[wp-hackers] Re: 1.5.2 or on to 1.6?

Matthew Mullenweg m at mullenweg.com
Mon May 23 08:49:08 GMT 2005

Martin Geisler wrote:
> I've only been using WordPress since February, but what has struck me
> as the biggest problem is the coding standard used.  I've written a
> longer piece[1] about it on my blog, but to summerize:

I'm not sure how best to address your concerns, except to say that the 
codebase of WordPress is very mature (from b2 goes back almost 4 years?) 
and such over time it has development a number of idiosyncratic quirks 
that may seem strange to a newcomer.

I'm as aware as inconsistencies as anyone, like post.php not using the 
wp_insert_post function, but the highest priorities in development are 
focused at our two primary audiences, end-users (who never look at core 
code) and plugin authors (who use the documented APIs). If you want to 
be a core hacker, then you'll have to get used to some different 
stylistic tendencies. However entries such as yours (which I've seen 
dozens of) are akin to someone coming into your house and criticizing 
where you put all your furniture and organize your books.

If you look at code from much older releases, like .71, you'll see that 
it gets cleaner and more streamlined with every release (less global 
usage, etc), but things usually get cleaned up when another improvement 
is happening to that part of the code. Rewriting things for no good 
reason other than rewriting them tends to introduce bugs. Bugs hurt both 
of our core audiences.

Commenting is tricky. Some "well-commented" code I've seen had a bunch 
of lines of repetitive filler that "documented" what you could easily 
see by just looking at the code itself and doubled the size of the 
program. APIs should be documented religiously, but I think spending a 
ton of time on redundant comments for code only a few core hackers will 
ever look at will bloat the codebase and waste everyone's time. I also 
believe that well-written code usually doesn't need comments unless it's 
doing some sort of voodoo or workaround. (See gettext.php.) If you're 
doing something that is so long and complicated that it needs a lengthy 
explanation, it probably is worth breaking it into several simpler pieces.

I think if we surveyed our users, very few (if any) would bring up the 
"coding standard" as an issue they care about. We need to focus more on 
things like the excellent issues Mark J. raised in his response.

Matt Mullenweg
  http://photomatt.net | http://wordpress.org
http://pingomatic.com | http://cnet.com

More information about the wp-hackers mailing list