I have been using a lot of custom fields in the past six months to bring databases online through WordPress. Now we are finding out that Custom Post Types in WordPress 3.0 may do away with Custom Fields in our Posts.
The fact is using Custom Fields can be a drudgery but a very important part of deploying content.
A Custom Field can allow the site owner to include a variety of special field that can be easily updated or imported from databases. For instance a shop owner that uses WordPress can use custom fields to hold prices, available stock or any other of a variety of things that allow them to display their data to their visitors. Complex data sets are not the only reason to use custom fields many plugins rely on them to verify processing of a post such as a tweet of your post when it is published or a rating that a user may give of your content.
Many years ago I used Drupal and found that the data was locked to what drupal developers consider a plugin but most users considered a main feature the CCK. It got to a point a few years ago were there were some serious security improvements in a new release and the CCK was not being updated for months so I exported my sites bit the bullet and moved to WordPress…
Now I am at the point where my sites are deployed in WordPress and it seems the codebase is going through another radical change.
I seriously hope that any transition away from Custom Fields won’t happen like the decision to remove ID’s from the dashboard…. in the dark of the night with no notice to end users.
When Development time is equal to or larger then the time spent actually making content this is where the line is drawn for most users…
I have a bad feeling the 3.0 codebase is going to be a real serious step for all of us to adjust to.. some people won’t want to continue if the redeployment time is equal to a transition to a different platform even if that means a end user designed platform.
I have considered many times why I even take that next step from grabbing a CSV MDB or XML Database … dumping it into MySQL and then preparing it for importation to WordPress.. why not just keep it in the database and write my own code to allow new posts…
The reason is extendability.. well that is the reason now.. but then again I have that decision do I need to use a Sociable or GoogleMaps or Akismet plugin so bad that I am willing to go through not only importation … but a transition that will take more time to process … then the time I spend making content..
This is a serious consideration Matt needs to decide.
Hopefully since I have not been downloading beta it will be smooth.
If not then everyone who isn’t a 16yo girl running a hello kitty / Hannah Montana site will need to decide which direction they move…
Fine Grain Control vs dumping it all in the_content is what many users need.
The new version of WordPress is not only a merger of WordPress MU and WordPress.org but will introduce a number of new features along with modifying how developers now deploy their sites.
Matt and others with the introduction of Twitter on the market are pushing buddy press and introducing more complexity into the backend but if that is not followed with transition planning across the board not just for simple blog users who scroll pages instead of developing fully functional sites then WordPress is walking away from CMS and more toward the larger audience that simply want to have an online diary.
We will see.