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EugeneO says

I understand Justin’s point but he is assuming that someone who buys a WordPress theme is interested in learning HTML /CSS where I don’t think that is the case at all. Over estimating the ability of our buyers is a dangerous thing and would result in a mountain of support emails.

I think the plugin is a good compromise and it’s something I will look into for future releases.

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ThemeKioken says

He obviously has no idea how many entry level users buy premium themes and what troubles it may bring when the author says “create divs in html view and add class” instead of shortcodes.

Surely he has a point but not relevant to premium theming business.

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trendyWebStar says


I have to believe that anyone smart enough to use WordPress has the capacity to learn how to use the class attribute within an HTML element. It’s possible that I’m wrong, but I have a lot of faith in my fellow WordPress users.
– Wrong, easy click, click, click instructions are hard. I would prefer to use classes and to see the content in the visual editor too but would be harder for the customers and will get many more requests and we already do.
+1 … Ya I’d have to disagree also. So many buyers love these little shortcodes. I put a million shortcodes and still have people asking me why I don’t have this or that shortcode. Besides, it’s not like they’re required to use them. I agree with the post to an extent as a developer working with themes, but think it’s a little dramatic.

+1 :)

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LoveThemes says

I don’t see how Justin’s implementation of classes will solve any issues.

Okay, so instead of adding shortcodes we add a load of CSS classes and point buyers to using them, then as he said they may switch themes, so what difference would using classes instead of shortcodes make?

The CSS classes won’t carry across to the new theme thus still leaving the user with a somewhat broken layout unless the user was prepared to copy all of the classes over to the new themes stylesheet.

As most people say incorporating a plugin is probably the way to go.

Scott.

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EugeneO says

I don’t see how Justin’s implementation of classes will solve any issues.

Okay, so instead of adding shortcodes we add a load of CSS classes and point buyers to using them, then as he said they may switch themes, so what difference would using classes instead of shortcodes make?

The CSS classes won’t carry across to the new theme thus still leaving the user with a somewhat broken layout unless the user was prepared to copy all of the classes over to the new themes stylesheet.

As most people say incorporating a plugin is probably the way to go.

Scott.
The styling would be lost but you wouldn’t have the shortcode tags littered in the website content. Instead you would have lots of redundant CSS classes which in itself is a development faux pas.
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kailoon Envato team says

I think there is a pro and cons, and what he is pointing out is just one of the many usage of shortcode.

If we use shortcode for layout customization for example, then a class name will not solve the problem easily.

We have only two scenario actually, usually keep using the theme ( which is not always the case ) or user change theme. So, the only problem that Justin point out is that ugly shortcode after change theme.

So, I guess what make sense here will be a plugin for shortcode, where the ugly shortcode will removed automatically when the theme is not active any more. Then it may solve all the problems. But, I think this is hard to achieve.

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ThemeShaper says

Standardising shortcodes could be done up to a point I think. Shortcodes such as the layout ones (one_half one_half last etc) most of the style ones (boxes, lists, highlights etc) are going to be pretty much the same structurally between themes. The more powerful ones such as for widgets and jquery ui controls it wouldnt work for because folks implement these differently.

Its food for thought tho definately.

I wonder how much of a problem this is for our buyers tho? – at the end of the day if most purchasers are using our themes as single standalone cms’s for a particular site, and probably wont switch themes often (if at all) its not a huge problem.

Are buyers frustrated by this shortcode issue?

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greenshady says

I’m fairly certain quite a few folks missed the point of the article and focused too much on the “classes” idea. If you fall into this group of people, please go back and read the article in full.

For utterly clueless noobs and advanced devs, shortcodes can be a great asset. I love them. It’s just a bad idea to add most of them in publicly-released themes. It’s plugin territory.

Plus, you can even sell your shortcodes plugin separately if you want in rake in a few more dollars. :)


It’s a good thing Justin Tadlock doesn’t have to pay his mortgage by competing for sales on TF.

I pay my mortgage through the theme business as well. I just don’t do it on Theme Forest.

Fortunately, I don’t have to add 100s of shortcodes to my themes to make money. If having piles of shortcodes is that big of a deal when it comes to your sales pitch, then you’re doing it wrong. There’s much more money to be made out there without having to compete feature for feature with all the other themes on ThemeForest.

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Anjum says

Excellent article about shortcodes :) http://justintadlock.com/archives/2011/05/02/dealing-with-shortcode-madness

Really Nice article but there is a way to import short codes from old theme to new theme. if a plugin can’t available at the time this will be available soon.

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Parallelus says

I don’t blame developers for using shortcodes to enhance their themes. It was the WordPress core team that decided to build this functionality into the product in the first place. They are the ones with the responsibility to think about long term use, compatibility between other themes, plugins, etc. I would say adding shortcodes could be considered a failure on their part by my logic.

There are a lot of ways you can build in editor based tags that call advanced functionality like shortcodes. Many good CMS ’s do this, but at least they usually teach the application to ignore tags if the function does not exist or errors. Shortcodes are treated as text if the function does not exist, so if you switch themes it’s a problem.

Also, there is no dependence on shortcodes in a lot of themes that include them. You could just as easily add the HTML , CSS and scripts needed to create the function directly into the code view, but it’s a lot of extra time for the user. They can do it if they like, most won’t. Blaming devs. for having shortcodes isn’t accurate (not that anyone says the article blames them), but users have a choice not to use them.

One more item worth mentioning. Although a lot of people say heavy use of shortcodes makes switching themes difficult, just imagine if they didn’t have the shortcodes and used the full HTML in the editor. Now when switching themes you loose the necessary CSS and JS that makes those features look and behave properly which would be an even bigger mess, not to mention the added time of making the changes to the content in the admin since there would be more code.

The example in the article is a simple DIV tag being created with the shortcode [note], but that’s not really an accurate representation. I’m sure there are a lot of shortcodes that do simple things like this, but there are also very complex ones that work with shopping carts, toggling content, slide shows, portfolios, etc. If you already have these advanced shortcodes in your theme and users are comfortable with them, how much impact is it going to make if you throw in a couple simple ones for styling content as well? You’re still ending up with the same problem when you change themes. Even with that example, you still lose the styling in the new theme because the class may not exist, or worse, it does something crazy. How do you know the next theme a person installs isn’t going to use the class “note” to make a corner page peel graphic fixed at the top right? That’s going to require changing also and be just as much trouble as the shortcode.

This is just my opinion. I do agree that some standardization would not be a bad idea. At the very least teach WordPress to ignore invalid shortcodes stripping them from the output to prevent display after a theme switch.

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