WordPress post formats feature: a brief introduction

WordPress Post Formats. Image courtesy of Greg Rickaby/GregRickaby.com.

Check out this impressive array: WordPress Post Format Eye-Candy: Tumblr Style Theme Inspiration Showcase by Kym Huynh at WordCast. The problem those site designs solve is inherent in WordPress, which will permit the posting of many types of information. Just text alone – WP is ready to accept haiku-or-shorter-length compositions, documents long enough to require pagination, lists, lots of white space, no white space – lots.

This is a problem when – for instance – the post title is very large – and the post body itself is very short. It’s  not pleasing to the eye  – and not an efficient use of screen space. Such as

An h2 post title which sits atop a very short post

A very  short post.

There is a feature now available for theme authors called “post formats.”  Here’s the WP Codex entry on “Post Formats.” And here are some other excellent resources.  At present – if I understand things correctly – only  the Genesis theme framework from StudioPress uses this feature, and so far not in every theme. (One nice theme that uses most or all of the formats is Tapestry).


From Greg Rickaby, a designer who works mostly with the Thesis Theme and with the aforementioned Genesis, these posts:

From Andrew Nacin, a WP Core Developer, and excellent elucidator of WordPress and other issues),   On standardized post formats gives some insight on how this evolved, and reminded me not to take for granted the people who labor over open-source apps and who generally are not rewarded in a way remotely proportional to their efforts. Mr. Nacin points out that this is still a work in progress, and

Are there flaws? Yes. There are a few confusing factors here. One, as Mark [Mark Jaquith - see MarJaquith.com, and/or this post] suggests, a ‘custom post type’ is a horrible name for what it really is. Ironically, the best name for ‘post formats’ (trust me, we pulled out our thesauruses for this one) would have been ‘post types.’ Then there’s the confusion where some have used the term ‘custom post formats’ even though they’re not talking about custom ones at all — probably because of confusion around the similar-sounding ‘custom post types’ term.

To point out another example – an “aside” for these purposes, appears to be defined as a post without any title ir caption, and below a certain length. In one theme I tested, it was clear that, less than one complete line of text, and the post stayed as an “aside.” But when I added five lines additional copy, WP – or the theme – in any case, automatically – switched the radio button from “aside”to “standard.” One assumes that eventually themes will come with  some documentation about the limits of formats – perhaps some control over them. But – even as is, this feature is an enormous step forward in WordPress’s trajectory towards being even more flexible without the average user touching code. My point  is that while this feature is likely to get rapidly better, even as is it’s  an outstanding improvement.  How hard it is to incorporate into an existing theme I couldn’t  say.

Last,post types and formats and taxonomies, oh my! from Otto on WordPress.

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