October Roundup: What kinds of things are we about to see change with Automattic, PHP & EIG?

The MainWP Roundup

In today’s roundup, we discuss EIG, a major PHP update, and if Automattic is going to IPO.

Buckle in, let’s ride.

EIG acquisitions lead to its own acquisition

Everyone has an EIG story. EIG, of course, is the acronym for Endurance International Group. They have a portfolio of some of the worst-rated hosts around the globe.

Think BlueHost.

You can see all of those brands at this link.

Over the years, they have acquired dozens of hosts, many of which were very popular before the acquisition.

In fact, Review Signal documents the decline of Site5 in this article.

The article makes an interesting observation about these acquisitions.

 

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“Beyond simply trying to cut costs, you have to wonder why would you spend all that money acquiring these brands that have lots of customers, good reputations and talented staff that obviously are keeping the operation running successfully only to get rid of nearly all of that except the customers. But once you gut the staff, it seems like the customers notice, because it certainly shows up in the data I track.”

Keep in mind, this was written four years ago. Times have not changed.

Well, EIG has recently been acquired themselves. A private equity group, Clearlake, recently purchased the company valued at $2 billion.

It appears some people think the EIG board undervalued the business, and Clearlake got too good of a deal.

“Shortly after the announcement, litigation law firm Brodsky & Smith LLC announced it will investigate potential claims against the EIG Board of Directors for ‘possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of federal and state law in connection with the agreement to be acquired by Clearlake Capital Group’.”

Who knows what will all come of this, but the question remains, “how will this affect the performance and customer service of EIG hots?”

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A major PHP update is coming.

I’m not a PHP expert. I know someone who created a complete PHP framework that many use across the world, and I know someone else who has a PHP course.

I can remember about 11 years ago moving my football website to WordPress. At that point, I learned how to hack a theme.

The first thing I learned to hack was PHP code. It was risky.

On the homepage, I was able to go into my magazine theme and change the number of posts to display. The way I felt when I was successful, you had thought I hit the lottery.

PHP has been around a very long time and is one of the major languages that WordPress uses.

It will update in just a few weeks to version 8.

According to Bridget Willard, that is later this month,

“General availability or GA of PHP 8 will be on 26 November, according to their calendar. PHP has 4 release candidates and the fourth will be on 12 November.”

Currently, WordPress 5.6 is set to come out on December 8.

As with any major release, it is kind of a wait-and-see-what-breaks game.

According to developer Joe Casabona,

“There are major underlying changes coming in PHP 8 that may seriously break Core, Plugins, and Themes. If your hosting company gives you the option to upgrade on Day One, proceed with caution and test everything in staging first.”

Usually, with something like PHP, I don’t update right away with a brand new version. Besides, that calls for me to log in to my hosting dashboard.

I also follow a similar path for a major update of WordPress. I like to wait at least a day or so, nevertheless, it usually means some kind of security update so I don’t wait too long.

I checked in with Rajendra Zore, the CMO & Product Strategist of RunCloud, about the PHP update. He advised waiting.

He did say, however,

“Those who understand it and have a minimalist setup may test on staging, but, as for use for regular users – it is best to hold it until their plugins and theme author confirms the compatibility.”

He said something similar about updating to WordPress 5.6

“I would wait for a week or two but I understand that the major branch 5.5.x is passed and so 5.6 is not as scary as 5.5. So yeah, two weeks to be on the safe side.”

If you are interested, Yoast ran a compatibility report for WordPress and PHP version 8.

If you are interested in testing for WordPress, see this link.

WP Tavern has an article and discussion about how WordPress is not including a minimum PHP bump this year.

Finally, Sebastian Moran shows you how to use the code snippets extension here if you want to disable automatic updates.

Stock Exchange Board
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Will Automattic go public in 2021?

It seems like the subject of Automattic going public comes up every once in a while. The signs appear to be there.

What can we expect in the next year? Will there be an IPO for the parent company of WordPress?

At the recent The WPMRR Virtual Summit, Brian Krogsgard joined the hosts to discuss this very subject.

They go through the various thought about the summit.

Early last month, Robert Jacobi brought this up on his blog. He talked about a leaked Tweet that brought up the discussion.

The tweet was by John James Jacoby, who said, “Automattic will IPO on the LTSE this year. Discuss.”

According to Jacobi, Matt Mullenweg responded with, “Not this year.”

Jacoby pulled the tweet, but Matt’s response is still there, with a discussion ensuing.

Automattic itself has had capital infused into the business this past year.

The Gutenberg Editor is becoming a staple. The WordPress.com platform is more like Wix or Squarespace, only on the WordPress software.

WordPress, Automattic, if you will, has been acquiring companies for the past several months. Most of those are rolled into the platform, which will compete against the Wix and Squarespace of the world for the average small business owner.

It sure sounds fascinating.

Jacobi asks the question of how an IPO would change the nature of WordPress on Twitter. Thus far, only one response from yours truly.

WordPress appears poised to join BigCommcere and Shopify as a publicly-traded company.

Wrapping it up

It seems as if the end of the year always brings out big news. Maybe it is because companies and organizations are scrambling to launch products or services by the end of the year. Perhaps they feel they can gain some momentum.

The year 2020 has definitely been a fascinating year for us, and I am sure 2021 will be more of the same. The future of WordPress is something we should be watching, although, in the end, it may not affect us that much. Who knows?

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