[wp-hackers] WP 2.7 menu sidebar

Xavier Borderie xavier at borderie.net
Sat Aug 23 14:08:06 GMT 2008

Stephen is indeed right, at least in parts. Don't get me wrong, there
some good things in this new design, and I'm not to refrain from
change just of the sake of keeping things are they are. I know for a
fact that this has been done to facilitate the everyday life of
everybody, and even adoption rate I guess, and can't have less respect
for both WP devs and HappyCog designers for being able to throw it all
away and start from scratch. Really, congrats for that, it takes guts.

I'm not concerned about geeks - as Stephen says, they'll adapt, and
I'm sure the coredevs are smart enough to make sure 2.7 doesn't break
plugins nor themes.

But users will be angry, that one's for sure. Remember the numerous
(at least on our side of the Atlantic) users that complained about the
new admin in 2.5? This time it will be much worse. While 2.5 could be
seen as a reskinning of 2.3, 2.7 is a whole different thing. At least
in 2.5 most of the top menu remained the same: apart from a change in
labels here and there, the menu was still at the top, just as it had
been since the very beginning (and, indeed, since b2/cafelog).

With 2.7, everything is moved in the sidebar, new categories are
created, etc. The 2.6-27 change is much more important than the
2.3-2.5 was, which was the first big admin update since the 1.2-1.5
one (in march 2005 - more than three years without a change!).

You can't expect users to swallow this one easily, guys. WP has had a
coherent interface ever since 0.70, and even 2.5 didn't break 5 years
of dev (or 7 years if we count b2). Then, within the same year, we get
one major redesign, and then another even bigger one. So I agree with
what Stephen says: this new update has better be here to stay for the
loooong haul, because any further major change in there will make WP
look really bad.
It's quite easy to see, really : remember the numerous 1.5
sub-versions (1.5.1,, 15.1.2, That's when WP got a
first taste at bad reputation (too many holes, too many updates), even
though we all know that security is hard with such major updates, and
speedy updates should be seen as a good thing rather than the other
way around. 2.0 had the same issue, although in a longer timeframe.
Well, now we have 2 major admin updates in one year, not even related
to each other (apart from the design studio): geeks like us just
aknowledge it and keep on doing their thing, but users, oh baby, I
hear the blogposts coming, and not all of them are good. If you don't
want to drop a bomb on them, at least start RIGHT NOW to officially
get the word out about crazyhorse in the official devblog. Eye-testing
in New York is one thing, getting long time users to accept it is a
whole other. Start posting now, my friends.

At first I thought CrazyHorse would be part of a neat new
functionality for WP: user-made admin template. Wow, now THAT would've
been cool! :) Not only would you have been able to let users choose
between 2.5-style or CrazyHorse-style admin, but WP professionnals
would've been able to tailor-build admins for their clients! Imagine
that, best of both worlds, every one is happy, not need for plugins
such as the Tiger one: just build a CSS (and maybe some sort of
manifest), and bam, new admin :)
Thinking about it, 2.7 is still months away: if it were possible to
build this idea into core, you would not only prevent a flood of bad
blogpost and forum posts, but you would make both users and devs even
happier, while still being able to put the hard CrazyHorse work in the
hands of those who wish to. Can you spell win-win? :)

Hopefully the discussion will keep going about this on this mailing
list. Understand that I'm not telling to ditch the great work
(really!) that's been put into CrazyHorse, just as you should not tell
users to suck it up and deal with it. Get the word out, let users
accustomate themselves to the idea of CrazyHorse, and transition will
be smoothier.
And, please think about this user-made admin thing :)

Cheers, coredev team! We love you, really! :)


2008/8/23 Stephen Rider <wp-hackers at striderweb.com>:
> I think my problem with all this is that I seriously question the wisdom of
> doing a radical interface change in 2.5 and then almost immediately doing
> _another_ radical interface change in 2.7.  It makes WP look like something
> done by people who are just playing around.
> Choose an interface, and then use it.  Quit batting your users around like a
> toy to a bored cat.  Geeks (that's us) love this kind of stuff; but Joe User
> HATES it -- DESPISES IT, actually.  I can think of a few non-techies who
> would throw up their hands in disgust at this.
> As far as I'm concerned, that choice has already been made.  We've made our
> bed and now we need to sleep in it.  If we wanted to do this stuff we should
> have left the 2.5 interface alone, knowing that we wanted to do other stuff
> almost immediately down the road.
> Again, I'm a geek; I'll deal with it.  But we're yanking the rug out from
> under our users (and, again, plugin authors).  IF this is really going to
> happen, so be it; but we then need a moratorium on further GUI redesigns for
> a while -- I would say two years _minimum_.  Choose wisely, and don't be
> short sighted -- we're all gonna be stuck with what we choose now.
> Sincerely,
> Stephen
> --
> Stephen Rider
> <http://striderweb.com/>
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> wp-hackers at lists.automattic.com
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Xavier Borderie

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