Chris Jean proposed a standard loop at WordCamp Raleigh


Chris Jean, lead developer at iThemes, gave a presentation at WordCamp Raleigh last week called “Standardized Loop API: The Next Big Thing”. In it he proposed a new approach to including the WordPress loop in themes, and in turn interacting with it via plugins.

The recorded videos from Raleigh aren’t available yet, but you can review Jean’s slides, embedded just after the jump. You can also read more about his proposal at Loop Standard.

What do you think of Jean’s proposal? Is there room for innovation in the way the WordPress loop is implemented, and could you ever see something like this implemented into WordPress?

7 thoughts on “Chris Jean proposed a standard loop at WordCamp Raleigh

  1. I could swear there was at least another technical “is this the future of WordPress?” type of topic linked to from here earlier. If there are even more, that’d make a really good summary post, i.e. “Are these the futures of WordPress?”.

  2. all themes should use the same HTML code? I don’t think that’s a good idea. Drupal has a cool system caleld views which has a GUI for creating custom loops. and ithemes are working on a plugin that does something similar, so I think that’s what started this need for their new plugin to work with more themes

    • Paul,

      It’s not HTML code. It’s adding a function that allows another snippet of code (via a plugin or child theme) to take over the loop.

      The HTML is secondary, and if you boil it down, it’s nothing but CSS classes, which is the same technique the widget areas now employ.

      At iThemes, we are working on a product called LoopBuddy, which allows you to take over a theme’s loop. No themes currently support this, and that’s fine. We’ll start with the ones we have in-house. It is not our intention to force a new standard down people’s throats. It’s more like, “Here’s what we’re proposing, and here are the possibilities.”

      LoopBuddy won’t work unless the theme adds the proper support, just as widgets won’t work if the theme doesn’t support those as well.

  3. I’ve seen similar proposals before (even suggested it myself in the early days), but in the end I think there is no good way to do it without adding too many levels of abstraction.

    Look, we standardized the comment form, and lots and lots of theme developers hate it. Why? Because theme developers are frequently not programmers. They know enough HTML and CSS to do what they want to do, and just enough PHP to be able to copy and paste in the specific bits they need.

    If you start abstracting out the whole Loop and telling people that they can’t control the HTML anymore except through arcane and weird ways, you’ll have a riot on your hands. Theme developers simply won’t do it.

    Unless you present real use-cases that this sort of thing would help with, it probably just ain’t gonna happen any time soon. You’d have more luck “widgetizing the theme”, as has also often been suggested.

  4. I was at Chris’s presentation in Raleigh. He presented his idea as being similar to the way WordPress Themes can make use of the sidebar widget function now. I have to admit that it seemed like a great idea to me.

    He has up some examples of usage on his website…

  5. This is way to abstract approach that will be hard to make work in the real world for many reasons. Even now we have themes that don’t use many ‘required’ WordPress elements (footer hooks for instance), and introducing a concept that is not even remotely compatible with current one will be a hard sell. Great success of WordPress themes is that they are basically HTML/CSS coded with some easy to use PHP function calls. And idea to use two separate loop methods in the WordPress feels redundant and confusing. If you get into the theme with too much PHP, classes and overrides you will alienate theme developers that are used to have freedom on how to create the theme. Similar too much standards approach is done with Drupal and Joomal (especially Joomla) and I know many theme designers that worked with WordPress and Joomla and all prefer WordPress as very easy to work with when theme is created.

    Adding abstract comment form caused problems and still, very few themes use it, because it limits developer and requires that developer writes override functions to modify the form that they can make easily using HTML the way they want it.

    Its far too late to change some core concepts in WordPress. Curent loop as it is, for better or worse is something that should remain.

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