Please, Not the Shortcodes! (WordPress Themes and Plugins)

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  • September 25, 2012

I don’t do WordPress shortcodes.  And I do everything I can to prevent my clients from hearing about shortcodes, in fear that they’ll want to use them or get plugins with shortcodes.

I usually pass right over any WordPress plugin that mainly uses shortcodes, unless the plugin has something super duper amazingly awesome to offer.

This post could be part of the post where I ranted about Premium WordPress Themes and their inflexibility for forward compatibility.  I forgot to mention in that post that Premium Themes also feature a ton of shortcodes which can exacerbate the problem of switching themes.

Like with the Premium WordPress Themes, plugins that gives you shortcodes to use in your posts basically chain you to that plugin.  In other words, part of your blog post, article, or content is conditional upon the plugin working.  And the plugin has to keep working, meaning the plugin author has to keep upgrading the plugin every few days or months to keep up with WordPress upgrades, and web programming in general.  There’ve only been a few plugin authors I’ve seen stick around and continually upgrade their work.

And the more you use these shortcodes, the more these will be scattered around in your old posts.  Whether if you have hundreds or thousands of old posts, it’s such a pain that you probably won’t want to go back through all those posts to remove or change those shortcodes one by one.  So, if you removed the plugin, or as I said before, the plugin doesn’t work anymore, you’ll have floating pieces of words in brackets instead of, for example, a “Buy” button where you’re expecting to make a sale.

Jason Schuller, the creator of Press75 themes and whose themes I’ve bought and used, wrote this great tutorial.  His post “An Alternative to the Shortcode Madness” is about how to add cool features that shortcodes would do, but in a much more compatible way with future upgrades of WordPress and swappable other themes.

And Jason’s right.  It is madness.

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