Something Amiss within WordPress

I’ve started compiling information and ideas for what I want to do with Broken Kode. The site is a constant evolution. Everytime I get into one of these I end up knowning that much more about WordPress, PHP, CSS and other web technologies. I also end up knowing and probably contacting various plugin authors around the world asking them why their beautiful plugin does this or the other. It’s how I learn, and I guess that’s why I like to dive into the design and coding of websites. Since this is my playground this is what gets hit first.

Originally I didn’t want to touch the design of the site for at least a year. However the actual site mandate outgrew the design and that was something honestly I didn’t actually think of. So what’s the deal now you ask? Well there are many new ideas I’d like to implement and the whole site shouldn’t take me more than a week to deal with coding-wise (friggin IE will probably take up more time fixing, but I’m more prepared now than I was a version ago so that’s reassuring).

However that’s not what this post is about. In doing my research I decided to see what new functionality I could actually provide to users and to the site in general. Where to start?

Well we’ve got the excellent BlogginPro and WeblogToolsCollection doing a bang up job day in, day put, providing us with the latest information about themes, plugins etc. Scripty Goddess has been very quiet of late, but I’m sure she’ll get back into it sooner or later. How about going to the Wp-plugin repository. Ok, so it’s not the easiest of things to download plugins from. Every file is seperate, and only in some cases do all files come as one whole zip file. What a shag, 15 plugins later and their respective readme files downloaded seperately, placed in their own folders for archiving, and I started thinking to myself… there’s something seriously lacking in the WordPress community.

That something is a well structured, fully searchable, design , coding and interview PORTAL. What I’m talking about is an actual graphical website that provides the latest WordPress information in such a way that makes it appealing. Tutorials and interviews could be active features of the site. The reason behind this is pretty apparent. You have one place to go to for information, articles, tutorials etc.

I would happily contribute the design of the website, and write an article a week for it. I’m sure I could persuade people (under penalty of death _) to contribute stuff to the site as well. Hell we could have a rolling RSS counter on the side that links directly to BlogginPro and WeblogToolsCollection as well.

Ideally speaking that is what the official WordPress website should be all about, alas it’s not my baby and I’m not the one fronting up the cash and time to run it and maintain it so Matt is obviously free to do as he pleases with the site. Just got me thinking is all.

I know people like James, Podz and others would be pretty good for this sort of thing. They’d really enjoy it I think, better sense of community. I dunno, maybe I’m just rambling here.

Structurally I guess it would be something akin to PixelSurgeon or Wired, although I would want more images involved, make it less boring.


  1. I was thinking something along the same lines myself the other day as I was browsing the WordPress forums. The forums aren’t exactly the most inviting place for those new to WP with no coding background. A place where information on WP could be broken to the lowest level and explained in a non-techy manor will only help WP grow. I’d be willing to help out in any way I could

    1 Sean
  2. I completely understand what you’re saying. Just finding a plug-in is hard enough. There are so many disparate locations for getting plugins. And, in many instances the various methods of displaying, packaging, documenting these plugins is muddled at best.

    I would be happy enough if a plugin was a single file with instructions for use included in the top comments. I’d prefer that to a separate plugin and readme.

    Oh, and if you were wondering about user functionality improvements you could provide? Please, if possible, subscribe-to-comments by email. :)

    2 Chris
  3. Generally, the WordPress site could use an overhaul. I mean the forum style is just ludicrously space-consuming and quite confusing to look at.

    My take: For things like this to happen in an open source environment, someone (you for instance), just has to sit down and do it. Then once it’s up and running, looking good and going well, talk to Matt about moving it to

    I’d happily contribute, as I definitely think the current options are less than stellar.

    3 Michael Heilemann
  4. I would be game as well, but Khaled… LESS images, say it with me:

    “Less images on websites is a good thing, less images on websites is a good thing…”

    Just repeat that until you either:

    a: believe it
    b: have been driven insane.

    Thanks for your attention.

    4 Chris J. Davis
  5. See as I wrote the whole ‘need more images’ I knew someone would come back at me :). What I actually meant was more images than the Wired website, which effectively has none. It’s just meant to make things slightly more funky I guess, actually have pictures, and make it like a fun place. Information is essential, but the images will make it special.

    I’m sure we’ll drum up a hell of a lot more interest in this…however I think we should finish of Shuttle first and then move onto the next big project,…or maybe we should launch these two initiatives together? Hmm maybe I should put this in an e-mail.

    Anyone else that wants to contribute to this, I’ll setup a mailing list and make it into a real community thing, all welcome.

    5 Khaled
  6. I’ll contribute. I don’t know how…but I need to give back somehow.

    6 zaque
  7. I definately agree with you Khaled. For the rank novice, isn’t an inviting place. And everything is far too widely spread, and thus not readily accessible.

    It needs reorganising and livening up so that it’s both visually and structurally appealing. I do agree that the fewer graphics there are the better it is, but a few graphics would certainly enhance it.

    7 Zenith
  8. Are you actually saying that you would convert your personal site into some kind of WP portal?

    I’ve yet to think about the whole idea and it probably might be better if I don’t say anything at all but as for the images: if you know what you’re doing use plenty of them! We’ve enough imageless, accessible, still-running-without-javascript, and boring websites already. And I’m sure you know what you’re doing when it comes to design.

    8 Sebastian Schmieg
  9. I still run some commercial and demo WP blogs and I think this is a good idea which has been articulated many times before. Whoever did it would get a lot of support. And there is no need for it to be hosted or supported or approved by wp org. It could be time consuming for all involved but a lot of folk might chip in.

    9 Root
  10. Khaled, I think I know where you’re going regarding images. Maybe. Perhaps images would make the place slightly more inviting. Nothing brash. Something cool (temperature wise).

    Anything that would alter the tone of the site to date. Presently, for me, it’s always seemed somewhat user hostile. Unintentionally, of course, but still.

    Also, shouldn’t the WordPress site really stand out as a poster child for what is possible with WordPress? Currently it doesn’t even come up to the visual standards of a default install.

    Also, (damn I’m getting way too into this) the front page while it does have relevant information is written (I think) in too familiar and casual a style. I’d prefer to see a simple opening para explaining what WordPress is. I’d skip the usual “semantic personal publishing system” language. That’s fine for geeks but “semantic system.. wha???” Not many people really know what that word even means. It sounds like market-engineer speak. Save that for the extended explanation.

    Then rather than having links sprinkled through a paragraph talking about screenshots and development why not link to real sites using WordPress. I know Matt keeps track of the various types of sites. Rather than screenshots of the interface why not screenshots of what’s possible with WordPress right up front? Let people know what they too can do in a matter of minutes.

    And, rather than boosting the support forums, boost the community aspect. The support forums, really, aren’t the place for most people in their current state. Instead there should be a brief list of precise examples of how the community works together. Then a link to a Support page that lists not only the support forums but the codex and IRC as well.

    The current support tab just dumps you into the forum. And that is a mess. firstly, why is the search input off in the dark corner? It should be huge, well margined, centered, and the first thing you see. When you go to a support forum you want answers to a specific question not to aimlessly click tags that mean nothing until you’ve already half answered your own question.

    Also, looking at the tabs, why are they written in geek short hand? “Dev Blog”, “Docs”, “Hosting”? I’d suggest just “Developers”, “Documentation”, “Hosting Options”.

    Anyway, just a few thoughts. This is what happens at 3 in the morning when I should be working on my own site.

    10 Chris
  11. I would love to help out. Any way I can give back to the community is the way I want to go. Thanks!

    11 IBloon
  12. Hey now Sebastian, just because there are no images, doesn’t mean a design is boring, just as the fact that if a design has images doesn’t mean it has to be in-accesable.

    12 Chris J. Davis
  13. Sebastian, no Broken Kode will always be my playground for words, I’m hoping to come up with a seperate site, not sure what to call it, and like Michael said, if Matt sees the benefit (which hopefully will be the case) then we port it over to the main WordPress site.

    Honestly Root I don’t think I could handle the amount of traffic this site could potentially get. The way I see it, this portal will be the first place WordPress users visit in the morning after having a look a their own blog.

    It’s a tall order for sure, but at the same time it’s something that needs to be done, to make all our lives easier I think.

    As for images vs just text, I think to make softer to the newbie user it should have more colour, and seem as though it’s a very cool place to hang around and eventually be a part of.

    I guess that’s what these initiatives are all about, being part of a community that can actually help make the product bigger and better, while at the same time providing for the little guy that hasn’t got any idea what the deal is to get stuck right in.

    I’m going to sort a new page for this, and sort out a discusion mailing list for it as well. Good to see there is support for this.

    You raise some good points Chris, will be good to see your input into this when I get this mailing list set up.

    13 Khaled
  14. Chris, of course I was exaggerating and you’re right ;-)

    Khaled, that’s good to hear that Broken Kode will be untouched.
    I think I understand your need to create something new, something more complete than a personal blog. And it’s very noble that it is meant to be something for “the community”. However do you think you will still be as motivated when it’s finished as your now? When there’s hardly any work for a designer left? If yes, then go ahead and I will be happy to help out whit the designing stuff — if my help is wished
    As for the whole thing I’m a bit torn apart. On one hand I think this comes at a bad time when there seems to be a lot of bad vibes regarding WP (mainly the forums) but on the other hand I think this could be a fresh start.

  15. I am really with all you guys on this. Lets not split up over the design issues. I am going to leave that to the experts. The truth is the WP community is crying out for this. That is not a criticism - but a small org cant do everything itself. And a collaborative self determining resource could be very powerful. All it needs is a leader. Khaled gets my vote. Just ask and I will contribute. Other than the forum there is nowhere to hang out. Incidentally I own

    15 Root
  16. Sebastian, ah you see I see this as something like this, we all sit around and design the ultimate wordpress portal, having all the bells and whistles we’d all like to actually use on a regular basis.

    We’d design this to be as future proof as possible, in terms of whenever we want to add anything onto etc, and then when that’s done, I’d act as I dunno editor or something contacting various prominent people around the wp community (who are legion) and getting them to add even the most simple of things, from a tutorial to a mini interview, whatever, in order to get some sort of place that is ours and reminds us what it means to be part of an online community.

    I’m setting up the page and mailing list right now so we’ll have something to move forward with and have all of this documented properly that we can search later on etc. I’ve learnt from the Shuttle development that this is actually one of the best ways to get information thrown around and catalogued in a proper way.

    16 Khaled
  17. Let me know how I can help out with this.

    17 Clyde
  18. Ohhhh I want to play too!

    18 Jennifer
  19. Khaled,
    Just arrived here as a result of your posting over at Root’s site. I’m very intrigued by your post and I’m glad to see that you have had some positive positive feedback on the concept. It’s something like this that might pique my interest in WordPress once again. I guess the challenge for me would be to find people who might be interested in working with me. I feel like a bit of a WP pariah these days, but perhaps that is just a perception of my own creation.

    I’m glad to hear that Shuttle is still moving forward. It will mean a whole lot to WordPress to have a truly effective set of admin tools that address some of the current issues.

    19 craig