Media Management In WordPress 2.9

wordpress27medialibraryHow long has it been since we started talking about the media management system in WordPress receiving a major overhaul? Based on what I’ve read, the plan is to revamp the media system in WordPress 2.9 instead of WordPress 2.8. Shane who operates has released his proposed wireframes for media management in WordPress aimed at version 2.9.

You can download the PDF file containing the wireframes here.

Here is the proposed workflow for how the new media system would work.


Reading over the PDF document, here is what I’ve been able to figure out.

Groups Inside Of Media Items – The new system would allow you to create groups inside of media items. For example, lets say you went on a trip to both Florida and Georgia and you wanted to showcase your photos. Currently using the Gallery shortcode, you would end up showing all of the images. The new way would enable the ability to do something like this [gallery_florida] [gallery_georgia] or something similar to that affect.

Better Media Organization – The new media system will incorporate a way for you to categorize and tag media elements as they are uploaded. This will be done without having to go through a seperate screen during uploading making it a speedier process.

Much Better TinyMCE Integration – TinyMCE will have much better control with the images. You won’t be able to drag images from one section into TinyMCE but this gives the developers a chance to control how TinyMCE will deal with those issues. The new system will try to take TinyMCE image previews up a notch by going for the full preview to show you exactly what it will look like based on the settings you have chosen instead of having to do a full post preview.

The development around the new media management system will be conducted in three stages on a seperate branch of WordPress so as not to mess up trunk for 2.9.

The first stage will revolve around cleaning out all of the media related functions to start from scratch. Development of the upload process will take place first along with the library, categories and tagging system. Shane makes a great point within the wireframe document that they will need to make sure the 2.8.x inline format is developed so that the millions of blogs running on WordPress do not lose file associates or deletes.

The second stage will consists of development around the media system post box inside the post/page screen. This will also contain the upgrade to TinyMCE.

The third and final stage will be all about usability. Remember all of the testing that was involved with the redesign of the backend of WordPress 2.7? That is the kind of testing that the media system will undergo once they reach stage three. This testing will determine things such as where tags, categories, and comments are listed, how to preview images, how to deal with a large number of images that are unassociated, etc.

Good Job Shane

I remember when Shane put together some code that would enable multiple gallery support in WordPress. Since then, he has grabbed the bull by the horns and as you can see via his wireframe proposal for the media management system, he may be the one largely responsible for how we manage our media in WordPress 2.9. I want to thank Shane for stepping up and getting knee deep with revamping the media management system which definitely needs to be done, one way or another. File/image associations alone would be cool.

The proposal states that the goal is to have an Alpha at the end of July or earlier with a beta aimed at the end of September and finally, a release in October 2009. I highly encourage you to read through his proposal and then, provide him with your feedback either through the WP-Hackers mailing list, the WordPress Developers IRC Channel or via the comment form on his blog.


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