[wp-hackers] Canonical integration into core

Mike Schinkel mikeschinkel at newclarity.net
Fri Feb 20 04:15:22 GMT 2009

"Matt Freedman" <speedboxer at gmail.com> wrote:
> Fixing a problem that WordPress doesn't create is not 
> something that should be in core, it's something for a 
> plugin to fix.

That's a very loaded statement as there are many things added to WordPress that fixed a problem WordPress "didn't create."

I'd actually really like to hear your justification for why this is a valid criteria?

> That link is nofollowed, so it shouldn't be an issue.

There are many other uses for links and consolidation of links than just search engine. Links are the currency of the web and being able to definitively determine that two URLs are equivalent is increasing in important with social media.  One example is services like Tinyurl and the Tweetback plugins that use them; they'd certainly like to know which URLs are equivalent.

rel="canonical" is emerging Internet infrastructure and *should* be included in every CMS app core; WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, et.al. The more sites that use it the more opportunities are enabled that require the ability to equate different URLs. WordPress should, IMO, be in the category of making postive things happen on the web whenever it's not too hard and doesn't create any significant downside for users. This is one of those cases.

> The canonical link tag and HTTP are completely different 
>  things, and can't be used for comparison. HTTP is a protocol 
> very necessary to the Internet, the canonical tag is not 
> necessary for a stock WP install with paged comments turned 
> off.

HTTP and rel="canonical" are both part of the very complex environment in which WordPress operates, the Internet. It is complete valid to use HTTP as a comparison. Your assertion is like saying you can't compare the red paint job between a car and a truck because one is a car and the other is a truck. 

> There is no reason for this tag to be useful for any case 
> that WordPress creates (again, with the exception of paged 
> comments), so this tag should not be enabled by default.

Sorry, you can't prove a negative.  Besides, there are numerous reasons that I've already mentioned (Digg, Delicious, TinyURL, my own hypothetical link collection app) where there are good reasons for this tag. 

That said, rather than continuously debate this subject can those of us currently recognize the benefit get together to discuss how to best apply this to WordPress core?  I think if we do that the others will also start to recognize those benefits we already see.

-Mike Schinkel

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