Popular WordPress Plugins Slow to Add Meta Box Support for Calypso

During the State of the Word at WordCamp US 2016, Matt Mullenweg announced that Calypso was plugin aware. Calypso is a REST API and React powered application for the desktop created by Automattic in 2015.

Developers with plugins active on 1M sites or more received an email invitation from Andy Peatling to begin building support for Calypso.

“Calypso is now plugin-aware,” Mullenweg said. “This pull request was merged today, and as a way to bootstrap this, we’re opening up for what I just described for plugins to create Calypso interfaces for what they’re doing.

“Basically saying, if you’re using Calypso on a site that has one of these plugins, let’s say WooCommerce, all of a sudden in the interface, there will be all the WooCommerce stuff. It’ll talk to the API, it will run on the desktop just like the rest of Calypso, and it will only be loaded if the plugin is active.”

One of the major differences between Calypso and WP-Admin is that custom meta boxes added by plugins are not accessible in Calypso.

Nearly seven months since the announcement, popular WordPress plugins have struggled to add meta box support, including those maintained by Automattic. WordPress SEO, active on more than 3M sites, is among the plugins that were selected to take part in the experiment.

When asked about the progress of making WordPress SEO Calypso aware, Joost de Valk, founder of Yoast.com, declined to comment.

Automattic has seen little progress on the initiative, “No news to report at this time, but hope to have some soon,” Automattic representative Mark Armstrong said. WooCommerce has yet to add meta box support and settings pages in Calypso.

Gutenberg, WordPress’ new editor, is also built using React. One of the chief concerns expressed by users and developers is how it will support custom meta boxes built using the current PHP framework.

“I miss a lot of the meta boxes I’m used to seeing on the screen,” Aaron Jorbin said. “Things like Yoast SEO (on some sites) and custom taxonomies are just not shown. If every meta box ever made for WordPress needs to be remade, it sure is going to make developers lives a living hell.”

I want to use Calypso as a replacement for WP-Admin because it’s fast and I like the interface. However, I can’t do that until it supports meta boxes for the plugins I rely on, such as Edit Flow. Is the lack of custom meta box support for Calypso a sign of what’s to come with Gutenberg?

8 Comments


  1. Developers with plugins active on 1M sites or more received an email invitation from Andy Peatling to begin building support for Calypso.

    We did? I don’t remember ever seeing this (UpdraftPlus, passed 1 million installs 6 months ago). Nothing in my email archive.

    Having said that, a search of our support systems shows that no user has ever asked about Calypso support. Only one user has ever mentioned Calypso in any way at all, and that mention was just incidental.

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  2. What is Calypso again? Nobody is using it, and aside from hardcore WordPress fans and Enthusiasts I would assume nobody even tried it.
    PS.: I tried it, but it did not offer for me the level of editing experience to make me shift from the browser. Javascript apps are cool, but I suppose Calypso needs some work.

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  3. This was always going to happen. Automattic tries to direct the WordPress project in ways that those of us who actually use it have no desire to use.

    I’ll laugh when Gutenberg is called “feature complete” and doesn’t support what every WP user relies upon, but it’s what’s going to happen – Automattic doesn’t care, and the WordPress Lead Developers don’t seem to care about the implications it has for the rest of us

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    1. Hmm, sounds like the forced customizer fiasco…

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  4. Is there a public stat on how many non-WP.com WordPress sites actually use (regurlay, not just install/connect once) Calypso? Based on my experience with friends and clients it’s got to be trivially low.

    Calypso is cool for WP.com but it’s near useless outside that for the same reasons (plugins, custom fields, custom post types).

    We need a Calypso alternative that treats customization as a first class feature. That means “just works” with the existing code base, not “well you can now write a bunch of code to support a tiny minority of users”.

    Gutenberg (which I think is an awesome exploration, but currently 0.3.0 entirely unusable for real use) should learn from this.

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  5. I wish someday, that people will stop giving the black/grey hattery SEO boost to “Yoast SEO” as “WordPress SEO.” Like how did it get to this point that people who write forget this? Not calling you out as the only one who writes the name incorrect but the community needs to get aware.

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  6. I wonder what would developers think when one considers that a new editor/builder is on its way (Gutenberg) with all the hard work that will require to adapt and maintain plugins and themes to be fully compatible with it, knowing that Calypso itself would need just the very same hard work to make it compatible with Gutenberg, or even irrelevant once Gutenberg becomes a properly “stable” standard within WordPress…?

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  7. Yes calypso is underwhelming and next to useless for anything other than basic content creation.

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