OpenID & Microformats in WordPress

The good news is that Will Norris is making progress with his openid plugin. Once he puts up a release, I’m probably going to give it a try.

The bad news is that the wordpress bug database still lists as a main reason to not support openid that support is provided by third party plugins. I think this is rubbish.

First of all, they’ve broken those plugins several times with wordpress updates. Secondly, the reason they break is that authentication is rather critical to how wordpress security works (i.e. it is kind of non trivial to do properly). This is why I’d like first class support for OpenID rather than second class we currently get. And finally most of the plugins appear to be abandon-ware (they once were excellent hobby projects but people seem to have moved on with their lives) and there are no release quality openid plugins for wordpress 2.2 and higher. Will Norris seems to have adopted one of the abandoned plugins (which is very nice of him) but as discussed, I’d prefer a bit more structural solution in terms of support, testing and integration. What I’d really like is the wordpress guys getting off their ass and provide first class support for openid like the Drupal guys are doing. I hope his plugin will get some nice exposure and will eventually be picked up by the wordpress guys as something to properly integrate into wordpress.

In general, the wordpress people seem to be a bit reluctant to pick up new blog technology lately. For example, I’m using the barthelme theme which supports a number microformats and semantically structured html. Barthelme basically provides searchengines, microformat plugins and other semantic tools with a shitload of hooks to extract information from the blog. That is sort of hidden for ordinary users but kind of rapidly becoming crucial to the whole notion of web 2.0 Sorry for sounding superficial, I hate this 2.0 bullshit as much as anyone (forget about a web20 tag on this site).

Tag support in wordpress is a nice first step and it should be noted that they do it properly. Also, there seem to be patches in the bug database for hcard and hatom support. It would be great if these changes actually make it into 2.4 instead of just floating around (like they’ve been doing for some time). Also nice would be extending atom feed support to the default template. This still defaults to listing only rss feeds, despite the fact that Atom Pub has prominently featured on the last few wordpress release notes (2.2.2 and 2.3) and that backend support for Atom 1.0 feeds has been present for quite some time now. Guys: It’s just one line of text to fix! Get it in already!

3 Replies to “OpenID & Microformats in WordPress”

  1. As for microformats, that’s all in the theme you choose. I’m working on moving my site from K2 to Sandbox, which also has extensive microformat support. hcard and hatom support would require change to the core product, just for the WordPress team to ship more microformat-friendly themes by default. And I do believe that is being discussed.

    As for native OpenID support, I can also understand their apprehension to making it a core feature. One thing they could do however, is provide a little better authentication API. I don’t really know what that would look like, but I recently wrote an authentication plugin for MovableType 4, and it was quite nice. Mark Jaquith (now a core WP developer) has been very helpful with my OpenID plugin and has been quite open to adding new hooks that would make things easier. I haven’t taken him up on that yet, as I haven’t had time to think it through all the way, but I think that would probably be the better approach. With a more stable API, there’d be much less chance of things breaking between versions of WP.

    In the meantime, anyone who feels strongly about this type of stuff is certainly encouraged to pitch in. Most of the errors with my OpenID plugin are environment related, so I don’t see a lot of the errors that others do. That’s why it’s so important to have as many people helping with the beta testing as possible… to test it in all kinds of different environments. I wouldn’t expect you or anyone to install the plugin on your main blog until a stable release has been made, but it’s not difficult to setup a second WP installation to help with testing.

  2. Sorry for being unresponsive and thanks for your comments.

    The theme I’m using comes from the same site as sandbox and I love the way it integrates microformats.

    Hcard and hatom indeed require some core changes to the theme Right now the default theme gives the bad example of not using either microformat. Similarly the default theme continues to ignore atom feeds (which is actually supported quite well). My frustration with the way wordpress handles these issues is the fact that it has been discussed for ages, is quite easy to fix and the apparent lack of interest for changes like this. What caused me to write the post above is this wontfix tag that was used on the openid bug.

    BTW. I greatly appreciate the hard work you are doing on your wordpress plugins.

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