#openupTRU – Simpler WordPress Writing POC

collapsed sidebar and button view that the plugin generates

I’ve had a number of requests to simplify WordPress, to make it more Tumblr like. I get that. It was mentioned again while I was at Thompson Rivers University and that inspired me to get it done.

WordPress has a lot more complexity than Tumblr and that allows you to do a lot more. Doing complex things often requires tools with some complexity. The thing that interests me is when and how you make that complexity visible.1 So could we do something more Tumblr like in WordPress?

There are certainly ways to completely re-write the dashboard and to set up user roles that only have limited kinds of access. That seems a bit heavy-handed to me and I don’t want to wall this stuff off. I simply want to make things very accessible to inexperienced users. The full re-write is also somewhat beyond what I have the time to do. I could take the time but in “innovation” land time is energy lost and I must ride the mixed-metaphor wave of getting stuff done fast. So in the time honored spirit of throwing stuff together with duct tape, I offer this for consideration.

WordPress does have a simplified authoring view. Really. You can activate it using the ‘Press This’ bookmarklet and despite a slick revamp in WP 4.2 virtually no one uses it. Now wouldn’t it be cool if I could just call that interface up using a nice big graphic button in the WordPress dashboard?

It turns out I can and with only the tiniest bit of brains left to me after leaving Canada this morning at 5:30 and getting in a hour or two ago. Keep in mind this is fast and dirty. Even I would want to clean it up considerably before using it.

Step one- find a tutorial on adding stuff to the WordPress dashboard.2

Step two- find the URL to the ‘Press This’ editor view. Turns out it’s the super-obvious http://YOURSITE.ORG/wp-admin/press-this.php

Step three- find some example CSS for a round button because I’m tired.3

Step four- Realize that part of what makes the dashboard feel overwhelming is the sidebar. Look for a way to make that collapse and find it on the wonderful StackOverflow.

Step five- throw those two functions in a plugin and use it.

1 That’s a big, big question but this expression of it is realistic.

2 Attempt to make it the first item but realize you’re just too tired and drag it up there instead for the moment.

3 Realize your custom CSS plugin doesn’t apply to the dashboard and throw it in as inline CSS despite the shame you feel.

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