My first look at WordPress 1.5

I haven’t yet updated this blog to WordPress 1.5, but I have upgraded another blog. Right off the bat, the template needed minor tweaking to adapt, then thankfully a strange visual problem appeared. I write thankfully because otherwise it likely would have been some time before I noticed it. The get_links_list() now gives category sub-titles the H2 header. I was able to solve the appearance issue simply by making some minor changes to the CSS file, but there’s a more fundamental, underlying issue with WP 1.5’s flexibility.

Why would I want link category sub-headings to be granted H2 status? For the sake of analogy, this would be like ordering the content of a book’s bibliography before the table of contents (TOC), and ordering the TOC to be sequentially located after the content itself.

The content of other books is more important than what’s in this book?

For example, continuing the analogy, let’s say I go to a bookstore, and am looking at books, spine out, lined up on a shelf. Great, the title is one of the first things I see of each book, so let’s grant H1 status to the title. Now I might look through many titles, before picking one that interests me. Once picked, I would likely open it and look at the TOC, so let’s give that H2 status. Next, I might page through some of the content itself, and sample some of the writing. So, following the analogy, I would give the chapter titles H3 headings. If I was contemplating purchasing the book (in a bookstore) I would likely give little heed to the bibliography. That seems to be there more for research and copyright purposes, in my opinion the bibliography is more useful in a library setting, but to continue the analogy, I would give the bibliography an H5 level heading. Oops, what about the index? :)

The way WordPress 1.5 grants H2 status to link categories, to follow the above analogy, would grant higher heading status to the bibliography than my contents. There might be valid reasons why some would like to see the link categories granted higher status than any particular blog’s content, but in my mind and for my website, that would be like steering a potential purchaser to others’ books before presenting my own book’s chapters.

H5, 6, 7, etc., makes more ‘sense’ to me than hardcoding the link category heading values as 2.

There’s a short primer on this problem at the WordPress support forums.

It’s nice to know there are several different ways of approaching a solution to this. As 1.5 works, as of this writing, if one wishes to change the hardcoded H2 to a different value users will have to not only update links.php to replace H2 with whatever number they choose, but also all the multiple template css files, so all templates that might be used view correctly. This seems like a lot of unnecessary and time-consuming coding work.

While it is not currently supported, users should be able to pass the heading value users desire as a parameter of the get_links_list() function in any particular template’s index file, perhaps even omitting the parameter if they so desire. RSL suggested this. If for valid semantics the heading value is required to be there, at least let the blog user decide what value they wish to use.

On edit of April 30, 2005, the following added

There is a fairly large issue with the WordPress linkroll no longer updating with 1.5. This is essentially because is no longer used as the source of updated blogs. Pingomatic is used instead, and it doesn’t appear to have non-WordPress blogs in its system. Here are some sites that I’m adding that discuss the issue further, I’m adding these here mostly for my own future reference.

On edit of May 3, 2005, the following added

I have now upgraded to WordPress 1.5. There are very good reasons to upgrade to 1.5. I’m still in a testing stage, perhaps there will be another posting on the topic.