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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