This guest blog post was written by Andrew Rickmann ,, author of the blog Fun with WP ..
There’s a lively discussion on the wp–hackers mailing list about core plugins. Although the discussion seems to have drifted slightly from the point, the main suggestion was that WordPress should provide a set core plugins so that APIs not required by all users are available in a standard form. This idea has been extended to include features.
I have always wanted core WordPress plugins since the day I began using “The Blog Platform that Shall Not be Named”. These plugins are used to great effect by TBPTSNBN, which allows it to be lean and still offer a large number of features. It’s just not possible with WordPress.
Throughout the discussion, posters discuss content that core doesn’t think is appropriate. This is a key issue with WordPress. The core philosophy has allowed more content to be added, while users continue to ask for more. Core team acts as gatekeepers, stopping content that isn’t useful from being added to the core.
Adding core plugins to your ideas will make them more accessible. Is this not enough for core? Perhaps a core plugin? It still needs to be developed by someone. WordPress expects it to meet certain standards. WordPress is limited in its ability to produce quality plugins. It will eventually suffer a lot.
It would not surprise me if core plugins start to get out of date, and that would be worse then having none at all.
This also implies a lot of arguing about ideas. Users will often demand something that is possible but not what they know how to do. This does not mean a feature, but the ability to display certain content within a theme. Because the core team will need constant explanations of why idea x is better left to the developers than a core plugin, they will be even less time.
It will also heal all the old wounds.
WPTavern was buzzing a few days back with discussions about the necessity for a user interface to disable post-revisions .. This is the best core plugin feature. Although most users don’t use it or want it it is an essential feature for WordPress as a content management system.
How many features will developers be forced to put into a plugin rather than in the core? How much time will it take to argue about each one? How much time can you waste modifying old features without any progression?
No. It just isn’t possible. It is partly due to the above points, but also because WordPress’s fundamental philosophy doesn’t permit it.
WordPress can be used as a consumer product. It was designed to be a complete product that other people can plug in, and not a set of components that can be combined to make a whole. WordPress is constantly updated to meet community needs. I don’t think there’s any need to spend time developing WordPress to be an easy-to-use product, but a blog kit’ that allows optional components to be turned off or added.
I could be wrong. Maybe the developers would be willing to do it. Modularizing can bring great benefits, but I fear that there could be some downsides. Just in case I get the things I want, I won’t be too harsh about it.