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automattic-youve-just-got-to-stop-this-crap-now
Automattic: You’ve Just Got To Stop This Crap, Now!

November 20th, 2008 by harknell

Ok, I have to admit something. I’ve purposely been avoiding looking at WordPress 2.7. After all of the mess that’s been characterized by the last few releases of WordPress (and by mess I mean the constant interface changes, constant Plugin structure changes) I really didn’t want any more negative opinions about the direction things are going with WordPress.

But I went and downloaded the Beta 3 version today.

Goddammit, why do you have to go and do these things Automattic? The admin interface is a damn mess now. WHO THE HELL ARE YOU PAYING TO GIVE YOU THIS BAD ADVICE ON DESIGN?????

Seriously, is the intention to make it harder and more inconvenient to administer your site? Every update to the admin interface places things in more and more difficult places. The idea that you need to scroll vertically to get to things seems to be ingrained now. Guess what guys, most laptops now are WIDESCREEN, and a large percentage of your audience is using them primarily as their main computer. Placing links across the top of the screen makes way more sense that way down a page vertically.

And changing the jargon, terminology, and placement for sections every release is a plain crappy idea. What will we be calling Manage, Design, Appearance, etc. next release guys? Or will we actually have Manage again or now keep pages and posts separate?

Sure makes it real easy for us Plugin developers to maintain compatibility between releases guys–and yes, there are reasons why people don’t update fast or ever, and they aren’t all bad reasons.

I’m really tired of this mess. While I’m obviously capable of making the changes to the code needed for these constant interface changes, It’s becoming less and less worth it to me to do it for anything but my own sites and not bother updating general release Plugins like the ones I host here.

Here’s a clue: Plugin structure is meant to be a set up to allow people to reliably make additions to your basic system that will last over time. You don’t break this idea every release arbitrarily. If so, then that’s called a new version release, not a point release (so 3.0 is okay, but 2.7 is definitely not).

This is basic stuff. Please, let’s get with the program and not keep roiling users, Plugin creators, and Theme editors constantly, it’s getting a bit old now.

Posted in Critical!, Software Updates, Website Administration, Wordpress Plugins, Wordpress Theme | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Automattic: You’ve Just Got To Stop This Crap, Now!”

  1. Preach it, brother! I can’t imagine what kind of hell these constant major overhauls are for you. I hope you don’t lose faith. Your plug-ins rock.

    René

  2. Moof says:

    I came looking for a possible upgrade … because when I upgraded WP to 2.6.3 today, the Awsom news I’d already formatted and saved – disappeared. I wanted to know if I’d done something wrong … or if it doesn’t work well with that version of WP … or … if upgrading to a new WP version somehow makes Awsom forget what had already been entered …

    Anyway, I couldn’t help but read your post … and OMG do I ever agree with you! WP seems to be deliberately getting worse and worse. I’m very tired of trying to find what vanished to where, and having my plugins stop working for no apparent reason.

    If they don’t get a clue, they’re going to be replaced by their competition …

  3. Luke Gedeon says:

    WordPress has not been that good at going out and getting user feedback in years past, but a few months ago they did get a clue and have hired someone to work on the user interface, and specifically to get feedback from the community.

    Those of us who have been keeping up with the dev and design process of the new release are generally happy with the changes being made.

    It is strange that you mentioned wide-screens. I am using a wide-screen also and because of that would rather give up a little real-estate on the left than at the top of the screen. Especially since the left-menu can be collapsed to icons.

    As for version numbers I completely agree this should be called version 3.0 but this is semantics so I am not going to fight them over it.

    Yes, there are good reasons for waiting to upgrade most software and there are good reasons to stay at the bleeding edge. It depends on your needs.

    Personally I am happy to move on past the mistakes of 2.5 and 2.6 but if you want to freeze your plugins at 2.6 compatibility I am sure you will have plenty of people happy to find plugin that work with the version they are still running.

    I just wish it was a little easier to filter plugins based on the version of WP that they work with.

  4. harknell says:

    Hi Luke,
    My main problem right now is the team you mention that Automattic hired has now created apparently 2 different interface looks that aren’t even remotely similar, so which one was really what people wanted?

    The problem with vertical is that you many times need to actively scroll to get to things. In the classic interface you rarely had to do this, so the interface now seems to take longer to do things than before–not an upgrade. In many ways it does look like they are trying to hide things, which is goofy.

    The version numbering just points out to me that they have a weird desire to go their own way just to be different. No really good reason to do it, just doing it to be difficult. It’s confusing and meaningless the way they are doing it.

    While I would love to be a slacker and stop supporting my plugins, I’m too stupid to do that and will keep updating them. So there will be new versions released soon.

  5. Luke Gedeon says:

    The interface used in 2.5 and 2.6 was done by an outside consultant group or something, without any input from users. I did not like that one because it had such a huge header I had to scroll down to get to just about anything, and the Write page never seemed to fit.

    2.7 is the first version done with user input.

    I can definitely see where it could get frustrating if you are always using the bottom half of the menu (which as a dev, that is where you are going to be), but if you think about it 80% of users are going to spend most of their time in the top half.

    Also when you collapse the menu to icons you get a little pop-out sub-menu for each main menu. This gives the maximum screen real-estate, eliminates scrolling, and is still faster/easier than clicking on a top-level menu, waiting for the page to load and then clicking on a second-level menu, which was the method before 2.7.

    I am starting to sound like a shill, but I just think they are finally headed in the right direction, after a pretty rough detour earlier this year.

  6. harknell says:

    Hi Luke,
    In many ways I’m not debating the actual usefulness of the new interface. What I’m mostly having a problem with is the continual changes. I have little faith that this new admin will be the “final”. Version 2.8 might very well be a new redesign and so on.

    The plugin changes are also bothersome. Please, I hope they have a design meeting, get their basic paths/api set and not make any new changes other than additions.

    The constant changes are the problem.

  7. Luke Gedeon says:

    Yeah, I hope they stick with the 2.7 design for a while. I think they would have stuck with the 2.5 design if there had not been such a huge outcry against it.

    As for changing the plugin interface, I am afraid I don’t have great news there. From all I have read the main focus of 2.8 will be on upgrading the media interface. That is your area right?

    It could be an opportunity, though, to get involved and make sure they do it right.

    My biggest hope on that is that they don’t lock you into a single option for media. This is a very important area for plug-ins because you can really bloat your code to give everyone the features they want and most of them I would not even use. But I want to make sure it is easy to add the features that I will use.

  8. Luke Gedeon says:

    Looks like they have stuck with the 2.7 interface for three releases.

    Maybe some of the basics are starting to settle-down now.