Momma Says Spock You OUT.
I attended the Philly Geek Awards two weeks ago and had a great time. (If you don’t blink, you can see me in the background sporting my kilt at a couple of moments in the video above.) I was there representing WordCamp Philly for Local Event of the Year (we didn’t win, alas).
If you get a chance, the animations used to introduce each award category are also well worth a watch.
All in all, it was a top-flight event and I am looking forward to the 2013 incarnation with excitement.
After I published my previous post detailing the proposed Theme Hook Alliance, I decided to put virtual pen to virtual paper and started the themehookalliance project over on github. A couple of train rides later, I feel like I’m ready for folks to start commenting on it.
So please, if this effort interests you in the slightest, head over to github, comment away, fork and submit pull requests. I’d love to get this effort kicked off and under way.
*Or at least it shouldn’t be used as such
Due to this straightforward way of thinking, ENTJs tend to have the greatest difficulty of all the types in applying subjective considerations and emotional values into the decision-making process.
-From the Wikipedia article on ENTJs
I’ll be up front: I’m an ENTJ.
Anyone who has ever taken a Keirsey Temperament Sorter or an MBTI type assessment knows that the usefulness for truly revealing deep insight into one’s character of these tools is somewhere between “nicely illuminating” and “not much better than this morning’s horoscope”. There’s very little causation chocolate in that correlative peanut butter, at least in my opinion. However, there are some valuable nuggets that can be used for self-introspective purposes.
For instance, check that blockquote above. What that basically means is that ENTJs tend to be black and white thinkers. What it also means is that they tend to have difficulty in empathizing with others’ emotional positions. This (can) lead to three decided downsides for both the ENTJs and those who have to deal with them:
Practically, this can result in me making decisions whose logic and expected outcome make perfect sense to me, yet leave others either scratching their heads or actively insulted. If I manage to succeed in these endeavors, the slights tend to get forgotten (for the time being), while if I fail, my previous shortcuts tend to make a bad situation worse.
I’ve been blessed to have a wife who is an INFJ and who is willing to call me on my failings, albeit in a loving way. “Do you know how you came across when you said [X]?” is a common refrain from her and, while probably a good 75% of the time the answer is “No, I don’t know”, I am getting better at grokking these situations in aggregate.
So how does this apply to Twitter? I’ll tell you: the frictionless ease with which one can share one’s thoughts on Twitter means that I can say insensitive stuff and insult people in real-time all across the world and not even realize it. To top it off, I’m even less sensitive to others when under stress and/or short on sleep. Given that
yesterday was probably a day I should’ve simply taken off vis-a-vis Twitter. Alas, I didn’t, and I managed to tick a few people off when trying to forcefully advocate for my own positions.
Thus, to those I have previously offended: I ask your forgiveness for any insult I have caused. For those I will undoubtedly offend in the future: I’m not asking for a license to insult, but please realize that I probably don’t know how I’m coming across to you, I probably should’ve taken a moment or two before shooting my mouth off, I will (almost certainly) feel bad once I realize what I’ve done. So, please, know that if I insult you, it’s probably because I didn’t take enough time to truly recognize the fact that you’re another human being and not a Risk piece to be influenced, a severe character defect that I’m trying, with God’s grace, to stop doing.
Konstantin Kovshenin posted an interesting piece decrying WordPress theme frameworks1 and the extra amounts of work that they (can) require to get working Just The Right Way. Essentially, his complaint comes down to having to re-learn a system of hooks and filters in order to be cognizant of, if not competent with each of the frameworks in use. Konstantin calls out Genesis, which, to be frank, is the absolute best of the bunch2, as far as I’m concerned. Genesis, whenever and wherever possible, asks “What Would Core Do?” and then implements its innovations in a way as close to Core standards as is feasible.
I’ve actually been bothered by the same thing over time and have noticed that the net effect is that certain WordPress designers and even whole firms tend to pick at most 2-3 theme frameworks to specialize in. This leads to a bit of a “siloing” effect — designers and devs become experts in a certain way of doing things but ultimately end up being at least partly constrained by their choice of framework[s].
This also has the end effect of locking site owners into particular theme frameworks, making migrations and redesigns complicated and potentially expensive in terms of time and money.
So what can be done? I can see two approaches, the merits of which I will discuss below.
WordPress already has quite a few hooks available, in the form of both regular action hooks and an extensive variety of template tags. These provide developers and designers with a consistent set of entry points to target for theme and site customization. If we could convince upstream WordPress to define a standard set of theme hooks, theme authors could code to a Core-supplied benchmark which would allow plugin developers greater opportunities to extend WordPress in new and better ways. Further, this would allow users in general to more easily change their theme-of-choice.
There are (at least) three decided downsides to this approach.
While the actual size of the additions would likely be small (in terms of kilobytes added to the download), there’s no denying that additional hooks would greatly increase the complexity of the underlying code.
This option makes more sense to me. As I pointed out, these hooks are something that various and sundry theme development shops have taken to implementing on their own because they want more and/or different capabilities than WordPress template tags and action hooks offer by default. Heck, I have quite a few hooks on offer in Elbee Elgee for precisely this reason (all prefixed with
lblg_, of course).
By taking this task out of the hands of the WordPress Core, we would gain quite a few advantages:
A simple first step would be to agree upon a standard prefix/namespace for Theme Hook Alliance hooks. I might suggest
tha_ as a good place to start. I would also suggest a few simple hooks whose purpose should be quite obvious, such as
Again, that’s just a sampler. I think there are a ton of other points of articulation that would be invaluable.
So, who’s with me in this idea? Am I crazy? Does anyone else see any utility? Who wants to argue over the utility of
2“the bunch”, here, meaning “commercial and/or widely-used theme frameworks”.
3Do you smell what the Rock is cookin’?
4Yes, I know: gallery shortcodes and widget headers. Please don’t write.
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