
Indeed, much of the screen estate, the space available on screen, was primarily eaten up by screenshots. And this while the actual data about ‘identified issues’ was tucked away in a sidebar. As such, users did not feel comfortable when using a small bunch of static screenshots to make their decision, and it was not a walk in the park to find other, relevant information along the way. As this was an unsatisfactory experience, we opted to implement some game-changers for the improvement of everything.
After several rounds of brainstorming back and forth with our Design team, we removed the screenshots altogether. From now on, users can focus on the detailed issue report and give users the ability to access the test site for a more in-depth and personal analysis.
The first changes can already be seen on the Updates screen immediately upon enabling Smart Updates:
The ‘Update‘ button is transformed into ‘Run Smart Update Tests‘ to inform users that Smart Updates are enabled and will start the test run. In other words, this small detail tells you that your production site is safe while the WP Toolkit is sweating and hard at work. After the Smart Update test procedure is finished, users are presented with a summary of the test run with (literal) emphasis put on the available access to the test site:
The Test website is now fully accessible for manual review until the Smart Update is applied or discarded. This allows users to take their time, perform in-depth validation for all important pages, and include those that could not possibly be covered by screenshots (like WooCommerce checkout pages, and so on). To facilitate this, users can quickly open the WordPress admin area, and access files and databases, all from a separate tab within the Smart Updates interface:
If Smart Updates identifies issues, they are recorded in a short list:
Clicking on any issue takes you to a separate tab, where all details for found issues are presented for an in-depth investigation:
As these changes to Smart Updates were positively received during our internal UX testing phase, we sincerely hope this will equally enable a smile amongst our users.
Last but not least, there are two positive side-effects brought forward by the changes mentioned above. On one hand, the Smart Update procedure now works considerably faster. On the other, Smart Updates is now able to check an increased amount of site pages. From the previous limit of 30 pages, we raised the bar to 100 pages. Users can further adjust this via the ‘smartUpdateCrawlerPagesLimit’ option in the WP Toolkit configuration file.
For security reasons, WP Toolkit v5.11.0 and future updates cannot be installed on CentOS 6 or CloudLinux 6. We advise users of these OSes to update to at least CentOS 7 or CloudLinux 7. This change was preceded by in-product warnings introduced in one of the minor WP Toolkit updates a couple of months back.
The Scan procedure on Plesk no longer looks for WordPress sites in the Recycle Bin (‘trash’) directory. This change directly resulted from user requests, so it is an excellent occasion to remind everyone that the WP Toolkit team welcomes and actively listens to constructive feedback. Do not hesitate to let us know what we can further improve.
Our next major release should introduce the ability to use Smart Updates technology to check how sites would work on a different PHP version. We are very close to our first public API release and plan to deliver more customer bug fixes and long-awaited improvements in the next release, so stay tuned for more!