VersionPress Aims To Bring Version Control To The Masses

When WordPress 3.7 introduced automatic updates, a segment of users pushed back arguing they should be opt-in instead of opt-out. The main concern being that a website administrator wouldn’t have any time to test the update to make sure it doesn’t break anything. Several users said they would be fine with automatic updates if there was an easy way to roll-back to an earlier version if it caused problems. Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t have a way to easily roll back updates.

Two individuals are working together to bring easy, WordPress version control, to the masses. The project is called VersionPress and is being spearheaded by two software developers in the Czech Republic, Borek Bernard and Jan Voráček.

Concept Image For Version Control
Image Showing The Prototype Of VersionPress In Action

According to the home page for the project, VersionPress is a version control plugin for WordPress. It keeps the whole site in a Git repository enabling things like site-wide reverts, safe updates, and easy staging.

A Few Of The Features Of VersionPress
A Few Of The Features Of VersionPress

Bernard and Voráček are taking the crowd funding approach to not only raise the funds necessary to develop the plugin, but to gauge interest. I asked Bernard, if the project doesn’t reach its goal of $30k by the end of June will they continue to develop the plugin? “If the funding goal is not reached, it will depend on things like what was the overall feedback and what percentage of the funding goal we reached. We’ll do everything to build it but we’ll certainly need help.” he replied.

Details Of The Crowdfunding Campaign

The team has not decided on whether the plugin will be available for free or for a price. However, starting with the $20 donation, you’ll be given a working copy of the plugin when it’s finished along with a single-site license. This way, if it turns out to be a commercial plugin, donators will have already paid the price. Donation amounts range from $5 to $10,000 with different perks at each level. The campaign is only 6% funded ($1,750) with 17 days left to go. If the total amount of funds are not reached by the end of the campaign, all funds will be returned.

This Could Be The Next Big Thing

While I haven’t had access to the prototype and haven’t seen the plugin in action, the ideas and features presented on the page are exciting. While there are ways to obtain version control already, they usually involve geek speak and are not user-friendly. In a perfect world, every site built with WordPress has version control.

I’d love to see this project funded to see how it turns out not only to obtain a full working copy of the plugin, but to see the implementation and UI elements. At some point in the future, I think WordPress will have core functionality for snapshots or version control. VersionPress could be a great real-world experiment for how it could work in core.

If VersionPress interests you, be sure to read the homepage which provides more information about the campaign. If you have any questions about the campaign or project, you can leave them in the comments or use the contact form at the bottom of the homepage.

9 Comments


  1. I’m curious to see how this would work in a Local -> Dev -> Production environment and how it handles (if it can) more complex version control functionality.

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    1. Hi Luke, the UI for staging and related features is not finalized yet. Currently, it is just something that we know is technically possible and we’ll try to make it as user friendly as possible, as with the rest of VersionPress.

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  2. The question about open source licensing needs to be addressed before taking money from people who will assume that, just like WordPress and most of its ecosystem, it will be delivered with a GPL-compatible license. If you plan on whipping up some weird and proprietary hybrid/closed source model, you need to tell people now.

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      1. Thanks for the post, Borek. It doesn’t really say anything new though. I think you’re equating GPL licensing with free cost, and that doesn’t have to be the case. Regardless of cost, people want to know the licensing terms the source code will be released under.

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      2. Thanks, John. We hear you and other people loud and clear and will get it sorted. Please give us some more time, hopefully not too much. Thanks again.

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  3. Read the blog post and not convinced. This plugin will depend on a lot of Free Software so surely it should be GPL licensed too. Why not take the Gravity forms approach and sell support?

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    1. Hi Rob, Gravity Forms is a good example and we’re looking into it. Just note that they don’t sell just the support – they also sell the plugin itself and there’s not way to obtain the plugin for free from them. That’s of course totally ok, I just thought I’d mention that.

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