[wp-hackers] Less than Core, More than Plugins/Themes: Proposing Optional Modules.

Peter Westwood peter.westwood at ftwr.co.uk
Tue Feb 3 22:11:17 GMT 2009

On 3 Feb 2009, at 15:46, Mike Schinkel wrote:

>> I don't see why we need these "Optional Modules".
> There has been frequent refrain on the list of "We don't want to  
> add that to the core."  Optional Modules addresses those issues for  
> things that many would like to have added to the core but that the  
> core team opposes.

That is what plugins are for!
>> If there is API missing from our framework we should add it.
> But only if the core team has the bandwidth to address. Optional  
> Modules allow for faster enhancement because it allows more than  
> the core team to participate. It also more importantly creates a  
> mechanism by which plugin authors of similar plugins may choose to  
> collaborate on shared infrastructure (using my earlier examples of  
> Twitter and Image Management as examples again.)

If the core team is not addressing a functional deficiency then  
anyone can write and champion a patch - if the functionality is  
suitable and right for core we will commit it.

>> If there is a big piece of functionality that is required by a
>> large portion of our end-users we should add it to the core.
> Themeing Framework?

WordPress is a Theming framework!

> Image Mangement?

Media management is to be greatly improved in a future version

> Video Shortcodes?

Very good plugins exist

> Microblogging?

That is a theme thing - prologue does it very well.

>> "history has shown that functionality not in use by a large
>> portion of the user base gets broken and doesn't get the
>> attention it needs to be kept up-to-date.
> Can you please point to where I can read about that history?

Look at the Post-By-Email support in WordPress. There is better  
support from plugins that what is in the core.  Very few people use  
this functionality and there have been times where is was completely  
broken by the accidental update of one 3rd party library with a  
different library with a different api!

> Besides, it doesn't have to be "a large portion of the user base",  
> it only has to be "a significant number of users."  If not the  
> latter it wouldn't justify becoming an Optional Module.
> But if 40% of the WordPress user base needs/is using something then  
> that is a huge number of users, even if 60% of them overall  
> WordPress user base would rather not have it "bloating their  
> core."  WordPress has the scale to support this whereas most open  
> source projects do not.

WordPress is a platform.  It is never going to be able to include  
everything you want out of the box.

I suspect a large portion of the user base of Firefox install things  
like the webdevelopers toolbar - but I wouldn't expect mozilla to  
start shipping it as default - it is unnecessary possibly confusing  
fluff for the rest of the userbase.

Peter Westwood
http://blog.ftwr.co.uk | http://westi.wordpress.com
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