Aug 19

Frustrating User Experiences: Wordpress Categories

Tech with tags: , 5 Comments »

I use Wordpress a lot, and love the product. But, when you are working with something every day, you see its quirks too, such as the Wordpress Media Upload.

This time though, I have to mention the categories system. In the latest and greatest 2.6.x branch, the admin console got rev’d quite a bit again, and the categories system now has this:

Wordpress Categories

There is some good thinking in here, such as having the “popular categories” filter, but having a huge list of check boxes in a very small area is painful indeed. Scrolling through the list to find the categories that you want it ugly.

The older version actually suited me quite a bit better:

Wordpress Categories Old

At least here you had the input text box on the top, so you could type in the items, and then you would see them selected and thrown at the top just to let you know. This was much better. The problem was the fact that a Google Suggest-like auto select wasn’t implemented, so you could get the category wrong… ending up with a new one being created. So close. If you were filtered as you typed I would be happy!

Tag, you’re it!

It turns out that the tag support does all of this. It auto completes for you, and works well enough indeed. I know that there are plugins that munge categories and tags, but maybe it is time for Wordpress to nuke one of them and just unify.

Aug 15

Frustrating User Experiences: Wordpress Media Upload

Tech with tags: , 6 Comments »

There is a feature that changes every Wordpress release, that always has me wanting to patch. The way media is uploaded never suits my needs. It wasn’t built for me. Back in the day, the upload used to happen on a separate admin page, and then it became inline to the post page itself.

The latest version drives me the most nuts. The problems that I have are frustrating as they take a two click scenario and make it a 10 click one!

My issues:

  • When you click on the media upload it flashes between the browser upload and the Flash one
  • The link URL is to the image itself, when I never want this. I want to link to either none, or to a Web page (the use case shown is for posting a small thumbnail that links to the full size picture)
  • The size defaults to medium, but I always want full size!
  • Insert into post doesn’t do what Blogger does (put it at the top), but rather nukes anything that you have written in your post and replaces it with the image. I have to remember to select-all and copy, then insert, and then copy back in. How often do you want to nuke content in there??
  • Weird classnames applied. I just want a border="0" and a href to the page of my choice.

If I could change the defaults I would be a lot happier. Having to hack the code (which gets more spaghetti each release in this area) is a pain, and a plugin can’t hook in there.

Wordpress Media Upload

May 27

Speed Up! with Wordpress and Gears

Gears, Tech with tags: 6 Comments »

I was sitting on the tube a few months ago in London when I looked up to see Matt Mullenweg, Om Malik, and another nice chap whose name escapes me. A little random to bump into them in the middle of London, but we were all in town for the “Future of Web Apps” conference. I had the fortune to chat with Matt a little about Gears and Wordpress. The marriage of which would make me a happy man as I use both technologies on a daily basis (this blog and Ajaxian both run Wordpress).

Brad Neuberg got to working with the Wordpress team, and after a short IRC session they had great progress. At first it can seem daunting “Oh man, won’t it be a ton of work to rewrite Wordpress to work offline?”

Speed Up!

This leads us to this post by James who did an “svn up” recently, and saw new support for Gears which lead to some pleasant surprises:

As a side note and introduction to what has been sped up, here’s a little rant.

I personally LOVE the changes that were implemented with WordPress 2.5.

But, some of the new features (and features I’ve just started using now that I use the Visual Editor) just aren’t as cool thanks to the not-so-great internet speeds in South Africa.

For example, if you want to create a link. Every time you click the link icon in the editor’s toolbar, it has to download the same stuff over and over…

Well, it looks to me like the WordPress Google Gears implementation has solved that. The link and the “insert embedded media” popups are now instantaneous!

Thank you to whoever decided to do this.

It also seems that switching between each “pane” in the admin section is a LOT faster… Believe me, working on the South African tubes (via iBurst), this makes a HUGE difference!

I am really proud of the Gears team whenever I open up Google Docs, Reader, Zoho, or any other application that uses Gears to let me access the application while offline. There have been situations where it really saved me, and offline is an important boundary.

However, Gears is so much more than offline, and it is really exciting to see “Speed Up!” as a link instead of “Go Offline?”

This is just the beginning. As the Gears community fills in the gaps in the Web development model and begins to bring you HTML5 functionality I expect to see less “Go Offline” and more “Speed Up!” and other such phrases. In fact, I will be most excited when I don’t see any such linkage, and the applications are just better.

With an embedded database, local server storage, worker pool execution, desktop APIs, and other exciting modules such as notifications, resumable HTTP being talked about in the community…. I think we can all get excited.

Kudos to the Wordpress team for finding a great way to increase the performance of their great application, and I can’t wait to see how you use Gears in the future.