Post Formats and WordPress 3.6

I found some confusion in an interesting discussion over on WordPress Tavern around Post Formats:

I used post formats for a few months on and I’ve made a few conclusions. The first is that post formats encourage short form content. Not only is short form content easy to do, it also promotes creating a fire hose of content. The second, the majority of people were reading via their favorite feedreader. Feedreaders don’t display content the same as a website. Third, some of the formats I selected displayed on the home page without a post title or an ability to comment. I think this had more to do with how my theme was displaying the formats more than anything else. Last but not least, I started treating post formats as categories.

Here are my thoughts and response republished:

As Chip has described, the concept of a “format” really just started as supported taxonomy to allow theme developers to apply consistent treatment across any blog (instead of one theme using post meta, one using a category, etc.).

Jump forward to (the in-progress) version 3.6 of WordPress and everyone has come to the same conclusion and realized there is more nuance and potential. What if this is a video post and my theme wants the video on top of the content and her theme wants it below? Standardized meta1 on that allows for more interesting things and the ability to solve more interesting problems.

To Rob’s point, the initial implementation was confusing, but we (Crowd Favorite) created the FavePersonal theme and the Post Formats UI plugin because if we standardized on meta and fields, we could do fun stuff in the loop views, single views, and feed very easily (eg: put a full width image on the single view of “Image” posts and drop the sidebar, replace the permalink in the feed with the “Link URL” a la Daring Fireball or other linkblogs, etc.).

Hopefully this leads to more interesting uses of WordPress in the near future…

  1. I don’t think the PressThis bookmarklet has done us a good long-term service here because now some display is coupled to the_content and for others the theme itself.