This post originally appeared on the WP-CLI blog.

Last November, I published a Kickstarter, and was completely blown away by the support. This month, the funding ran out, so I thought I’d post one last RESTful WP-CLI update.

Actually, the story doesn’t end here. I’m writing a massive retrospective post about using Kickstarter to fund open source, so keep an eye out for that. Also, WP-CLI v0.24.0 is due out a week from now, July 27th, and it’s looking to be the largest release ever. When you do a Kickstarter, it’s really just the beginning of something bigger.

Enough with the superlatives, let’s dive into some new features. Remember: RESTful WP-CLI features require under the hood changes to WP-CLI. You’ll want to wp cli update --nightly to play with this new functionality locally. Once you’ve done so, you can wp package install wp-cli/restful to install the latest.

Effortlessly use WP-CLI against any WordPress install

WP-CLI aliases are shortcuts you register in your wp-cli.yml or config.yml to effortlessly run commands against any WordPress install.

For instance, if I’m working locally on the runcommand theme, have registered a new rewrite rule, and need to flush rewrites inside my Vagrant-based virtual machine, I can run:

$ wp @dev rewrite flush
Success: Rewrite rules flushed.

Then, once the code goes to production, I can run:

$ wp @prod rewrite flush
Success: Rewrite rules flushed.

Look ma! No more SSH’ing into machines, changing directories, and generally spending a full minute to get to a given WordPress install.

Additionally, alias groups let you register groups of aliases. If I want to run a command against both runcommand WordPress instances, I can use @both:

$ wp @both core check-update
Success: WordPress is at the latest version.
Success: WordPress is at the latest version.

Aliases can be registered in your project’s wp-cli.yml file, or your user’s global ~/.wp-cli/config.yml file:

@prod:
  ssh: [email protected]~/webapps/production
@dev:
  ssh: [email protected]/srv/www/runcommand.dev
@both:
  - @prod
  - @dev

But wait, what’s the ‘ssh’ in there?

WP-CLI now natively supports a --ssh=<host> global parameter for running a command against a remote WordPress install. Many thanks to XWP and their community for paving the way with WP-CLI SSH.

Under the hood, WP-CLI proxies commands to the ssh executable, which then passes them to WP-CLI installed on the remote machine. Your syntax for -ssh=<host> can be any of the following:

  • Just the host (e.g. wp --ssh=runcommand.io), which means the user will be inferred from your current system user, and the path will be the SSH user’s home directory.
  • The user and the host (e.g. wp [email protected]).
  • The user, the host, and the path to the WordPress install (e.g. wp [email protected]~/webapps/production). The path comes immediately after the TLD of the host.

Or, if you use a ~/.ssh/config, <host> can be any host alias stored in the SSH config (e.g. wp --ssh=rc for me).

Note you do need a copy of WP-CLI on the remote server, accessible as wp. Futhermore, --ssh=<host> won’t load your .bash_profile if you have a shell alias defined, or are extending the $PATH environment variable. If this affects you, here’s a more thorough explanation of how you can make wp accessible.

RESTful WP-CLI v0.2.0 and beyond

Today marks the release of RESTful WP-CLI v0.2.0. Among 43 closed issues and pull requests, I’d like to highlight two new features.

First, use wp rest (post|user|comment|*) generate to create an arbitrary number of any resource:

$ wp @wpdev rest post generate --count=50 --title="Test Post"
Generating items  100% [==============================================] 0:01 / 0:02

When working on a site locally, you often need dummy content to work with. There are a myriad of ways custom post types can store data in the database though, so generating dummy content can be a painstaking process. Because the WP REST API represents a layer of abstraction between the client (e.g. WP-CLI in this case) and the database, it’s much easier to produce a general purpose content generation command.

In the future, I’d love to see dummy data generated for each field based on the resource schema.

Second, use wp rest (post|user|comment|*) diff to compare resources between two enviroments:

# "command" isn't a typo in this example; "command" is a content type expressed through the WP REST API on runcommand.io
$ wp @dev rest command diff @prod find-unused-themes --fields=title
(-) http://runcommand.dev/api/ (+) https://runcommand.io/api/
  command:
  + title: find-unused-themes

When working with multiple WordPress environments, you may want to know how these environments differ. Because the WP REST API represents a higher-level abstraction on top of WordPress, computing the difference between two environments becomes a matter of fetching the data and producing a comparison.

There are a number of ways the diff command could be improved, so consider this implementation to be the prototype.

What’s next?

More immediately, I’d like to start looking at how well RESTful WP-CLI works with plugins and themes. If you’ve written custom endpoints for the WP REST API, please weigh in on this Github issue so I can check it out.

Ultimately, the goal is for wp rest post to replace wp post, but there are many months between here and there. In this future where WP-CLI packages are first-class citizens amongst the commands in WP-CLI core, RESTful WP-CLI gets to serve as a testbed for figuring out how that actually works. We shall see, we shall see.

As always, thanks for your support!

Hand Built is Daniel Bachhuber, an effective developer with technology leadership you can trust.

How can I help?

Hit me at [email protected] with a short note about what you'd like to do.

My roots are WordPress and publishing, and I love pretty much everything related to web development (architecture, performance, security, etc.). When not working with clients, I also maintain WP-CLI (WordPress' command line interface) and other open source projects.