[wp-hackers] Easytags template system

Mark Jaquith mark.wordpress at txfx.net
Thu May 11 08:55:00 GMT 2006

Looks like I missed most of the fun, but here's my belated take.

As far as advancing the ability of "Joe Blogger" to edit his  
templates, this has a very limited benefit.  That is, it might give  
someone the courage to edit their template a little bit... move  
things around... but eventually (and I'd guess sooner rather than  
later) they're going to hit the wall in terms of exhausting the  
capabilities of this easytags system.  I ran into that with  
MovableType back in the day.  I couldn't manipulate the data the way  
I wanted using the template tags alone.  So I learned PHP and just  
used the MT tags to feed info to PHP so it could do the real work.   
e.g. <?php $title = '<$MTEntryTitle encode_php="q"$>'; ?>  Brad  
Choate was doing this back in 2002, actually feeding MT tags to PHP/ 
Smarty [1].

So the easytags syntax ends up having to be forsaken, and what do you  
know, they end up having to learn PHP anyway.

I'd rather that developer effort be put into helping to demystify the  
WordPress PHP tags, rather than leading users down a path that has no  
future and no outside application.

If we want to help users edit templates, and I think that we should,  
we should focus our efforts on making the PHP easier to work with,  
and easier to remember.  Heck, I have to look up function names all  
the time.  Is it get_the_permalink() or get_permalink() ?  Yeah, I'm  
wrong about half the time when I guess.  What would be fantastic is a  
build in JS-powered WordPress tag helper that could assist the theme  
editor, but using the real PHP, so that things observed and learned  
will have lasting value to the user.

I imagine it working like this: a sidebar pane, with several  
sections, most with dropdown select boxes.

What would you like to do?
[ Create a Post Loop ]
[ Insert a Tag in the loop ]
[ Insert a Tag somewhere else ]
[ Display a Bookmark list ]
[ Call another template ]


Upon selecting, they could be presented with other options, and at  
the end, they're given the code they need... sort of like when you're  
choosing your car's make, model, year, engine, color when you buy  
insurance online, or like when choosing a category on eBay.

e.g. Call another template => Which template would you like to  
include? (header, sidebar, footer, other |__________|) => Will this  
template be called multiple times? => CODE

[1] http://www.bradchoate.com/weblog/2002/10/12/smart-templating-with- 

Mark Jaquith

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