Finally, stable release for version 6.0 is here, bringing a lot of changes, new features, improvements, and fixes. This version represents the biggest change to the plugin since version 3.0 was released back in 2014.
Version 5.8 was released back in September 2019, and since then, the plugin had a lot of minor releases, and this was the longest period without the major releases since the plugin was first released. But, all that time was used to better understand how to move forward, and how to improve the plugin to make it easier for the website administrator to utilize a large number of included features.
In two weeks, the plugin will be 8 years old, sharing the birthday date with WordPress.
Version 6.0 has two significant components: starting with the plugin rewrite to use reorganized code with namespacing and autoloading, and full reorganization of plugin features. This version rewrites about 50% of the plugin, and this process will continue with the next few versions leading to version 7.0 with remaining parts of the plugin updated in stages. A newly updated code is more comfortable to follow, better optimized, and it improves the performance of the plugin.
But, the most significant change is the new panel called Features. Most of the plugin features have been reorganized, and now, there are 37 features on the new Features panel, five are always active, the rest can be enabled or disabled.
Because of this, finding specific plugin features is much easier and faster. Information about most of the features has been expanded and updated, some features have new options available. And, there are few completely new features added for this version. As for other settings, panels for Attachments, Views, and BBCode settings are now gone and merged with the main Settings panel.
The new plugin version has a very long changelog that details all the changes in this release, including bugs fixed. To get the full list, check out the official plugin changelog page. And, check the YouTube playlist for videos related to the 6.0 version.
I would like to mention some of the most important new features.
The plugin has Rich Snippets Feature that can enhance bbPress breadcrumbs with JSON-LD formatted breadcrumbs rich snippet, and topics can have DiscussionForumPosting rich snippet that includes a lot of information search engines can use.
Widgets for topic and forum information now have two additional templates available with the icons to enhance the way the information is presented. New Feature called Rewriter allows you to change URL for topics and replies to include full forums hierarchy. This feature can also remove some rewrite rules from the URL structures created for forums, topics, and replies. Plugin JS and CSS files loading have been rebuilt completely, and files are registered prior to loading, making it easier to control, and the auto enqueue works much better.
As for the updates, there are many things removed from this version: obsolete tools, deprecated methods, and functions, various outdated settings, some duplicated settings too. Version 6.0 also fixes a lot of bugs, with widgets, locking of forums, setup wizards, numerous typos, and many more issues. This plugin version includes a lot of changes to the translation strings, too, with more context involved to help translators.
Before you upgrade to the new 6.0 version, make sure to check out the upgrade guide in the knowledge base: Upgrade to plugin version 6.0. Also, check out the updated plugin knowledge base with more new videos about the plugin changes and features.
And, even with all the testing done over the past two weeks, I still expect bugs to be found once a lot more users install the update. Dev4Press Support website is running an updated plugin for the last 3 days, and so far, it has been fine, with few minor issues fixed on the spot. If you want to be extra sure with this update, test the update on the staging website first.