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Why WordPress codebase is so horrible?

Question

roosevelt    22

From the user's perspective, Wordpress is hands down the best CMS out there. The UI, the menu organization, ability to toggle friendly permalinks on the fly and plethora of plugins makes it quite good.

But it's codebase is horrible. More I look at its code, all I see is sphagetti mess. I'm not sure how anyone would be ok with such a mess. Here's an example of the type of nightmare I'm talking about:

Source: https://github.com/WordPress/WordPress/blob/master/wp-activate.php

/**
 * Loads styles specific to this page.
 *
 * @since MU
 */
function wpmu_activate_stylesheet() {
    ?>
    <style type="text/css">
        form { margin-top: 2em; }
        #submit, #key { width: 90%; font-size: 24px; }
        #language { margin-top: .5em; }
        .error { background: #f66; }
        span.h3 { padding: 0 8px; font-size: 1.3em; font-weight: bold; }
    </style>
    <?php
}
add_action( 'wp_head', 'wpmu_activate_stylesheet' );
get_header( 'wp-activate' );
?>

<div id="signup-content" class="widecolumn">
    <div class="wp-activate-container">
    <?php if ( empty($_GET['key']) && empty($_POST['key']) ) { ?>

        <h2><?php _e('Activation Key Required') ?></h2>
        <form name="activateform" id="activateform" method="post" action="<?php echo network_site_url('wp-activate.php'); ?>">
            <p>
                <label for="key"><?php _e('Activation Key:') ?></label>
                <br /><input type="text" name="key" id="key" value="" size="50" />
            </p>
            <p class="submit">
                <input id="submit" type="submit" name="Submit" class="submit" value="<?php esc_attr_e('Activate') ?>" />
            </p>
        </form>

    <?php } else {
        $key = !empty($_GET['key']) ? $_GET['key'] : $_POST['key'];
        $result = wpmu_activate_signup( $key );
        if ( is_wp_error($result) ) {
            if ( 'already_active' == $result->get_error_code() || 'blog_taken' == $result->get_error_code() ) {
                $signup = $result->get_error_data();
                ?>
                <h2><?php _e('Your account is now active!'); ?></h2>
                <?php
                echo '<p class="lead-in">';
                if ( $signup->domain . $signup->path == '' ) {
                    printf( __('Your account has been activated. You may now <a href="%1$s">log in</a> to the site using your chosen username of &#8220;%2$s&#8221;. Please check your email inbox at %3$s for your password and login instructions. If you do not receive an email, please check your junk or spam folder. If you still do not receive an email within an hour, you can <a href="%4$s">reset your password</a>.'), network_site_url( 'wp-login.php', 'login' ), $signup->user_login, $signup->user_email, wp_lostpassword_url() );
                } else {
                    printf( __('Your site at <a href="%1$s">%2$s</a> is active. You may now log in to your site using your chosen username of &#8220;%3$s&#8221;. Please check your email inbox at %4$s for your password and login instructions. If you do not receive an email, please check your junk or spam folder. If you still do not receive an email within an hour, you can <a href="%5$s">reset your password</a>.'), 'http://' . $signup->domain, $signup->domain, $signup->user_login, $signup->user_email, wp_lostpassword_url() );
                }
                echo '</p>';
            } else {
                ?>
                <h2><?php _e('An error occurred during the activation'); ?></h2>
                <?php
                echo '<p>'.$result->get_error_message().'</p>';
            }
        } else {
            $url = isset( $result['blog_id'] ) ? get_blogaddress_by_id( (int) $result['blog_id'] ) : '';
            $user = get_userdata( (int) $result['user_id'] );
            ?>
            <h2><?php _e('Your account is now active!'); ?></h2>

            <div id="signup-welcome">
                <p><span class="h3"><?php _e('Username:'); ?></span> <?php echo $user->user_login ?></p>
                <p><span class="h3"><?php _e('Password:'); ?></span> <?php echo $result['password']; ?></p>
            </div>

            <?php if ( $url && $url != network_home_url( '', 'http' ) ) :
                switch_to_blog( (int) $result['blog_id'] ); 
                $login_url = wp_login_url(); 
                restore_current_blog(); 
                ?>
                <p class="view"><?php printf( __( 'Your account is now activated. <a href="%1$s">View your site</a> or <a href="%2$s">Log in</a>' ), $url, esc_url( $login_url ) ); ?></p>
            <?php else: ?>
                <p class="view"><?php printf( __('Your account is now activated. <a href="%1$s">Log in</a> or go back to the <a href="%2$s">homepage</a>.' ), network_site_url('wp-login.php', 'login'), network_home_url() ); ?></p>
            <?php endif;
        }
    }
    ?>
    </div>
</div>
<script type="text/javascript">
    var key_input = document.getElementById('key');
    key_input && key_input.focus();
</script>
<?php get_footer( 'wp-activate' );

 

Whether you are making your own software or contributing to another one, wouldn't you want other's codes to be more readable and well organized?

Can you tell me why it's an acceptable practice in the Wordpress community?

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11 answers to this question

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  • 0
Neu B    93

People want to be paid more for doing less and lazy. Simple as that.

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Flawedspirit    99

Wordpress wants to be everything for everyone every time. You can imagine how that tends to work out.

The code structure itself that you posted above isn't that bad. At least it's indented properly. Could use a LOT more comments though.

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john_alex    127

Because 80% of all Wordpress "developers" share these "qualities":

  • They have between 3 to 6 months of experience and use titles like "Senior Web Developer Developers with vast experience" (freelancing websites are full of them)
  • Concepts like MVC, OOP, separation between logic and presentation, etc. are beyond their understanding and can't understand anything more complicated than "echo 'Hello World'; "
  • Laziness...why build a proper web app or website when you can just throw in some free plugins and themes and call it a website?

 

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adrynalyne    12,320

Because 80% of all Wordpress "developers" share these "qualities":

  • They have between 3 to 6 months of experience and use titles like "Senior Web Developer Developers with vast experience" (freelancing websites are full of them)
  • Concepts like MVC, OOP, separation between logic and presentation, etc. are beyond their understanding and can't understand anything more complicated than "echo 'Hello World'; "
  • Laziness...why build a proper web app or website when you can just throw in some free plugins and themes and call it a website?

 

He is talking about the CMS code base, not a garbage site built with it.

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john_alex    127

He is talking about the CMS code base, not a garbage site built with it.

And that poor excuse of a codebase is not garbage?

I understand that fixing this would  require a full rewrite but they're not even trying.

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adrynalyne    12,320

And that poor excuse of a codebase is not garbage?

I understand that fixing this would  require a full rewrite but they're not even trying.

I didn't say it wasn't. However, going on about web developers with building proper web apps and just tossing in plugins for features is not what he was talking about. You two were discussing different things.

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DevTech    1,517

I didn't say it wasn't. However, going on about web developers with building proper web apps and just tossing in plugins for features is not what he was talking about. You two were discussing different things.

At the risk of sounding snarky, there is a simple economy available here - both questions actually have the same answer

Answer: It's PHP.

 

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+virtorio    3,133

The codebase has been built up over time by a bunch of different people. Things like this happen, and it happens more often than you'd think. 

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+Red King    2,466

Well ... it is definitely hard to read that considering it is a mix of frontend and backend code...

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roosevelt    22

Well ... it is definitely hard to read that considering it is a mix of frontend and backend code...

Using a function that contains frontend and backend code is not the end of the world. Visually, it's a good practice to separate the backend code from the front-end. If they at least used the heredoc syntax to separate the front-end from the backend logic or concatenate strings, etc, It would be much easier to dissect what the heck is going on.

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Danielx64    604

Well maybe one should try writing their own like I am... And yes it coming out quite well.

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