Why post formats should be plugin territory
A thought-provoking piece by Morten Rand-Hendriksen on why post formats belong in a plugin, rather than in WordPress core.
Currently Post Formats themselves remain as a core feature and there is sporadic talk of restarting work on the Post Formats UI. I question it’s valid claim as a core feature and propose a radical shift and a rethink: Redefine post formats and their function, draw up strict guidelines, and move the entire feature into a plugin.
A central piece of Morten’s argument is the question “Should a bloggers-only feature be a core feature in WordPress?” Obviously, he’s arguing that it shouldn’t. I don’t know if I agree with Morten on this, but it is definitely an interesting post, and something that warrants further discussion.
The main thrust of my reply:
I don’t buy the “blogging only” argument. Let’s take that to its logical conclusion: Post Format is simply a taxonomy that is registered only for the “post” post-type. But post_tag and category are also taxonomies that are only registered for the “post” post-type. Should those also be moved to a Plugin? Or how about the entire blogging feature? Should it be moved to a Plugin?
And then a comment that the comments feature should also be moved to a Plugin.
There’s a CMS that takes this approach; it’s called Drupal. Nothing against Drupal, but I don’t think that WordPress needs to emulate its modularized-ad-infinitum design philosophy.
I responded to this on my blog but I’ll do it here as well:
While blog-centric elements like comments, categories, and tags are integral parts of the infrastructure and expected behavior of a blogging platform or CMS, Post Formats is not. Post Formats is a very specific feature you only find on a limited number of platforms, most notably Tumblr (from which the feature was lifted) and WordPress. The feature is not integral to the functioning or use of the application in the same way that comments, categories, and tags are nor does it impede the use of the application were it removed. It is an extraneous feature added on top of necessary ones purely to appeal to a marginal group of users.
Regardless of where Post Formats ends up living the other point of my article – that there is a lot of work to be done in formalizing the output of the feature – stands.
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