[wp-hackers] Making it better

Owen Winkler ringmaster at midnightcircus.com
Fri Apr 22 12:14:10 GMT 2005

Podz wrote:

> Question: Do we actually WANT to make life easier for Joe User ? Some 
> comments would hint that this is not the case. And if we do, then we 
> ask JU what he wants, and we supply it. We don't run it past a board 
> of enquiry, we don't compare it to what some guru says, we don't have 
> conversations about the why / where / how - it's just done.

The problem with throwing the question of what WordPress needs to the 
masses is that we'll still end up removing chaff from the grain.  "It 
should include red-eye removal features for uploading images."  Getting 
a sense of what users really need without asking for noise seems like a 
better idea than fielding every crazy suggestion and then being 
denigrated for not including it.

I don't have an issue with attempting to improve WordPress' programmatic 
accessibility to Joe User.  Joe User needs to understand that even 
though he has made a suggestion, that doesn't mean it's a good idea or 
that anyone else would benefit by using their own time and effort to 
bring his ideas to life.

On the other hand, and here's where the forum and support is lacking, 
there isn't a well-defined place for Joe to lobby for his ideas where it 
gets visibility by developers.  Hell, I'm often looking for something 
dumb to code to waste an hour or so.  Set me up an RSS feed to these 
crazy user suggestions and watch the custom code fly.

> All you guys who can do php once wrote something along the lines of 
> your first bit of code that went "Hello World". There are people 
> wanting / trying / sweating to use WP who are not even there yet and 
> if you want WP to be the complete success, you are going to have to 
> help them. Codex isn't and cannot be that panacea.

Is it your expectation that WP becomes a tutoring ground for PHP newbies?

There is a lot of help in codex, some of it even assumes that the user 
doesn't really understand PHP.  Skippy's "The Loop" lesson is shaping up 
really well, actually.  Sure, it could use (a lot) more documentation 
like this, but there are so many other better online/offline resources 
for PHP that I don't think we should reinvent the wheel just to appease 
users who want something more complicated than can be accomplished by 
using the evolving Codex documentation to tweak existing template tags.

This is why I keep saying that there needs to be a line that once you 
cross it, you're in development territory.  You can certainly use 
WordPress with virtually no programming skill.  But as you start to 
demand custom features, you have to expect a little programming 
knowledge.  We can try to help out by documenting how to do simple 
things in Codex, but the plain fact is, you're going to have to pick up 
a PHP book if you don't know PHP and you want to write new code.  
WordPress can't write the code for you.

Sorry if this sounds more confrontational than it was intended, but I 
think it gets my points across clearly, so I won't soften it.  :)


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