Wordcamp 2007 Future State Wishlist for WordPress 2.3

The 2nd annual Wordcamp, a gathering of WordPress users, will take place this weekend in San Francisco! The agenda looks quite interesting and I wish I could be there amongst some of the Internet marketing speakers, not blithering idiot blog readers. It’s awesome that every business keynote speaker is a WordPress user! I hope some folks will come here and post live stream URL’s Saturday morning so folks can tune in.

It’s also interesting to note that Google blog search shows 583 posts on this while Technorati shows 541. You might want to check out my post on “The Death of Blog Search” and politely encourage Mr. Matt Cutts to put the blog search on the home page of Google. πŸ˜€

I do think the conference falls short on what is truly needed – a long, heart to heart conversation about he overall health of WordPress platform and it’s future direction and stability, driven more by usability and stability needs than it is at present.

So without further delay I say hello to my fellow WordPress users and present my WordPress wish list for the era between now and the next Wordcamp in 2008 – I strongly encourage blogosphere discussion of the current state of self-hosted WordPress and desired future state of WordPress.org.

Current state of self-hosted WordPress:

– Lack of stability/testing of newly released versions – over the past year, see WordPress (version 2.0.6) and plugins see Podpress (version 7.7) have been released to the user community that broke feedburner feeds.

– Lack of testing of security in new WordPress versions – See WordPress 2.1.1 dangerous, Upgrade to 2.1.2

– Constant changes in WordPress’ core structure are frequently not backward compatible with old plugins. This often causes immediate and time consuming break downs and make upgrading WordPress a major chore instead of the low maintenance joy that it should be. (I’m presently running WordPress 2.1.3 because Podpress apparently has several conflicts with WordPress version 2.2.1 in an effort to prevent this)

Proposed self-hosted WordPress User Bill of Rights:

– As a WordPress self-hosted user we both respect and understand your time is valuable and that you deserve to have a low maintenance experience when installing plugins or upgrading versions and that the WordPress open source community should prioritize changes based on user suggestions based on functionality.

– Users have a right to expect fully tested software before release and appreciate those efforts greatly. We realize and hope for less frequent, more stable releases are strongly preferred as more and more WordPress users utilize WordPress for mission critical functions and do not have time to debug these items.

How do I suggest we get to this desired future state and what’s on my wishlist?

– Make releasing stable versions with coordinated releases of all plugins a priority for each new release. Maybe even develop a robust testing checklist?

– Integrate popular plugins into the core functionality of WordPress to prevent the above problem. Ideally, I’d love to be able to post podcasts, videos (especially Youtube) , pictures and other media without reposts and glitches. Plugins I’d like to see integrated include Viper’s Video Tags, Podpress, Trackback Validator 0.7.1 and Feedburner Feed Replacement 2.2

– Make RSS feed compatibility – images, videos and formating an area of focus. I have one friend whose images do not consistently show up and I had a major formatting problem for a long period of time due to the Podpress 7.7 feed problem of which I was not aware.

– A WordPress dashboard allowing people to check if all plugins currently in use are safe for the latest version based on a centralized database of reports of issues.

– Make it so trackbacks are standard in all WordPress themes.

These are my main areas of concern, I’m sure you can think of others that I may of left out, but I just wanted to post my top few items. Again, I’d like to hear from others on their desires for the future of the customer experience and advancement of WordPress.

18 Responses to Wordcamp 2007 Future State Wishlist for WordPress 2.3

  1. Patrick Havens July 19, 2007 at 11:30 pm #

    Well be sure to also follow the notes we’ll be writing at The WordCamp Report.

  2. Rachelle Chase July 20, 2007 at 12:05 am #

    Thanks for listing your concerns, David – I’ve made note of them, and will try to learn from them. Unfortunately, I have nothing to add to the list, as I’m new to WordPress. For once, I did not develop my current site, but hired someone else to do it for me, so I’m going to Wordcamp 2007 to learn everything I can. Maybe I’ll have something to share afterwards.

    Best,
    Rachelle

  3. Heidi July 20, 2007 at 12:19 am #

    Thanks for the link:) These are great suggestions. My personal pick is the one about integrating popular plugins, it would make things much cleaner and more elegant.

    Sorry you won’t be there.

    Heidi

  4. Lorelle July 20, 2007 at 1:34 am #

    As usual, David, some interesting points. Some of these are things at the top of my list. However, the premise of the WordCamp conference is to bring together WordPress fans not to solve the problems in the World of WordPress, though some may come up.

    The issue of Plugins and some of the points you have made are also good. Updates, alerts, and other methods to make the use and inclusion of WordPress Plugins, as well as WordPress updates, is critical to the growing success of the product, but incorporation is a tough call. It means Plugin authors lose control and income which comes from donations, gifts, and related sources. For some, while such income doesn’t pay the electricity bill, it does help offset some of the costs of hosting the Plugin and continuing to support it.

    There are a lot of WordPress Plugins which many people swear by that I think are unnecessary clutter, and others I think are critical which people just don’t understand and fail to appreciate. Finding the ones “everyone” uses across the board is a tough call.

    You’ve brought up a lot to think about and hopefully some of it will be covered, but that’s a heavy load for a fun weekend of talking and learning about WordPress. πŸ˜€

  5. totti July 20, 2007 at 7:45 am #

    good

    Thank you

    http://www.moon25.com

  6. David Dalka July 20, 2007 at 7:51 am #

    All – I’m now offering a reward – anyone who gets Matt Cutts to agree to add blog search to the homepage at WordCamp 2007 gets an interview on my blog about the experience of advocating that and about who they are.

    Patrick – I look forward to seeing your notes!

    Rachelle – Welcome to WordPress! It is my hope to see you again and to make the platform a joy for you to use. It might also be quite wise of you to change the name of your blog to “Finding David” πŸ˜‰

    Heidi – I just want to hug you. I hope you can be my evangelist on these issues in person this weekend. πŸ™‚

    Lorelle – The best learnings I’ve ever had were from being self-taught (whether WordPress or anything else). There is one speaker on that list that I think is a poor example for a beginner to learn from as they allow neither comments nor trackbacks on their blog – which since you were a Sobcon attendee I think you would agree misses the point of the blogging conversation.

    Plugins were cute when the user base was small. If plugins are to continue in a world were non-techies want self-hosted WordPress – they either need to be validated to work and be forward compatible or incorporated into WordPress in which case a plugin author would be given freedom from updating. The current state is not sustainable, many people are running old versions of WordPress to sidestep this major issue.

    The author of Podpress recently shut down his message board due to “a lack of funds”. So I don’t think this is a major issue for most plugin authors – the sense of ownership and contribtuion is and the memory of the efforts must be preserved and appreciated.

    I fully realize the difficulty of the challenges, but the practice of shoveling them under the rug needs to stop if the platform is to thrive and survive.

    Thanks for listening.

  7. Rachelle Chase July 20, 2007 at 8:06 am #

    Thank you, David. And LOL re: the blog suggestion. I’m sorry that I did not consult you a year ago. πŸ™‚ … Will stop back by after WordPress …

    Best,
    Rachelle

  8. whig July 20, 2007 at 1:11 pm #

    The Debian repository model works pretty well in general; if WordPress.org were to host a repository for WordPress-specific plugins it might be possible to perform an upgrade of WordPress and automatically perform required updates of plugins and other dependencies.

  9. Andy Ford July 24, 2007 at 12:21 am #

    You certainly bring up some interesting points, but I don’t think we want to start jamming a ton of plugins into the core – does the world really need another slow and bloated Joomla?

  10. David Dalka July 24, 2007 at 6:44 am #

    Hi Andy,

    Thanks for joining the conversation on this important issue.

    Never have used Joomla. I have however wasted an entire weekend fixing the mess caused by plugins that aren’t compatible with new versions. I’ve spent months with broken RSS feeds due to these issues. I’ve seen people abandon entire blogs due to problems that they could not fix. The current state is neither acceptable nor sustainable. This is not alot to integrate and many of these items are already standard and no hassle in Typepad.

  11. Andy Ford July 24, 2007 at 11:27 pm #

    David,
    I can’t argue with that. The current plugin situation can lead to some bad problems.

    One thing Mark Jaquith said at WordCamp was that plugin developers should “write better plugins.”

    That might sound like a cop out to some, but it is very true. I’m not a plugin developer, but I can only guess that it’s possible (although I don’t know either way) that there could be a lack of documentation and/or a lack of published guidelines to facilitate the writing of better plugins.

    If it’s any consolation, the WP team knows that the plugin system has major room for improvement, and they seem to want to do something about it.

    It’s a bummer that you missed the convention because you have a valid and well presented argument.

  12. Robert July 25, 2007 at 9:42 pm #

    Several improvements are coming in WordPress 2.3 according to announcements at Wordcamp2007. Not wanting to mess up anything I’ll let others that attended give specfics.As a first time attende I found both days interesting, informative,entertaining and the best 25 dollars I’ve spent in quite a while

  13. jameswillisisthebest September 8, 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    This is my first post
    just saying HI

  14. Sklepy February 8, 2008 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for very interesting article. btw. I really enjoyed reading all of your posts. It’s interesting to read ideas, and observations from someone else’s point of view… makes you think more.

  15. MarkTCollins January 5, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    Hello,

    I am Mark, soon 40 , I teach sports in high school

    see you,

    Mark, my little blog moto

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