[wp-hackers] post format types

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at newclarity.net
Thu Jan 6 22:04:55 UTC 2011

On the topic of Post Formats:

I'm probably past the flash point on this one, but as somebody who has had some likely infamous heated debates with Otto and someone who usually pushes for more features and extensibility I gotta say I'm 100% with Otto on this issue.  I'm sure some of you will either find this either ironic or at least humorous. :)

What Otto said: the functionality Post Formats provide can easily be duplicated with a custom taxonomy and a custom metabox. The real value of Post Formats then is standardization like how Apple has standardized the iPod/iPhone/iPad connector. A commercial add-on product for an iThing that had some other way to connect would get little traction and just annoy the people who bought it. Same is true for Post Formats.

I can almost feel their pain; the WP team envisioned Post Formats to address a specific need (extending common functionality across the community to be on par with Tumblr, et. al.) yet because we in the WordPress community are so use to WP's legendary extensibility we immediately assume that everything added to WP will be better if extensible. That was my first reaction with Post Formats too, but then I realized what they were trying to achieve. 

With so many people (not just in this thread) claiming Post Formats to be still-borne if the can extend them I can just hear the WP members venting over the misunderstood reaction. (Maybe I'm especially sensitive to this because I'm working on something with a few others that once released will probably receive lots of misunderstood reaction. Here's hoping when we launch everyone will take a deep breath before making assumptions. :-)

But beyond pontification on Post Formats I have these 3 suggestions to add:

1.) An edit to Brian Layman's change, from "New formats cannot be introduced" to "The list of Post Formats is not extensible in order to encourage standardization but if a demand appears for new Post Formats WordPress may add them in future releases", or something to that effect.

2.) I haven't worked with v3.1 much yet so this may already be handled but it would really help the benefits of this standardization sink in for theme vendors and provide some tangible benefit to the standardization if there was a new theme file header[1] called "Post Formats" where the theme vendor could include a comma separated list of supported Post Formats. That would allow the theme repository to let people search for themes by the formats they introduce and that could also give warnings to end users who may consider switching to a theme that doesn't support one of the formats they are currently using.

3.) While it's easier for me and other developers to add custom metaboxes not all themers are as comfortable with WordPress hooks and PHP. Offering a higher level API that actually would make it easier to add taxonomy-based metaboxes with custom labels and single selections with either a drop down or radio buttons might help to blunt the criticism that Post Formats are not extensible and make the suggestion for an alternate more palatable. FWIW.

Hope this helps.


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