Test New WordPress Features Without Installing Anything via TryWPBeta

Over the weekend at WordCamp Portland, Oregon, Drew Jaynes, a WordPress core developer who also led the 4.2 development cycle presented on the topic of beta testing WordPress.

In the presentation, Jaynes highlights the pros and cons of using the WordPress Beta Testing plugin on a testing site and a production site. However, he also cites a third way to test WordPress via TryWPBeta.com.

Trying Out Tomorrow’s WordPress Today from DrewAPicture

TryWPBeta is a locked down, vanilla install of WordPress trunk using Multisite. To login to the site, use the following credentials.

  • Username: wcpdx
  • Password: wcpdx15

I asked Jaynes what inspired him to create the site, “The inspiration for TryWPBeta is to actually have a place for core contributors to test patches on mobile devices, because setting up a tunnel to a local development setup is difficult and a high barrier for a lot of people.”

The idea is to make it possible to spin up a site using trunk (Bleeding edge version of WordPress), apply a specific patch and then freeze it in time so that we can point people there to test on mobile devices,” Jaynes told the Tavern.

While you can’t install themes and plugins yet, the site gives users an opportunity to test new features without worrying about breaking the site. Thanks to TryWPBeta, I was able to test the new Post oEmbed feature in 4.4.

Testing oEmbeds of Posts
Testing oEmbeds of Posts

Jaynes started the project at 10up’s company summit. So far, Scott Reilly, John Blackbourn, Zach Brown, Morgan Estes, and Chris Weigman have contributed to the project. The site is hosted on a DigitalOcean droplet and updates hourly. He stresses that the site is a work in progress and not quite ready for prime time, “There’s a couple features I’d like to add to make it more robust first,” Jaynes said.

Unlike Joomla, WordPress doesn’t have a dedicated demo site for users to test drive the software. While I like the idea behind TryWPBeta, there are a few things I’d like to see added to make it more useful. For instance, a list of items to test that users can check off. Also, an easy way to provide feedback on the listed items that is sent to a place where core developers will read it.

Ultimately, I’d like to see the WordPress Beta Testing plugin extended to have the features I mentioned above. Between the communication challenges and setting up the environment, the beta testing process in WordPress is not as easy and streamlined as it could be. What ideas do you have that would help increase the testing audience and make the process easier?


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