While I’m pretty excited about the Post Formats feature slated for WordPress 3.1, developers have been taken aback by the lack of flexibility or customization that can be performed with them. Many developers have been wondering how these post formats can be extended or how they can add some of their own. Although WordPress has always had hooks and filters to customize features added into the core, Post Formats strays from that routine by strongly discouraging straying from the standardized post formats.
Andrew Nacin, a WordPress core developer outlines why Post Formats work the way they do. It’s important to note that Post Formats won’t be for everyone.
With term names and such, we went through great lengths to ensure formats were as portable as possible. The idea behind the feature is this standardization and portability for a segment of bloggers. Many designers of themes used for microblogging wanted this ability to offer structured, well-defined content, beyond what could be done with categories and tags. It’s designed so when you switch to a different theme — a specific kind of theme, at that — your content doesn’t lose its most fundamental context.
Staying within the confines of the Post Formats standard will be good for all users but custom implementations will lead to problems when it comes time to switch themes.
Ultimately, this feature is an exception of the rule. It’s not like we decided we liked the idea of post formats and then later came across the idea to force them to be standardized. No, the idea we started with — before we had a name for them, even — was the standardization itself. The only new thing this feature brings to the table is the portability enabled through standardization. Without that, the feature is useless.
Overall, the why’s and hows of Post Formats is an interesting read and I’d love to see more posts like this from the core team when it comes to new features in WordPress.