WebP, a picture format developed by Google, which is meant to exchange JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats, will soon be generated by default for brand new JPEG image uploads in WordPress and used for website content. The fundamental work for this feature was committed to core for inclusion within the upcoming WordPress 6.1 release.
The initial proposal was revised after significant critical feedback. Probably the most notable changes include robotically generating WebP versions of only core image sizes, keeping secondary (WebP) sub-sizes only in the event that they are smaller than the first MIME type, and only generating WebP images for image sizes which might be intended to be used in user-facing front-end content.
Despite a raft of revisions, and filters to manage or disable WebP uploads, the proposal remained controversial. Contributors proceed to report issues after testing. Many still have reservations about whether this must be opt-in or on by default.
“When converting medium-resolution photographs (approx 1600px – 2500px on the long edge), WebP files are sometimes larger than the JPEG equivalent,” WordPress developer Mark Howells-Mead commented on the fundamental ticket for WebP work. “(In my tests using my very own photography, in around 60% of cases.) This transformation might make the ‘modern image format’ test of Page Speed Insights joyful, but enforcing WebP by default on sites which use plenty of photography will often cause longer image loading times.”
Some developers are supportive of the change but prefer for it to be off by default when it’s first rolled out, to permit the ecosystem to arrange for the change.
“I definitely see it as an enormous advantage so as to add Core support for added MIME types for sub-sized image files,” Matthias Reinholz said. “But I can’t see adding conversion to a particular other file format as preferred behavior. This may increasingly help to optimize the market position of WebP but it can even be a serious threat to plugin authors and existing larger web sites that don’t listen to this alteration.
“Due to this fact, I’m questioning why this functionality must be activated by default at this stage. IMHO, it must be opt-in only. Plus ideally, we’d already begin to take into consideration adding further image formats to be supported by this feature.”
NerdPress founder Andrew Wilder created a separate ticket urging contributors to contemplate making the feature opt-in, however the ticket was closed and conversation directed back to the fundamental ticket in order to not splinter the discussion.
“Making these recent features opt-in as a substitute of opt-out could be the perfect method to be cautious about potential impacts,” Wilder said.
“There have been many requests for this to be opt-in (in addition to some asking for a setting on the Media page, slightly than only a filter for developers). To date there hasn’t been any open conversation about why that’s not being considered.”
The notion that WebP by default must be opt-in was summarily dismissed and the conversation was not revisited before the changes were committed.
“The feature may have widespread advantages for users by opting in core sizes (to begin) – if it were entirely opt-in it could have little impact – or profit,” Google-sponsored Core Committer Adam Silverstein said in response to opponents.
In response to suggestions that this feature ship with a UI for enabling it on the media page, Silverstein said, “Now we have discussed each suggestions in chats and issues with mixed responses. Project philosophy is frequently mentioned as aligning with the present approach.”
The ticket stays open awaiting patches for a number of loose threads on the technical implementation. Contributors have continued to chime in with additional concerns.
The Performance team has a recent blog where people can follow updates on their current projects and proposals. Now that the fundamental WebP work has been committed, the following steps will discussed in future meetings with notes posted to the brand new Core Performance blog.
Category: News, WordPress