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What Would You Change In WordPress?

The second of a four part series which kicked off last Thursday with Why WordPress? Just as last time, RSS readers are missing out! Today the question twenty one of the WordPress community – developers, designers and bloggers – is answering is the question:

You have the power.
Second question. Hypothetically, you have the power to change one thing in WordPress. What would that be?

As with last time, in no particular order, here are the responses:

Strip out all of the worthless features and let plugin developers continue to improve ideas and innovate new ones. There is no reason for crap like post revisioning and image editing to be included in the WordPress core. Stick with the essentials, eliminate the fluff, and focus on optimization, security and performance. Basically, if I had the power, I would stop the bloat and eliminate the push for upgrades just for the sake of upgrades. Well, okay so that’s like two things, but it’s all kind of related.
Jeff Starr

WordPress has about 2 major release per year if not more, this makes it outdated easier especially when it comes to API and hence the documentation of it in codex may not be up to date. If I have the power, I will assign someone to have a official documentation rather than relying on the public to update it.
Lester Chan

If I could change just 1 thing (or rather, have 1 thing changed for me) it’d be easy-as-pie installation profiles. It could totally change the way WordPress is distributed and used.
Ian Stewart
I’m pretty sure they are headed this way – but to combine all of the current WordPress platforms. WordPress, WordPress MU, BuddyPress and bbPress all into one.
-Brian Gardner
There’s in my opinion too many updates. Otherwise, there’s really nothing to change on WP!
Jean-Baptiste Jung

I’ve been thinking about this question for long. I even asked my Twitter followers about it but wasn’t convinced by the feedback.

A couple of years ago, I would indeed have had a few stuff to answer. Most likely, I would have debated a bit about open source vs open development. A couple of years ago, I had the feeling that, while code was coming from a number of folks, but the project was clearly led and ruled by Matt (or so it seemed at least from an outside point of view). Namely, the 2.5 redesign was something completely closed. Nowadays, the dev process seems to be much more open: polls about features or UI, regular dev meetings.

Honestly, today, if I had to change one thing about WordPress, I don’t know what it would be. Maybe I would just kill everything related to the visual editor because I just hate this stuff 🙂

Not a thing. It’s perfect the way it is. Even if there’s a piece missing you can always find a plugin that fills the empty hole.
Indrek SaarnakUhm… I would probably make the image handling superiour, so that you could upload, crop, resize the image and have a built in dynamic resizer built-in. We use timthumb for that now, and it seems like all themes use this, so why not make it standard?
Magnus Jepson
It would be nice if there were a few less security releases. I don’t really see that as a huge inconvenience, it just shows me the developers are paying attention to any potential threats.I’m also a bit concerned the core is getting too “bloated” with code that would probably be better off in a plugin that could be installed separately. But again, I don’t see this as a huge problem.
Leland Fiegel
I’d like more fine-grained control over how thumbnails are made, how users can change the thumbnail image easily, and letting WordPress automatically choose a default thumbnail from the post images.Thankfully, WP2.9 devs seem to be ahead of me on this one! 😀
Michael Martin
Getting rid of Media features or anything which is not necessary (we have apps for those purposes) and anything else which pushes it to be bloated. In short I want it to be at its top notch performance par.

I’m also a bit concerned the core is getting too “bloated” with code

Speed – I’m obsessed with making things fast so optimising database tables and queries is high on my list. It would be nice if the existing code was refined more to make everything as streamlined as possible. Less is more.
Ben Gillbanks
I’d like to see a better API for HTTP response headers to set a very long expiration time for last years archive for instance. This is already possible … but not very elegant.The hard coded rel=”nofollow” attributes must go away. They’re yesterdays code.And the misuse of guillemets (»«) for arrows is … annoying. The default theme and many plugins have this bug.
Thomas Scholz
I wouldn’t change anything but instead, add an easy to use theme CSS editor. I’d be pretty happy if I could just take the basic styling system in vbulletin and put it into WordPress. People could then use more of a streamlined approach to editing their themes CSS file without having to go through a file with 300 lines of code in it. I would also provide a way for people to revert those changes to the original or at the very least, provide revisions for themes.
Jeff Chandler

I’d add full support of custom post/content types. The foundation is there and there’s been a lot of work done toward this goal in WordPress 2.9. What I’d like to do is type a few lines of code and have a new write panel open up in the admin that fully supports its own taxonomies and allows you to easily do all the things you can now do with other post types. It should also be easy to create new permalink structures for these post types. That’s at the top of my wishlist, and I’m hoping this is available in WordPress 3.0.
Justin Tadlock

I do not try to change WordPress or influence the direction it goes in. My relationship with WordPress has gotten better every year since I made this decision. There are a number of very smart people who are highly involved in every decision and I trust that they will make more good ones than bad ones.
Alex King

From a themers point of view, one of the things I’d love to see changed is the ability to decide where do you want to show a widget, at least for pages, and have a suffix field for each widget, to enable have differently styled widgets in the same sidebar.

This is a hard question to answer. I really wish there was a bit more flexibility (without the use of a plugin) as to where, when, how posts can be displayed without a ton of work hacking the loop.
Jason Schuller
Quite specific here, but having to re-click the media icon each time I want to insert an image into a post. I add images in after having written an article, and I find that infuriating.
Alex Cragg
Not to change anything though, I would want to have more options to generate thumbnails. Woulnd’t it be nice to implement a dynamic image handler tool into WordPress to call a thumbnail (eg where 150×100 image is being processed from attached image?
Mehmet Ozekinci

Another great round of interviews; thanks again to all those who answered :). Once again, I open the question to the floor: if you could change one thing in WordPress, what would that be? Do leave a comment.

Alex Denning

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Any Problems Facing WordPress? |
January 27, 2010 5:35 pm

[…] third of four instalments of the “Why WordPress” series (parts one and two) asks the same groups of twenty one what problems they see facing the WordPress community at the […]

January 12, 2010 9:07 pm

Gotta add my voice to the “remove bloat”.

In ripping apart the code, there is so much waste. How many timing functions do we really need loading with every page load?
Does the “is_blog_installed” really need to be anything but a file/db check?
The functions.php file is now over 100k in size all by itself, and there are pages of includes required for every page load.

Yah, if I could get one thing it would be remove bloat.

January 10, 2010 9:06 am

Very nice and useful page, but this article is not correct displayed.
(blocks in cursive)

January 2, 2010 6:02 pm

I agree that WordPress core is becoming bloated. I hate TinyMCE, if at least we could choose another WYSIWYG like FCKEditor! There should be an EASY way of taking all this junk away, together with wpautop and all those filters, and just say to WordPress: “TAKE THIS EXACT XHTML I’M GIVING YOU AND THROW IT IN THE_CONTENT(), THAT’S IT!” These image editors that are coming, they should really go for a plugin. WordPress is becoming fat, they deeply must note what modularization is and fix it before it’s too late. They already seem to know that, they are talking about canonical plugins and stuff, let’s hope they take the right decision. But what WordPress most needs is a MENU DESIGNER. Something like Drupal one. It should be easy to create as many menus as we wanted, add to them any post-page-category-tag-rss and everything else, and have these menus printed anywhere we wanted, with automatic generated classes with the same quality of body_class/post_class/comment_class. WordPress will never be a CMS while it relies page and category lists. And and of course, a better permalink structure. Current code should be ported to plugin and add some nice API feature to let us extend… Read more »

Around the web |
December 21, 2009 7:27 am

[…] You Can Change Anything In WordPress. What? and What Problems Face The WordPress Community? (It Answers) – More in the Q and A series I participated in. […]

December 17, 2009 1:51 pm

WordPress should improve their community website than just a blog.

December 16, 2009 10:27 pm

Allow a non-admin to edit the content of a sidebar widget. Better, designate user permissions for each active widget.

December 16, 2009 7:48 pm

I agree. WordPress needs to be stripped down to the bare essentials, with everything else be installable packages. Even if a set of “canonical plugins” (for example, plugins that comprise the current feature set of WP) are installed on the server, make it possible for users to opt-out (for example, leave the GUI for editing off or the image handling system or revision or autosaving, etc.). Reduce the “core” to the minimum essential components needed for WP to run. This would make it faster and reduce the number of core updates that are necessary. Updates can be handled through standalone plugins. It also would make it easier to write documentation, as each plugin could be documented independently.

December 15, 2009 10:59 pm

1) Enable the theme editor to work on files located in subdirectories: wp-content/themes/themename/subdir/*

2) Better management of search engine spiders so that mysql isn’t hammered on large sites with tens of thousands of pages.

3) Get more than a query count to help with optimization. It would be nice to have an option that would list ALL queries executed when a page is displayed.

4) Tips documenting how to optimize hosting hundreds of domains on a server to prevent bringing the server to its knees.

links for 2009-12-15 | Links | WereWP
December 15, 2009 2:04 pm

[…] You Can Change Anything In WordPress. What? | "Hypothetically, you have the power to change one thing in WordPress. What would that be?" A great question that Alex Denning asked to 21 famous WordPress developers. And you, what would you change? (tags: wordpress) […]

December 15, 2009 12:16 pm

Simple: It needs a complete rewrite.

And while doing that:
– Go full-out OOP.
– Abolish crufty linear thinking (like “the loop”) in favour of better MVC/MVT structures.
– Start with a shared caching strategy that can use multiple backends (database, file, memcached, etc)

And bonus marks if you can do it in a real language like Python.

Oh, I think I just described Django with a nice UI.

Alexandru Dutulescu
December 15, 2009 10:11 am

One thing, beside the suggestions above.
By making it multi-language, WP will turn itself into the mighty king.

December 15, 2009 3:35 am

I would have loved to get rid of the bloat as well. Strip the addon features. Majority of WordPress blogs are one-man blog. Why not make the ability for multi-author blog as a plugin instead. Including all the functions whose codes add to the bloat.

I mean, why not just build a “WordPress Core”, and then the optional existing functions are fully supported by Automattic as plugin.

December 15, 2009 3:08 am

It all revolves around reworking the admin for the clients because it’s still too unusual and busy for my clients. Make the admin more client-friendly for clients who only need to do like two tasks in it. Let me set things up where I can hide features for their login.

December 30, 2009 2:00 pm
Reply to  Volomike

I couldn’t agree more. While it’s rather easy to style the frontend however you wish, the backend stays a problem that at the moment can only be adressed by plugins. And we all know, how often plugins are updated too late or completely abandoned, turning every update of the core into a risky game.

Another point nagging me is the contineous changes of the backend: with nearly every update i have to check if my clients still get the processes necessary for their core uses and if my support docs are still up to date.

Therefore, if WP wants to play a role as a professional tool, we need another configuration layer for the backend, so different designs (tools, navigation and layouts) can be assigned to certain users or roles.

If these problems persist much longer, i’ll definitely drop WP as a CMS for my clients.

Ryan McCue
December 15, 2009 1:58 am

I like the diversity. Half the people mention taking the media stuff out, and the other half want it to be more powerful. 😛

Thomas Scholz mentions the use of guillemets as arrows. I agree that this is a bad use of the characters, however, I have no idea what they’d be replaced with. “|” just doesn’t fit for some uses.

So Then. Why WordPress? 21 of the WordPress Community Answer |
December 14, 2009 10:04 pm

[…] this by RSS? You’re missing out.. Part 2 is now online. subscribe by RSS to catch the […]

Kåre Mulvad
December 14, 2009 9:52 pm

I’d really like the post editor to handle html In a Way that didn’t Force me to install tinyMCE

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