2017 had us in a strange situation. First we were not expecting a WordPress release before Gutenberg is ready, but 2017 ended with having two of them. The sudden release of WordPress 4.8 put us in a weird position as we want to have a release for every new WordPress release, but we were totally not ready to release anything (it did not help that I was sick with a variation of nfectious mononucleosis which while far from being life threatening, it just sucks all energy from you). The end result is that we released our “free” 4.8 when WordPress 4.9 was released. Total Face Palm.
On the bright side, 4.8 included a major change to the UI users can use to manage the content and look of the widget. Instead of having many options to control the all specific aspects of the widget, we moved into a much more flexible template based design which IMHO, while it might require a small effort to get used to, brings a much easier UX. So far there are no bug reports relating to breakage resulting for this change.
On the code side we have done a major work to move our code into a better compliance with WordPress coding standards. This helps us utilize some automated code quality checks that hopefully will help us keep producing a high quality working code.
Right now we are working on merging the changes from the “free” plugin into the “pro” one. I hope we will be able to release the “pro” 4.8 in a month time.
We will try to release a 4.9 release for the “free” before WordPress 5.0 is shipped ;). The main feature of the release will be a kind of “load more”/paging functionality. We do not have any final thoughts about the front end UI of this feature, so suggestions are welcome.
On the code side, we find that we have reached the point in which the current code becomes hard to manage effectively and we are going to start splitting the code from one gigantic file into several separate modules.
Looking even further into the future lies the big unknown of Gutenberg. At this point in time it seems like we do not have to do anything to support it as it will convert our shortcode into a shortcode block, but we might need to add an explicit block as Gutenberg will have the tinymce shortcode insertion helper only in a “classic block” which is right now kinda hidden between the other type of blocks.
Once Gutenberg will stabilize enough we will take a look again to figure out the specifics.