Threaded Comments Plugins and 2.7
I can’t seem to find info on this anywhere:
If a 2.7-compatible template supports threaded comments, will people who are currently using older versions of WordPress with a threaded comments plugin (like Brian’s Threaded Comments) be able to upgrade their WP and have the new threaded comment feature maintain their existing threaded comments structure without the plugin? Or will older comments revert to a linear format, with only new comments post-upgrade enjoying the threaded layout?
I have not tried this myself, but since the method for creating threaded posts is different not only between plug-ins, but between those plug-ins and how WP handles it, you can guess that the database calls for the threading will not be compatible.
Hence you will – in all likelihood – have a flat comment system for all comments prior to your upgrade. Depending on how the plug-in was storing the comment relationships, once you disable it, some comments might disappear, appear out of sequence, or be generally wonky.
The WordPress team has found a way to incorporate many functions that were once plugins into their core code. And, usually, they’ve found a way to incorporate the unique ways that some of those plugins managed data. (Anyone remember how tagging was incorporated, for instance, and how it nicely imported plugin data structures from plugins like Ultimate Tag Warrior?)
Considering that threaded comments plugins are some of the most popular out there (especially Brian’s), I would think some method of conversion would exist eventually.
The question then is whether or not it exists now. That’s what no one seems to be talking about. It’s practically a Googlesmack, and no one is discussing it here despite threaded comments being a major piece of the 2.7 experience.
Does anyone who has actually used the 2.7 beta have any insights on this issue?
The way Brian’s Threaded Comments works revolves around a parent->child relationship between the comments. Each top-level comment has a list of children that are nested in a linear fashion with a reference to it’s immediate parent.
The new WordPress threaded comment system revolves around a series of functions that allow for similar parent->child relationships between comments. As a result, when you are replying to a nested comment, the system is aware of what comment you are replying to. This taxonomy is crucial to keeping track of which comment goes where. Without it, you have — a mess.
Secondary to the new WordPress comment posting system, is a walker function which allows you to traverse the comment database, and do neat things like proper pagination of long series of threaded comments.
To convert one system to the other, you will need to map the previous taxonomy to the new one. If you are unable to retain the relationships, the results will look like this:
Rather than the correct series of relationships which may be this:
| |___ child
| |___ child
Yes, there should be a way to do this. No it doesn’t exist, and the method for the conversion will be different between each of the threaded commenting plug-ins due to their different database setups. Make sense?
I have only tried this with WordPress Thread Comments, since that’s what I have run, but 2.7 picked up seamlessly from that one. If BTC uses similar database entries, then I presume it will work with that, too.
Actually, I remember I started out with BTC, and switched to WTC, and I think those two were interoperable, which is another hopeful indication.
Will add this for your perusal:
@branch: WordPress Thread Comments uses a system that grabs the comment’s parent ID from the wp_comments table (column comment_parent). BTC uses the same reference, so it should work just fine as well. 🙂
YATCP, which seems to borrow from BTC also uses comment_parent. AJAXed WP does the same. The fact that they all use the WP taxonomy is probably why there is no mention of a converter.
So there is the answer: If you’ve been using any of the four major threaded comment plug-ins, the transition from plug-in threaded comments to built-in should be seamless, as long as your theme supports it.
For me it kept the threaded structure I used to have with the Threaded Comment plugin. Phew!
What many do not realize, threaded comments is an excellent base for a forum like page.
Create a new page, with empty content or introduction to the forum. Enable comments on the page.
Create a plugin, or modify the theme to display the comments in a forum style by displaying only the parent comments (comments where parent is null).
When the user clicks on the comment title, you refresh with the commentid as a paramter and only render comments under this commentid (include commentid as the main topic).
This will be a beautiful feature! with some creativity, you can create multiple sections/areas.
The ability for comments to be threaded has been inherent in the database schema for a long time, even if it was not in the code. The “comment_parent” field was always intended to be a reference back to the comment number, allowing for threading.
So, assuming the plugins in question used that space for its intended purpose, then the threads will be maintained without doing a thing.
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