WordPress 2.7 will have a whole lot of new features.Weblogtoolscollection has the details on the list of features, that one might see in wordpress 2.7.
List of features:
- comments API
- Admin Panel Comment Replies
- Comment Threading
- Subscribe to Comments
- One Click Plugin Installs
- Default Sitemaps
- Theme Update API
- Widgets for Dashboard and Write Box
- Batch Editing of Posts
- WordPress core updates
- In wordpress 2.7, the focus seem to be on building into the core wordpress, functionalities that we currently enjoy by way of plugins.
- Al lot of those functionalities are to do with comments
- 1. The contributions of several of those brilliant wordpress open source community developers
- 2. Each of those community developers were inturn marketing the benefits of wordpress and spreading its usage. WordPress will loose all those indirect marketing contributions
- 3. WordPress is predominantly used by the blogging community. Keeping the core wordpress lightweight is essential for its widespread adoption. Building in those n number of features would make it too complex and it would eventually loose its simplicity.
- 4. Having those functionalities as plugins would be better as it not only lets the wordpress user to try out alternatives, but also makes it easier to enable or disable them.If a user does not like/want a particular feature, then he could simply turn it off.This would inturn help him to improve the speed and performance of his wordpress site. On integrating them into the core, a wordpress user will loose all those benefits. This was evident from the manner in which features like Post revision/autosave were integrated into the core
In going through the above list of features, the goals/directions of future wordpress versions becomes clearer.
Should the focus be on making wordpress feature rich?
Any product/application vendor will focus on making their product feature rich. But what I liked about wordpress is not its readily available features, but rather its simplicity and modular architecture. WordPress made it easy for the end user to add the desired functionalities as plugins.
The core wordpress had been neatly organized with all the custom features/functionalities grouped under wp-content as plugins and themes.The core wordpress focussed on providing administrative features/functionalities.
To me, the main attraction of wordpress was its lightweight core and its modular and simple architecture.But I do notice from the comments in Weblogtoolscollection, that many have expressed “WoW” on reading the feature list.That was expected. But I do not agree with the masses. Here are my thoughts:
The focus of wordpress 2.7 is on integrating the functionalities offered by several of those brilliant plugins like the Google Sitemaps Generator, WordPress Automatic upgrade, Better Comments Manager, Subscribe to Comments etc.
Going by this trend, will the focus of future releases like wordpress 2.8 or wordpress 2.9 be on themes? Will wordpress start offering themes as part of its core? Are they necessary?
What is it that you gain, as a wordpress user, by having all those features as part of the core? The gains might be better code.But this need not always be true. There are several brilliant plugin developers, who could offer better code and functionality. wordpress would not have become popular without their contribution
Also wordpress seem to be building those functionalities into the core, rather than using its own modular plugin framework.This seem to be a deviation from their initial focus, which was on keeping the wordpress core lightweight.
For eg: one of the features in wordpress 2.6, namely Post Revisions, may not be necessary for every wordpress user.Infact majority of wordpress powered blogs are single author blogs.So functionlities like Post Revisions and Post autosave are disabled by many.Isn’t it better for the team at Automattic, to build these as plugins, than integrating them into the core.If it had been a plugin, they would have made it easy for the wordpress user to enable or disable them.
If Matt and his team, build these proposed features as plugins, it would let the wordpress developer community to improve upon them, by building variations.This would immensely benefit the wordpress users as they would have alternatives to choose from.Everyone would then reap the open source benefits.Seggregating these new functionalities/features as plugins will also help keeping the wordpress core lighter.
What wordpress loses by building in those functionalites?
What should wordpress focus on?
WordPress should rather focus on continually improving the security features of wordpress, making life difficult for the hackers.The proposed wordpress features may, if necessary, be introduced as plugins.But what would be even better is to work with plugin authors in making them more secure rather than wasting efforts in building those functionalities.The benefits as outlined above are numerous.
If at all, the wordpress team wanted to provide any functionality, let them provide a newer one as a plugin, rather than reinventing the wheel by building in those existing functionalities.Let the team at Automattic be trend setters, in the functionalities they introduce.Let the developer community work on them to offer better, innovative and creative variations.