Press This Removed from WordPress 4.9 in Favor of a Plugin

photo credit: matt-artz Tools. 2015(license)

Press This, a tool that allowed users to quickly clip and publish content from web pages, is set to be removed from WordPress’ upcoming 4.9 release. The feature is being retired and will live out its remaining days as a canonical plugin.

WordPress contributors opted to make a clean break by completely removing Press This and its supporting functions from core. After 4.9 is released, users visiting wp-admin/press-this.php will be prompted to install the plugin from WordPress.org.

A revamped version of Press This landed in WordPress 4.2, released two years ago. Contributors had been talking about switching it to use the REST API instead of admin-ajax since the 2014 redesign of the bookmarklet. This update is still on the plugin’s roadmap for anyone interested in contributing to its development.

“Following the importers and the link manager, it’s about time to say goodbye to Press This,” WordPress lead developer Andrew Ozz said in a ticket proposing the feature’s retirement. “Bookmarklets were popular seven – eight years ago, and now are considered mostly ‘old tech.’ The Press This usage was dwindling for the last several years. Currently it is at under 0.2% of the wp-admin requests (as far as I can tell). It seems best to extract it from core to a plugin, similarly to the importers.”

What Use is Press This without the Bookmarklet?

Development on Press This’ accompanying bookmarklet feature has also been discontinued. Older bookmarklets will not work with the new canonical plugin.

“Usage of bookmarklets across the web has decreased significantly and bad actors attempting to trick users to preform unsavory actions increased over the years,” Brandon Kraft said in a post announcing Press This’ retirement. “Coupled with advancing toward a new editing in experience in core, we decided it was a suitable time to make these changes in one swift move.”

Heavy users of Press This might wonder what the feature is worth without the bookmarklet. Posting through the interface will now require more copying and pasting. The URL scanning remains, but it’s not as efficient as highlighting a portion of text on a page and clicking on the bookmarklet to auto-populate a new post in WordPress. This change makes the plugin simpler to maintain but removes the time-saving feature that made Press This feel like magic.

“With the rise of bad actors attempting to trick folks to entering their credentials via phishing attempts, I removed the functionality in an effort to not promote requesting credentials after firing off JavaScript on a random site,” Kraft said. “To set expectations, I am not foreseeing a change in this decision; however, I support continued conversation and dialogue.”

Kraft opened a GitHub issue on the plugin’s new repository to centralize any discussion regarding restoring the bookmarklet functionality.

Any plugin authors who have extended Press This will need to update their plugins with a check for plugin availability as demonstrated in wp-admin/press-this.php.

19 Comments


  1. “Well gosh, nobody asked me!”

    Seems like we’re making it harder to create content in WordPress. I use Press This quite a bit and, I like it.

    I’ve tried Gutenburg 1.6 too and it seems not that much better than the current editor. We STILL have to go back and forth to and from the frontend to view how the post will really appear.

    Eliminating all backend editing will definitely improve WordPress!

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    1. Most people don’t use it and if you do need it install the plugin. The bookmark issue needs more clarification though.

      Broadly is a great move and should be followed by plenty of other “features”.
      However surely

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      1. There needs to be a bookmarklet version of this plugin. Understand the need for security, but… at least hide that piece of functionality with forward compatibility somewhere on Github or something? I would have been dead in the water with an entire concept if that piece of functionality didn’t exist.

        https://github.com/flexseth/press-this-for-the-events-calendar
        Here’s an add-on I made to be able to easily add events to an event calendar with that bookmarklet. I would pull social graphics from Facebook and quick add the event details.

        I understand completely de-coupling it from core, but I’d argue that the Press This bookmarklet was… well that’s what it was! hah. It was a bookmarklet….

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  2. This is both surprising due to how recently it was updated which I remember an article on here that got a lot of comments thinking it was plugin territory. But then not too surprising for the exact reason they mentioned being not used by a large amount of users anymore. Which then makes me wonder if they use the same tracking they did for this 0.2% before updating it 2 years ago what the results were or would have been if they weren’t tracking the same then. Also wonder how many plugins use functions of “Press This” or extend as mentioned.

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  3. Good news for a change! This tool was clearly plugin territory from the beginning. Now, I no longer have to explain to clients what that thing is! I hope that the next tool to go away from core is Post by Email.

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  4. Surprised by this, in a negative way. We’re in the sharing and curation age and Press This is a perfect tool to quickly gather and share information. When I read ”as far as I can tell” it seems that this is a wild guess and not based on any evidence. Anyone any alternative to Press This?

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    1. The share article plugin carries out a similar function.

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    2. @Jee – An alternative is unnecessary since you’ll be able to simply continue using the Press This functionality as a plugin unless you’re actually asking / looking for something unofficial that does the same thing better?

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      1. How is it the same functionality? The feature that made it work was the bookmarklet, otherwise it’s just a blockquote macro that adds a page URL for the source. Hence why the article clearly says “This change makes the plugin simpler to maintain but removes the time-saving feature that made Press This feel like magic.” Exactly, no time-saving, no functionality, no plugin.

        The Share Article is perfect example of not the same at all — in both cases, you basically have to copy and paste the text manually now. If that’s the case, how does the plugin help at all, particulalry if in the case of Share Article it just takes the first para, i.e. not customizable.

        I sent the post to a guy with a pretty active website that uses a similar function pretty EXTENSIVELY (i.e. his site is a curation type site that reviews articles in a narrow niche, excerpts them, and puts a link back to the original). I think he’s doing all of it with Press This. If it’s gone, that’s major, particularly given the number of hits he gets a day and if he is reduced to doing it all manually.

        PolyWogg

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  5. I have never used it but it does sound it belongs to the plugin category. Thanks for the headsup.

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  6. Oh wow.

    Today I discovered Press This was still in wordpress. I thought they removed that back 4 or 5 years ago.

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    1. They removed the Link Manager which also had a simple built in bookmarklet. You might be thinking of that.

      I use the Restore Lost Functionality plugin for links now. He added the bookmarklet too. Might do the same for PressThis.

      https://wordpress.org/plugins/restore-lost-functionality/

      WP is really becoming software for developers only. I keep looking at other CMS which are more publisher friendly. WordPress is losing that.

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  7. WordPress is a really great blogging platform that has very few limits for whatever you might want to do with your blog. If you can think of it, chances are it’s possible to create and manage using WordPress.

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  8. 10+ years using WordPress on multiple sites and I have never used Press This once.

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    1. Good for you. I can name about 50-100 core features that some people use daily that I never ever use too.

      But in this case it means one of two things:

      a. You never quote anything from another site; or,

      b. If you do quote, you’re doing it all manually instead of actually using a quick built in macro that would do it for you, and that includes a direct citation back to the host.

      P.

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      1. That’s great! Maybe some of those functions should be removed too. Make a list of those 50-100 core features and submit it to the WP devs. I’m sure they’re waiting to hear from you.

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  9. Seems a silly decision when so many sites are using content curation. The bookmarklet made it easy to curate content from other sites and turn it into a full post without having to leave your web browser. I use it a lot.

    However, I have found PressForward, which does have a working bookmarklet (and extra features) for WordPress content curation. I’ve been using PressForward for about two years now and suggest others take a look.

    http://pressforward.org/

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  10. I will never understand user-hostile dev decisiions like this. I used the Press This bookmarklet functionality dozens of times a day.

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