Post Formats in WordPress

Alex King from Crowd Favorite has recently posted an article on something they’ve been working on together with the team — a better Admin UI for Post Formats. Alex talks about a plugin that adds a more intuitive and meaningful user interface to post formats in WordPress.

It’s basically a set of tabs added to the edit post screen in the admin panel and when switching between tabs, extra controls are added to the screen for more control over the specific post format.

Currently WP-Post-Formats supports standard posts, statuses, links, images, galleries, videos and quotes. Did they miss anything? Yup — asides, which nobody really understands yet except for Matt Mullenweg ;) Anyhow, we at Theme.fm decided to give the plugin a go and it turned out to be quite amazing!

Alex King and Crowd Favorite: WordPress Post Formats

Post formats themselves were inspired from Tumblr and now with this plugin the UI becomes more simple and user friendly. The only problem I see with Alex’s approach is the meta data storage. Take quotes for example. WP-Post-Formats gives two extra fields — source name and source URL, which apparently are stored in the meta fields for the current post.

Now the problem is that if the running WordPress theme does not take advantage of this post meta, they’re never seen anywhere, except the admin UI. Plus, if the plugin’s disabled for some reason, oh well! Of course it’s a lot easier keeping the source name and URL outside the post content, but why not squeeze it inside? Use extra HTML comments tags to outline the quote and some basic HTML markup between the tags. Like this:

<!--wp-post-formats: quote-start-->
<blockquote>
    If you can't make it good, make it a least look good.
    <cite><a href="#source-url">Bill Gates</a></cite>
</blockquote>
<!--wp-post-formats: quote-end-->

A comment to the quote can go somewhere here, maybe some extra links
or a short discussion about what has been said in the quote.

And parse it in and out each time it is loaded and getting the wp-post-formats comment behave like the more tag in WordPress. That way the quote is stored inside the post content, does not rely on the plugin or any other post meta data. Will work in every (good) WordPress theme and will show up in things like RSS feeds and XML-RPC requests without any extra work. I call that a little bit more native.

Post Formats Quote

Also, changing the post title to the quote content is not the best idea. It’ll create duplicate wording in most WordPress themes, while omitting the title is fine, since the guidelines state that themes should display posts without titles as good as the rest.

Anyhow, as Alex points out, pull requests are more than welcome. The project is open source and hosted on GitHub so feel free to watch, fork and submit issues. We really love the current implementation and looking forward to see where it’ll be taken several months from now. Can this possible be an addition for WordPress 3.4? We’ll find out. Thanks for reading and staying tuned!