Andrew Nacin Explains Post Formats In Detail

January 27th, 2011

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.




  1. Rev. Voodoo (4 comments.) says:

    I don’t understand why people can’t grasp the concept I guess. The formats make perfect sense….. they shouldn’t be flexible. The portability is the key. Any developer can already add their own content. And users can hunt down themes that offer major CPT or taxonomy flexibility built in. But for the standard user looking for differentiation here, a way to display a variety of formats…. I really like the idea. Flexibility vs. standardization is tough…. I see users “messing with powers they don’t understand” so frequently in the forums. This can offer a lot of flexibility with standardization… a combo deal. I’m pretty curious how people are running with this though? I’ve read the major articles around the web. First Lisa Sabin-Wilson’s article, then the smarter post formats, and even smarter post formats articles… to try to see how I wanted to go with this. Here’s the route I took….

    Don’t take that as SPAM, I’m honestly trying to compare how people are working with the formats. I was concerned with maximum flexibility for child theme users in my iteration.

    end ramble….

  2. Kumarsaran (1 comments.) says:

    I may be navie, sorry about it. Pls. explain

    1. When we preserve the content in the form of why would custom format design going to bug any theme change?
    2. Post/page editor is controlled by the core rather than theme, so etc buttons not gonna harm themes.


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