When I wrote my post about the voluntarily business decisions last week, I tried to stress on the fact that a minor change may have a big impact, and for some this may be pretty critical.
Now we have a major decision that followed some other major ones, including the theme review requirement that Customizer is a “must” for WordPress themes.
As a side note, an online friend told me last week that I’m very positive. On the contrary, I’m in fact a realist that always evaluates the possible regressions that something may do – because, at the end of the day, I love to help, give back and give credit where credit is due. I despise injustice, political BS and other things that happen due to frivolousness caused by people with power.
Without bringing the same strong level of emotion to the matter in hand, the latest “goodie” is that the Menu Customizer is also to be merged in Core. I love the Core Leads and all active contributors that make WordPress what it is, but it doesn’t mean that I have to support every decision. And I don’t think that this one is a minor one.
As Sarah said on WP Tavern:
My initial impression after testing is that managing menus in the customizer makes me feel claustrophobic. The live previews and the mobile friendliness are the big wins here, but they come at the expense of a squished menu management experience. For sites that use WordPress as a CMS, with dozens and sometimes hundreds of pages and subpages, menu management in the customizer could become rather cumbersome.
There are at least a dozen golden quotes both on Make and on Tavern’s posts, and I welcome you to read them and join the discussion.
The only real use case when I’ve seen the Customizer to be helpful (other than changing the site title or the logo) is Conductor which is a premium plugin by my friend Matt. It’s just useful and makes the management easier. Other than that Customizer isn’t useful to me or our clients, and I have seen too many practical scenarios where options are simply lost.
The fact that the Settings API is terrible doesn’t mean that we need to ignore or bury an API for the sake of moving large components to the Customizer.
Mind you, we had to build a new Menus design a few major versions ago that has two different screens since they didn’t fit on a single one. And now we move them to Customizer.
In case someone reads that as a rant, please go and see the comments on both sites. My Twitter feed is literally filled up with Customizer complaints due to the latest proposal. I don’t really think that everyone around me lives in the same bubble with me named the “tiny little group of people who don’t like Customizer” while we have no access to everyone else who seems to like it.
Since I’m biased, I admit that my great vision for WordPress would be a super stable core, detachable, a framework even (like BackPress) that could be bundled similarly to Drupal’s distributions. I know that it won’t happen, don’t worry. But the further we move from this and the more we try to compete with Tumblr (Post Formats UI) and Squarespace (Menu in Customizer), the harder would it be for us to land large clients without having to spend a crazy amount on updates all the time.
I know how long does it take now for our largest clients to update to a new major version of WordPress and update the plugins as well (not the security updates). It’s a lenghty process that occasionally leads to regressions in specific areas.
And the reason of this post is to explicitly state that this is not a rant, but a vocal expression of a personal opinion based on business experience. I honestly believe that the people behind this idea are not aware of the number of people who don’t support it at all, and the more feedback they receive, the clearer would it be that it’s not the way to go.
I’d even say “let’s revive WordPress Ideas“. Democracy would be insane with the large community that we got, but at least it would be clear when something on the roadmap gets no support at all, or the majority of the people find it to be an incredibly bad idea.