Five WordPress Features Wanted Before Version 5.0

WordPress 5.0 graphic by Goce Mitevski (CC BY-NC 3.0)

Every new WordPress release is an opportunity to rethink priorities and (re)discover what could be missing in the WordPress core. While version 4.3 is being prepared, I came up with a list of five main Core features I would like WordPress to have, before it reaches version 5.0.

Some might call this bloat, but I think it’s a necessity as WordPress grows further as a platform.

Post Type, Taxonomy, Custom Field Management Extravaganza

Why do we need to code, to create custom post types and custom taxonomies without plugins in WordPress? This should be a no-brainer. You sign in, go to Posts, select “Add New Post Type” or “Add New Taxonomy“, fill out a nicely designed form and review available options.

Drupal has this for ages – of course not implemented in the same way. However, the benefits are huge! Developers code less. Clients have more control. There is a single code-base for everything, baked right into Core.

Same goes for custom fields. Maybe it’s a good idea to consider integrating Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) in Core?

I imagine a separate section in the WordPress back-end called “Custom Fields” where you could define and manage existing custom fields. I really like the ACF User Experience. Works great!

This can later be taken to the next level by enabling all kinds of conditional relationships between post types, taxonomies and custom fields.

On/Off Switch for Core Features

WordPress should have a separate page in the back-end with a list of all Core features. From this page each of the Core features could be turned on and off.

If I’m developing a website with no comments and search, I should be able to go to this new page, mark “Comments” and “Search” and select Disable. Turning these features off would mean that the relevant PHP code – from the WordPress API – in any theme will be ignored and will not get executed, which will directly result in less database queries and, possibly, improved website performance.

I imagine this page looking like wp-admin/plugins.php.

Improved Search with Many Customization Options

If I’m right, the last time search in WordPress was updated, was 16 months ago. We got relevance-based search-results-ordering and it made a huge difference. Suddenly, Relevanssi was no longer needed for simple sites.

I would expect the following additional changes in the near future:

  • Advanced search filtering options in the back-end
  • Integrated search indexer like Lucene
  • Customizable search widget with:
    • advanced search ordering options,
    • ability to set one or more post types, taxonomies and custom fields as search filters,
    • options for limiting search range.

Basic SEO Tools

Because I cannot count how many times clients have requested this in WordPress, while being very disappointed when an incoming not-well-tested update for WordPress SEO by Yoast broke something on their website.

Here is what I think any WordPress website should get out of the box in terms of Search Engine Optimization and what I expect to see integrated in Core in the near future:

  • Sitemap Generator
  • Breadcrumbs Generator (Widget)
  • Custom page for adding meta tags in <head>
  • Options for setting custom meta titles, meta keywords and meta descriptions for posts, pages, taxonomies etc.

Website Performance Tools

Lets add a separate page in Dashboard with performance options. Call it “Performance“.

This page should provide options for:

  • toggling persistent caching on and off
  • selecting persistent cache mechanism/type
  • setting expiration timers
  • setting other relevant options and
  • setting parameters for Cron

Nothing new here. Many persistent cache plugins offer these options in their code, but the point is to have all of this in Core, created with the WordPress Coding Standards in mind, thoroughly tested and extendable.

Also, I imagine the Performance page including information about how well the website performs on the current server, with smart suggestions on what can be improved. Not sure if something like this is currently possible with WordPress though, but it definitely would be useful to have.

Think About It

Most WordPress websites use custom post types, custom taxonomies and custom fields to organize content; don’t need every Core feature out there; require additional development for decent search experience; benefit from SEO and work faster when cached.

Imagine how much time can be saved if we have all this included in WordPress and manageable immediately after installation. No different code-bases to debug, less security issues, much more satisfied clients and a much more powerful Content Management System.

Here’s to WordPress 5.0 and making all of this happen. Cheers!