WordPress To Be More Tumblr Like

post formats in wordpressWhat’s that sound? It’s a cannon ball being shot over the bow of Tumblr. The big discussion point over the past two days has revolved around a new feature slated to hit WordPress 3.1 called Post Formats. Otto as well as Mark Jaquith do a great job explaining what these are. To make a long story short, Tumblr has different ways of displaying content depending upon which format is being used. Matt Mullenweg has actually been doing something similar with his own site at Ma.tt which Otto shows screenshots of. While the notion of displaying content differently based on the type of content being published is not new, the way of doing it currently does not lend itself to data portability.

This is why the core developers have decided to settle on a standard set of post formats. A standard set of formats enables users to switch themes without losing the way in which those post formats are displayed. It’s also been decided that there will be no API calls or hooks available to extend or modify the standard set of post types which is a rare thing in WordPress considering there is usually always a way to modify or extend a feature set. I was against the idea of post formats until I figured out that they are different from post templates, which I use for content that is the same but with different values. Instead, I’m getting excited about the ability to be able to post just a link or maybe just a quote from an interesting piece dedicated to WordPress. Post formats will simply make it easier to publish short-form content and display that content differently than regular posts.

Another thing that interests me regarding the inclusion of post formats is that WordPress.com will most likely see this same feature added to the service which would basically empower WordPress.com users to publish posts just like those on Tumblr with the only thing missing being a slick Bookmarklet. If both WordPress.com and WordPress the open-source project both have this feature set, what will this do to disrupt Tumblr? Considering the strength of Tumblr will essentially become a feature of WordPress, what drive will there be to continue using the service? Granted, perhaps the WordPress implementation won’t be as pretty as theirs but still, I’d be somewhat worried if I were Tumblr. This addition to the software could possibly contribute to a sizable chunk of the Tumblr audience migrating to WordPress.com.

On the flip side, both WordPress and Tumblr continue to co-exist and nothing much really changes. What do you think?

12 Comments


  1. WordPress copying from tumblr is not at all a cannon ball being shot at the latter, quite contrary, it somewhat says that tumblr is superior in that aspect. WordPress is open source, tumblr is not, thus I don’t see this implementation on WordPress’s side without some legal problems.

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  2. @Hollow – I’m not sure where legal problems come into play here? I’m pretty confident that the post format feature set will not be code ripped directly from Tumblr as that would be bad.

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  3. There is ZERO legal liability for WordPress’ Post-Formats implementation.

    Zero.

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  4. I’m so excited for the new post formats! We’re working on a project now that needs this type of functionality, and we were going to try to work with Woo’s tumblog plugin, but I much prefer a built-in format. The only thing missing is the bookmarklet, as you pointed out above, but I’m sure it will arrive shortly. Woohoo!

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  5. @Jeffro
    Yes I understand that the code will not be ripped for tumblr, but the idea and the concept will. tumblr is known for those post types and that’s what makes it different from every other blogging platform out there. It’s like Windows taking and implementing the Dock from Mac OS on their next new version.

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  6. I don’t think there is any legal issues with this. There is no patent on the concept. It’s like facebook copying the vanity URLs…. This concept is so generic that there will be no issues.

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  7. I like this idea, and I have started implementing this via the Woo Tumblog plugin, however I also have a WP 3.1-alpha installation, and can’t find this feature anywhere. Can someone shed some light as to how to activate it so I can play around with it?

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  8. Besides, Tumblr was hardly the first to implement something like this. They’re just one of the best-known examples. I’m glad to see it in WordPress, as I’ve been wanting to implement Daring Fireball-style link sharing to supplant my weekly speedlinking posts. (Why wait until the end of the week to share a link when it could be published immediately?)

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  9. I don’t think any legal nonsense is involved at all, but I think the fact that WordPress.com keeps totally copying Tumblr features basically verbatim and now that WordPress.org is FINALLY getting what looks like some decent built-in microblogging support is indicative that Tumblr is more intune with how a lot of people blog now, and WordPress is more about general site/content management.

    If doing comments and permalinks and whatnot wasn’t such a colossal PITA, I’d have my own blog on Tumblr now. That’s not to say WordPress isn’t superior at many, many things, but Tumblr is easier, prettier and faster.

    Hopefully the post formats feature will make this better.

    But as I said on Mashable (http://mashable.com/2010/10/27/wordpress-tumblr-plugin/) — for me the real key is the bookmarklet. Without the bookmarklet, a lot of the custom post formats stuff ends up useless.

    Also, kudos to WooThemes for laying a lot of this groundwork, whether they get credit for it or not.

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  10. The legal side is not an issue, at all. The main concern is the core developers seem to be content with just focusing on standardization for post formats without any room for other developers to add their own custom formats via codes from core.

    When 3.1 gets released, you’d need to develop your own work-around for custom post formats. I don’t understand the need to set standards from the top down, forcing the majority (users) to follow the minority’s (core developers) configurations.

    That isn’t how WordPress works. Standardization for future proofing or portability is important (e.g. WordPress import), but maybe for post formats portability shouldn’t be priority number one.

    You can have a set of standard post formats and allow custom post format capability at the same time so my question is why can’t we have both?

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  11. This addition to the software could possibly contribute to a sizable chunk of the Tumblr audience migrating to WordPress.com.

    Why do you say this? Are there a bunch of Tumblr users who are waiting for this feature from WordPress? What are these users missing from Tumblr (other than native Comments)?

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  12. I am very much looking forward to this. I downloaded and installed the Woo Tumblog plugin, but now that I’ve been working with it for a bit, it feels like a bit of a kludge. The app is very slick looking — I have yet to get it to work however. If post types became a standard feature/function in WordPress it would mean that smartphone apps that supported it would proliferate. That would be a great thing.

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