WordPress Openness (was Re: [wp-hackers] UI development for 1.6)

Scott Merrill skippy at skippy.net
Thu Jun 23 11:25:32 GMT 2005

Matt Mullenweg wrote:
> Mike Little wrote:
>> My point was that, once again, there is NO visibility to discussions
>> (if any) about the design. Instead the code is *already in* WordPress.
>> That looks like a decision made to me.
> Terrance seems to have started a great discussion here. If by 
> "decisions" you mean working code instead of kvetching on a mailing 
> list, then yes, decisions are made constantly. That *does not* mean that 
> the hour of work I checked in for people to play with is the One True 
> Way and everything has already been set in stone, in fact nothing could 
> be farther from the truth. Experimentations in a version clearly marked 
> as alpha is a call for feedback.

I haven't used 1.6 ALPHA yet, so my feedback is all second hand.  My 
understanding is that 1.6's post interface provides collapsable and 
movable panels on the post screen.  I was told that the initial load 
time for the post screen is unpleasantly long.

What _value_ is provided by collapsable / movable panels in the post 
screen?  In what way does this make WordPress a better blogging product? 
  Does it speed up the posting process for the majority of users, 
without a negative result for the minority of users?

A good friend of mine migrated from MovabteType to WordPress 
_specifically_ for the admin interface.  He uses a crappy dial-up 
connection, and was thrilled with the responsiveness of WP's image-free 
admin interface.  Will he be able to keep his enthusaism?

I asked if there was any way to "turn off" the fancy new post screen, 
and was told "nope".  Please consider this my contribution to the 
discussion: make any fancy post screen an optional, non-default, thing. 
  People who want it can turn it on.  People who don't want it need 
never deal with it.

> I believe that it's MUCH easier for people to discuss and critique 
> something people can see and poke, rather than a bunch of academic 
> theorizing which has seldom proved productive on this list.

Adding new features is super; and it's certainly the more exciting 
aspect of product development.  But the forums are littered with support 
questions about already-implemented but poorly-working features.

After yesterday's IRC meetup, I asked Podz to list a few of WordPress's 
advertised "features" that generate significant support requests. 
Without batting an eye, he responded:
    "rewrite rules / Image/ Images / More Images /"

Folks in the support forum aren't having problems with their posting 
screens (or if they are, I haven't seen it).  Sure, the post screen 
could use some adjusting, to minimize the amount of clutter, but 
development effort toward features that people struggle with seems 
better than adding new gloss.

I learned last night that someone had been tasked with revamping the 
image handling in 1.6.  That was the first I'd heard about it.  _THAT_ 
is something that will substantially benefit a lot more users than a 
fancy dynamic post interface.  An improved image upload and insertion 
process is, by itself, enough to motivate a lot of people to upgrade.

But that code hasn't been checked in yet, so no one gets to discuss it.

>> But when I see major decisions made with no visible discussion, when
>> long constructive threads on design and future direction seem to be
>> ignored, and when I know that some of the other original developers,
>> myself included, were refused commit permissions to the new subversion
>> repository. I can no longer kid myself that this is anything other
>> than a one man development project (sorry Ryan).
> No final decisions have been made for 1.6, it's all open to discussion.


But you must recognize the one-sidedness of the discussion.  You get to 
roll stuff into the code as part of your "discussion", while no one else 
can.  By default you get to rely on lots of poeple to test your side of 
the conversation, but the other folks are often relegated to "a bunch of 
academic theorizing".

If I want to "discuss" some major overhaul of WordPress, it's a little 
harder for me to get everyone to download and test it, regardless of the 
possible merits of my suggestion.

> I noticed you did not complain about the hundreds of thousands of WP 
> blogs that link to you out of the box.

Why would someone complain about something that is not problematic? 
Mike's email was a discussion of his observation of "problems" with 
respect to the openness of WordPress development.  Your dig that his 
complaints didn't include this item seems like a red herring, or 
possibly a personal attack.

I first started becoming concerned about development openness when the 
security vulnerability was announced, and went up.  I asked if 
there was a security team.  You said "Yes".


How can we officially direct others to this team, when claims of a new 
vulnerability arise?  If you're travelling, with 30 minutes of net 
access per day, who is responsible for responding to security issues?

skippy at skippy.net | http://skippy.net/

gpg --keyserver pgp.mit.edu --recv-keys 9CFA4B35
506C F8BB 17AE 8A05 0B49  3544 476A 7DEC 9CFA 4B35

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