Shortcodes were introduced in WordPress near the beginning of 2008, and ever since then blogging has never been the same (well, sort of). From dedicated plugins to built–in generators for themes, they have become ubiquitous with WordPress.
But, is that a good thing?
Most themes and plugins offer some sort of input mechanism to enter custom shortcodes to display content, it is then stylized with CSS and/or jQuery effects like tabbing, slides etc…
More often than not, your shortcode will look like this, in the most simplest of examples as provided by the default WordPress gallery function -
That, I can live with. However, take a look at this -
[sws_ui_tabs ui_theme="eggplant" size="50"][tabs_panel title="Test"]Test content [/tabs_panel] [tabs_panel title="Test 2"]Test content 2 [/tabs_panel] [tabs_panel title="Test 3"]Test content 3 [/tabs_panel] [/sws_ui_tabs]
The above code is produced from a popular premium shortcode plugin available on CodeCanyon.
I can see the benefit of using it once the content is published, as it does give a nice tabbed interface in the Post. But is it too much for an average user to “learn” in order to get some snazzy looking tabs? The potential to mess up a single bracket or quotation mark is high and will only give rise to unnecessary support requests, because 8/10 times…who reads instructions!
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Wasn’t the point of WordPress to simplify blogging and content management? This seems like a step back and confuses the new, light and the “just don’t have time to learn this stuff” type of user.
Even though most of the time you WILL find helpful shortcode generators within plugins and themes, the same cannot be said to edit and maintain the content. Imagine having more than one shortcode like that per Post!
It may seem fine to seasoned WordPress users, but try showing that to a person who just got into blogging, chances are they’ll stay without it.
Should They Be Done Differently?
My question to you is, should shortcode insertion (and the back-end presentation itself) be done differently. If so, how?
I would think they could be done via a separate meta box or even a separate “Shortcode” tab next to the Visual and HTML one.
Tell us what you think!