Support » Everything else WordPress » A few observations on template tags

  • In a couple of responses now, I’ve noticed a tendency to suggest ‘hack the PHP files!’ in order to customise a blog, before exhausting the possibilities of the template tags. I suppose that’s inevitable, because most of the people here are coming from a tech background and it’s quicker for them to go straight to the source, rather than experiment with or root around for documentation of a call that might be useful. But I worry that if a 1.0 release is imminent, we’re going to see more users who a) don’t know much, if anything, about PHP and b) would like to know how the tags work, what you can do with them, how much customisation they allow, etc. If people think they can’t customise their blogs without delving into the PHP they’ll go running to MT; even though WP is much more straightforward to install and use.
    Personally, I’d be happy to wait a little longer for 1.0 if it meant that the readme was going to document every tag fully; for example, the current CVS version really didn’t resolve my questions about the plethora of tags calling the links, since it only defines get_links_list and that isn’t even the tag used in index.php. I know the design emphasis, here, is upon using CSS to alter the appearance of a blog without having to get one’s hands dirty with HTML. But some users are going to want to be able to do exactly that — to slot the WP tags into their own designs — and it seems to me they’re entitled to expect (from a 1.0 version, at any rate) adequate documentation of those tags.
    I’ve looked at the wiki and the docs section, and a lot of progress has been made since I first raised this issue; but I suspect the majority of end users would rather have a clear explanation of the links calls than a sales pitch or a tutorial on Geo-URLs, useful though those things are. For me, it’s a catch-22; I’d love to help get the documentation up to scratch, rather than sitting on the sidelines complaining, but until the documentation’s up to scratch I just don’t have enough knowledge to do so.

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  • NTU,
    I, too, would like to know and understand the guts of WP. I personally have only just scratched the surface. I have a comment about the documentation–I have virtually no specific knowledge of PHP, MySQL, or the inner guts of WP, but I have some time and some energy which I have contributed to working on some of the documentation that I can do. In this way, I believe I can help free some time for the developers and maybe other highly technical contributors to work on the meatier stuff. Anything anyone can do to help, if only for a section of the documentation, is useful and relevant.
    As well, at some point, I see WP development “slowing” because the major functionality will be in place. This will give the crew more time for creating documentation as they won’t have to do so much coding. Matt has already said once that he can type documentation way faster than code, which makes sense.
    I believe that soon, your patience will be rewarded. Don’t hesitate to chuck your hat into the documentation wiki either. Many hands make small work.

    And if I could make a small comment here as the author of the useless GeoUrls tutorial *grin*. I’m using that as an example because when Matt asked for someone to do it, I rather brashly offered to do so. When I got into it, I realized I didn’t know one damn thing about geourls. (Not even how to implement them in my index page, and like Craig, I have no extensive (or even moderate) knowledge of PHP or mysql). My point is..I’d like to wait on docs, too. But what I realized with the geourls thing is that I am in fact capable of figuring things out, and even writing a howto about it, thereby making myself look like an expert when in fact I know nothing! How great is that? 🙂
    Really…pick a topic. Do a little research. Write up a little documentation on it, In the course of writing a howto, I promise…you’ll figure out lots of stuff you thought you needed someone else to write for you.

    Cena has done a LOT of work on the documentation project. She is the engine that keeps the rest of us going, in fact. 🙂 She went through the entire WP support site and indexed all of the posts, which helps to organise the documentation and provide a basis of where to start. If, for example, 75% of the posts were “how do I boil water?” then we know to focus there, first. We would only know this because of her work in organising the posts by topics.
    Kudos to Cena for working so hard and for her contributions to the community!

    Moderator Matt Mullenweg



    Seen ?
    It looks like some of the documentation wrote itself. 😉 (Thanks Chris!)

    hmm i could help out a little on the documentation bit, once i got my installation worked out.
    Perhaps some documentation for total newbies to this kinda stuff would be nice. Had to explain to friends a few times what a blog engine was and all.

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