Introducing WP Broadbean Version 3

We are shortly releasing a completely new version of the WP Broadbean plugin. The plugin has been completely re-written from scratch and has some cool new stuff and some things current users need to know about. This post outlines the changes.

The WP Broadbean plugin has now been around for nearly 4 years. In fact, it was born on the 19th August 2014 (at 19:36 to be precise!). It has served many users well – there are over 200 active installs of the plugin, according to the WordPress.org plugin page for the plugin.

We felt that the plugin has reached the end of its working life in the current format after all its core code was developed 4 years ago and therefore it was time for a refresh.

What this means for current users

When we first set out developing the new version of the plugin we did so with the intention that we wanted to make the plugin backwards compatible. This would mean the impact for existing users would have been minimal.

However, having started development it became clear that we could make the improvements we wanted to without breaking the backwards compatibility. This was disappointing but necessary to move the plugin forward.

Should I update the plugin from version 2 branch?

If you are currently running a version of the plugin before version 3.0, then we would recommend not upgrading straight away. Updating from version 2.2.4 or below to version 3.0 will break your current integration, and therefore you should not do this without testing first.

We recommend that you update on a test version of your site and then note what needs updating (see below), before making those fixes, perhaps with the help of a developer (we can help too! please get in touch) and then rolling the plugin out to your live site.

Screenshot of the WP Broadbean plugin on WordPress.org
The WP Broadbean plugin on the WordPress.org site as of version 2.2.4

What improvements have been made?

Much of the improvements are in the codebase and are developer changes rather than things a user will see on the website on which the plugin is installed. The main highlights are:

  • Applications are no longer ever stored permanently on your WordPress site. Once they are processed and the application forwarded on to Broadbean they are all removed. This reduces the personal data stored, making things more secure.
  • The application form is now completely extensible. This allows developers to add and remove their own fields more easily should clients want to collect different data than the default form.
  • Improvement to the job fields being used – many of the original fields included where not really used by clients we worked with. Therefore these have been slimmed down but remain extensible to developers. They have also been rendered in a better approach, moving away from a legacy none supported third-party framework called Custom Meta Boxes.
  • Added views to the plugin which are essentially templates allowing developers to override certain views, for example, the application form.
  • Improved the endpoint URL to an actual URL rather than the site’s homepage with a query string attached.

What are the key breaking changes?

As previously mentioned, this version is not backwards compatible with older versions. Therefore if you have had custom developments on your site, completed by another developer, it is likely further work will be needed to port those changes across to the new version. You can, of course, opt to stay on the older version 2 of the plugin.

The list is too long to highlight here in full about what has changed, but you will be able to review all of the different on the version controlled repository on GitHub for the plugin, once version 3 is released shortly.

What is the best way to prevent my site updating to the latest version of the plugin?

If you have auto-updates turned on for plugins, you will want to prevent your site from updating to version 3 of the plugin until you have had a chance to test the site, and inform Broadbean of any changes needed to your sites feed.

There are a few methods available here:

  • Change the version number of your current WP Broadbean plugin to something very high. For example, if you change it to 999, this means when WordPress checks for current plugin version with the existing release, your version will never be less than the current release and an update won’t happen. You can do this in both the plugins readme.txt file and the wpbroadbean.php file in the root of the plugin folder.
  • Use our HD Update Notifications plugin to suppress the updates notifications for a particular plugin. Information can be found over on the Github page linked.

If you do accidentally update to version 3.0 and need to rollback, you can download older versions of the plugin from the advanced tab of the plugin page on WordPress.org.

The future and beyond

We feel the new version is a big step forward and we have some more exciting things coming for the plugin in the form of add-ons. We are currently working on the following add-ons that are all being developed to work with version 3:

  • Job search – to provide a better search form for finding jobs
  • Job expiration – removing jobs from your WordPress site after the required number of “days to advertise”
  • Schema markup – outputting schema markup on the job pages which can be indexed by Google to show your jobs in things like the Google job results pages
  • Gutenberg or block editor blocks for showing, amongst other things, the job information in your page editor
  • Shortcodes – a suite of shortcodes to help with job output.

Thanks so much to those who have used the plugin and don’t forget to get in touch if you have any custom requirements for integrating Broadbean with WordPress.

About the author

Mark is the lead WordPress developer at Highrise Digital. He has been working with WordPress for over 13 years, way back to 2005. He focuses on back-end development, integrating the website build with WordPress so it can be editable.