WordPress 6.2 Openverse Integration Gets a Boost
The latest update to WordPress 6.2’s Openverse integration includes changes prompted by user concerns about image hotlinking. The Openverse feature allows users to quickly and easily insert free, openly-licensed media into their content. However, the default setting for inserting external images through a button in the block toolbar was found to create an extra step in the process that could easily be missed in the user interface.
Several contributors raised concerns about GDPR and privacy issues related to the hotlinking of images. They also noted that hotlinked images could create problems for users who needed to manipulate the images by cropping, rotating, and filtering, as well as for developers who needed to manage site migrations. Some suggested that the feature would be better suited for a canonical plugin that could be more thoroughly tested before being integrated into the core.
One WordPress contributor, Peter Shaw, expressed discomfort with the integration of Openverse into the core, stating that WordPress should avoid external APIs and dependencies whenever possible. He suggested that any external calls should be limited to checking for updates.
While many users appreciate the Openverse service, the updated integration now allows users to upload external images by default, rather than hotlinking them. This change addresses many of the concerns raised by contributors and ensures that images are available on the local server for easier manipulation and management. The updated integration also helps to maintain the integrity and privacy of user content, while still allowing for easy access to a wide range of media resources.
WordPress Contributors Address Concerns Over Openverse Hotlinking, Opt for Sideload as Default
After concerns were raised about the default hotlinking feature in WordPress Openverse, several contributors have called for changes to the feature before shipping it. Yoast founder Joost de Valk stated that if the feature is shipped in its current implementation, it could potentially lead to legal issues for unsuspecting users. He also noted that hotlinking has negative performance implications, making it difficult to use srcset or loading attributes on remotely loaded images. Valk suggested that the default option should be to sideload images instead.
Gutenberg contributor Nik Tsekouras swiftly responded to the issue by submitting a pull request that changes the implementation to upload Openverse images when they are inserted, whenever possible. This ensures that any images inserted from Openverse are uploaded to the site library by default, reducing the likelihood of legal issues and performance problems.
Gutenberg Lead Architect Matias Ventura agreed that sideloading should be the default option, stating that work is ongoing to upload images by default on other actions like pasting, which are not as straightforward or general enough. Tsekouras’ PR was considered to be the most straightforward solution to the issue.
The changes mean that WordPress will now upload any Openverse images by default, instead of hotlinking them. If the images cannot be uploaded to the media library due to CORS issues, WordPress will insert the Image block with the external URL and a warning about legal compliance and privacy issues. These changes help to ensure the integrity of user content, protect their privacy, and improve the performance of the WordPress platform.