November 10, 2023: A round-up of recent Newspack hotfixes

Normally at Newspack, we plan and release updates to our plugins and themes every two weeks. These updates are run through an internal review process (as early “alpha” versions of the changes), and then released to all Newspack sites once they have been approved.

However, it’s sometimes necessary for us to put together quick “hotfix” releases. These releases have a much shorter turn around time, and aren’t put out on a fixed schedule — they’re created as needed. Hotfixes typically address urgent issues that either we have discovered, or that have been reported by you, our publishers.

Since they’re released outside of our usual process, hotfix releases don’t typically end up documented on this site. This post acts as a supplementary version of our usual Release Notes, and shares information about the hotfixes that we’ve released since the beginning of October. Going forward, we plan to include these updates in the regular Release Notes post that follows any hotfix so they are visible.

Newspack Plugin

Redirect non-readers to WordPress login

The default password reset flow with WooCommerce redirects the user to the /my-account page. Because we replace the authentication form on that page with a flow that is restricted to reader accounts only, non-readers would get stuck in a form they couldn’t use after a password reset.

Release 2.10.3 redirects non-readers to the regular /wp-login.php page after a password reset.

Restore method used by our migration scripts

Release 2.10.2 restored some code that was accidentally removed in an earlier release. This code turned out to be needed by our migration scripts.

Make sure Last Payment Date is sent to ActiveCampaign

Release 2.10.1 fixed an issue with syncing the ‘Last Payment Date’ field to ActiveCampaign. It was released as a hotfix because it was affecting live site’s automations. The way it was set up originally had the payment sync to AC before it was actually run on the WooCommerce side, so the payment date was always empty.

With this fix, the last payment date is successfully sent to ActiveCampaign.

Tweak how the Credit field is searched in the Media Library

Release 2.8.1 and 2.8.2 refactor the code made the Credit field searchable in the Media Library. The original approach could conflict with other plugins that also altered the Media Library search query. One example publishers ran into was issues with Jetpack’s VideoPress – if it was active on a site, the Media Library search wouldn’t work at all. 

Register webhook hooks early for Newsletters

Release 2.7.5 was created to pair with a hotfix in the Newspack Newsletters plugin. The overall Newsletters fix was to “lighten up” how we are handling pixel and click tracking in Newsletters, to improve performance. Please see the Newsletters 2.4.2 hotfix release for more details.

Fix ‘Unrecoverable Error’ on the Newspack SEO, Connections screens

Release 2.7.4 removed a package of third-party code that started throwing errors. It caused the SEO screen in the Newspack plugin to display an ‘Unrecoverable Error’ popup, and an API error on the Connections screen. This code was not recently updated, so it seemed best to remove it so it wouldn’t cause further issues.

Newspack Blocks

Always show emails in order summaries

Release 1.75.5 included a fix to the 1.75.4 hotfix, to make sure the email address was actually displayed with the modal checkout’s order summary.

Fix placeholder rendering issue for the Homepage Posts block in WordPress 6.4

One of our few WordPress 6.4 fixes was also included in release 1.75.5, to fix a placeholder rendering issue with the Homepage Posts block. It turned out our original approach relied on a bug in Gutenberg that was fixed in WordPress 6.4. This update made sure publishers had a smooth experience with the block after the WordPress update.

Fix discrepancy in the modal checkout “Thank You” message

Release 1.75.4 fixed a long-running discrepancy in the “thank you” template shown to donors who use an email address that’s already associated with a user account (e.g. someone who makes multiple donations or a donation while logged out after having signed up or registered before).

Make sure the checkout modal updates to show coupons

Release 1.75.2 fixed a regression where the Order Details were hidden in the modal checkout template. Because of this issue, coupons that were applied to the checkout weren’t actually being displayed. With this fix, the modal will now update to display coupons.

Reset Donate Block “Other” value when switching tiers

In the 1.75.3 release, we fixed an issue where if a user entered an invalid value in the “Other” field on the Donate Block, then switched tiers and tried to make a donation, the form would still fail to submit because of that invalid value. This update clears the “Other” field when the block’s tier is switched, so users aren’t left fighting hidden invalid fields.

Newspack Theme

Add ‘script’ and ‘style’ to the theme’s supported HTML5 options

After the WordPress 6.4 release, we received reports that the WordPress Popular Posts plugin stopped working on a publisher site. It turned out this was caused by the HTML5 support missing arguments to support ‘script’, an option added in WordPress 5.3 — without it, the JavaScript added by the plugin ended up malformed and didn’t work. The 1.79.1 release of the theme updates the HTML5 support to include both ‘script’ and ‘style’, fixing this issue.

Newspack Newsletters

Remove options clearing to improve performance

Release 2.4.2 addressed a performance issue for Newsletters by removing the code that would delete options from the object cache regularly. This code was originally added to try to work around the persistent object cache bug we’ve been battling, but it unfortunately caused some site speed issues.

Make sure ads can expire

Release 2.4.1 fixed a bug with Newsletter Ads that wouldn’t expire; originally the code would always render an ad if it has a valid start date. Now, ads will expire as scheduled.

Prevent errors from the pixel tracking

Release 2.2.1 doesn’t change how the newsletter pixel tracking behaves, but it made a tweak to how the tracking pixel was rendered, to prevent the code from throwing errors.

Tweak the pixel tracking

Release 2.1.4 made some improvements to the performance of the newsletter tracking, by processing the pixel requests in batches.

Newspack Ads

Handle missing ad unit ‘path’

Release 1.44.6 suppressed an error that would be thrown when cached ad units didn’t include the path property. This error didn’t cause any issues on the front-end, but it ended up spamming the error logs, making other issues harder to spot.

Next release cycle

Our next regular release is scheduled for the week of November 13. Until next time,

– The Newspack Product team