The results of the WordPress 2.9 Features Vote came out today, where Jane Wells wrote that over 3,500 people participated in the poll. Although only the first question was mandatory, Media albums and Easier embedding of Media were clearly priorities for most as they took up more than a third of the votes (34%).
I would have voted for the same thing – particularly for embedding media – since I tend to write and embed about third party content. For that reason I would probably have voted for a better media interface as well.
What is worrying though is that out of the 3284 people (apx 91% of total voters) who answered the 4th question about whether media features such as Albums should be:
- A Core or standard feature of WordPress; or
- Bundled with core as a plugin; or
- Left as a plugin in the Repository.
56.2% said this should be in core! Thankfully there were still many who thought otherwise, but it seems most of these were developers rather than users.
This doesn’t mean that the demi-gods of WordPress development are going to go with the flow, as they said that:
Clearly this issue deserves more discussion, and the concept of how we move toward a system of canonical plugins and/or core “packages” intended for different use cases (CMS, photoblog, portfolio, etc) will be a big topic in the months ahead.
However, as a user, I really believe that if media features were introduced, ‘canonical’ plugins that are either left in the Repository or – at a push – bundled are the way forward for several reasons:
- They will still ‘hook’ or work effectively with Core, and presumably this will be because-
- Plugin development may be done in-house or the third-party developer will work closely with the WordPress team; and
- No excess code in Core for features not everyone uses, as the plugins are mainly standalone, which reduces the size of the core download; and
- Avoids unnecessary code running in the background; whilst
- Minimises the possibility of bloated code.
No doubt WordPress will investigate the routes taken by other software such as Gallery by Bharat Mediratta, which offers 3 different packages for everyday users to download – the ‘Full’ package is more than twice the size of the ‘Minimal’ package – so the compromise is the ‘Typical’ package to ‘satisfy the demands of most Gallery users’.
But having more than one download will probably confuse new entrants to the WordPress user base (I know the Gallery one confuses me – then again, I am easily confused) and I imagine that quite often the boundaries for ‘use cases’ – CMS, photoblog, etc. – might be too easily blurred to offer packages on that particularly basis, but I am open to other thoughts.
This is why the WordPress core is currently great as it is – because it is flexible enough for users to go opt for one or more ‘use cases’, and can be downloaded and installed in (less than) 5 minutes – all in a tidy 2.2MB package.
By contrast, Joomla‘s standard download is 6.4 MB and even Gallery’s ‘typical’ package is some 4MB.
For these reasons, I believe that the new Media Features should not be in Core and should be offered separately as plugins. Leaving them in the Repository or ‘Repo’ would be most ideal in my mind, because the Core download size will be smaller.
Then the issue will be simply how to include these features as an option within a user-friendly interface for users to simply ‘activate’, whereby WordPress core can then download and install them automatically, rather like the Core ‘upgrade’ system now in use.
p/s: More opinions and related posts can be found in the Pingback section at the bottom of the official blog post, including a dedicated WP Tavern thread and even one discussing the presentation of data.