[wp-trac] [WordPress Trac] #31779: Warn users before using a built-in file editor for the first time

WordPress Trac noreply at wordpress.org
Tue Apr 7 22:11:08 UTC 2015

#31779: Warn users before using a built-in file editor for the first time
 Reporter:  helen        |       Owner:
     Type:  enhancement  |      Status:  new
 Priority:  normal       |   Milestone:  Awaiting Review
Component:  Editor       |     Version:
 Severity:  normal       |  Resolution:
 Keywords:               |     Focuses:  ui, administration

Comment (by magicroundabout):

 I'm all up for education, but I'm still not hearing a convincing argument
 for keeping these features.  There are better ways of learning the web
 these days - CodeAcademy, etc. My opinion would be that editing a PHP file
 where an incorrectly-placed piece of syntax white-screens your site so
 that you need to learn to use FTP anyway isn't a great way to learn to
 code. It's actually pretty frustrating.

 Blogger let you use a templating language with tags, from what I remember.
 So these things aren't equivalent.  The problem with the WordPress editor
 is that it lets you edit and create PHP.

 A learning to code feature would be better on WordPress.com, but
 WordPress.com doesn't let me edit PHP files does it? I've never gone
 premium, but from what I can tell it only lets users edit CSS, which I
 think is an awesome idea - we should allow that, and there are good
 plugins (including JetPack) that let us do it.  I'd love to see a built-in
 CSS editor.

 But for WordPress.org? I'd say that by the time you've bought a domain,
 got a hosting package, logged into a cPanel or whatever and installed
 WordPress, you may as well have learned how to use FTP as well.  Given
 that if you're editing code you'll probably end up white-screening anyway
 and needing FTP to recover, is it not better to teach people the
 FTP/control panel skills up front so they're not learning it in "ARGH MY
 BLOG IS DOWN" crisis mode?  You could even teach them FTP by instructing
 them in how to add the "ALLOW_FILE_EDITORS" constant to wp-config.php?

 In fact, the installation instructions for WordPress say:

   Before you begin the install, there are a few things you need to have
 and do. These are:
   '''Access to your web server (via shell or FTP)'''
   A text editor
   '''An FTP Client'''
   Your web browser of choice

 And if you're not doing it that way then you're using an installer in a
 hosting control panel where you probably have a file manager anyway, which
 is going to be a better experience than the theme/plugin editors.

 I get what you're saying, I really do. But I just feel like these editors
 are a hinderance, even to people who want to learn to code and tinker with
 their site.

 I'd definitely not say "do away with all ability to customise your site",
 I'm sure there are creative solutions to allow people that facility and
 I'd love to see them discussed. Could we add a PHP linter? Or some means
 of validating/sanitizing code.  But the ability to add PHP in an un-
 sanitized manner is dangerous and I'd like to see it removed.

Ticket URL: <https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/31779#comment:7>
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