WordPress has long had the ability to schedule content to be published in the future, but it can only make immediate changes to posts that are already published. If you want to schedule changes to published content, a plugin is necessary. Corey McKrill, a full-time sponsored contributor to the WordPress.org Meta team, has developed a plugin, with the help of contributor Steven Dufresnethat, which is now in use on WordPress.org.
Revisions Extended allows users to schedule revisions, or updates, for posts that have already been published. It extends WordPress’ revision system to include a “future” post status as a revision post type. McKrill recorded a gif to demonstrate the UI:
Although there are existing plugins which already perform this functionality, McKrill said they were either inadequate for WordPress.org’s needs or add extra functionality that they don’t need. Revisions Extended supports the following for any post type that supports revisions:
- From the block editor, make changes to an already-published post and schedule those changes to go live at a later date.
- In the block editor UI as well as other admin screens, indicate when a post has a scheduled update.
- View a list of all scheduled updates
- Delete a scheduled update or trash/unpublish a post with a scheduled update
- Edit scheduled updates, including the content and the future publish date.
- Compare scheduled update content to the current published content.
The ability to schedule updates is especially useful for ensuring that software documentation is updated when a new release is available or when API changes go into effect.
The plugin entered the testing phase in March and is now used on multiple sites across the WordPress.org network. It makes it easier to schedule updates to lesson plans on the Learn WordPress site after a new version of WordPress is released. It also makes updates to HelpHub and DevHub more efficient.
“If you need to schedule updates for published WordPress post/page/CPT without changing what’s already published (nor switching to draft), this is something we recently started using at the WordPress Docs Team and it’s a game changer,” contributor Milana Cap said.
Revisions Extended is currently being developed on GitHub. McKrill said it may be be submitted to the official plugin directory someday when it is more ready for that level of exposure.
“It’s a possibility,” McKrill said. “There’s a bit more functionality I think should be added first, namely the ability to create updates in a ‘draft or ‘pending’ status to go alongside the current ‘future’ status. Adding it to the plugin directory would allow a lot more people to try it out and give feedback, but it might also greatly increase the support and maintenance burden. So that has to be part of the calculation when deciding if/when to add it.”
McKrill believes Revisions Extended could be a useful addition to core but there is not currently an active plan to bring it into WordPress.
“Something like this might get traction during Gutenberg Phase 3, which will focus on collaboration tools,” McKrill said.
For now, those who are interested to use Revisions Extended can download it and/or contribute to its development on GitHub.