Shortcode Roadmap Draft One (Proposal – Request for Comments)

This is the first draft of the Shortcode API Roadmap. It describes in broad terms a new feature set and migration that might take place across versions 4.4 through 4.7. This roadmap gives notice to plugin developers that significant changes in plugin design may be needed for compatibility with future versions of the Shortcode API. This roadmap also identifies steps taken to minimize the impact on plugin developers to allow most plugins to continue working with only small changes.

The decision to create this roadmap arose from specific needs that are not met by the old code. Our old [ and ] delimiters were easily confused with the way those characters are commonly used in English quotations and sometimes even in URLs. The proposal to use [{{ and }}] instead should allow a better balance between being able to type in the shortcodes and avoiding confusion with any other input. With these more unique delimeters, we will be able to process registered shortcodes more efficiently because we will not have to search for them by name. Unregistered shortcodes will have more consistency because we can find them more accurately.

Old style delimeters also gave no strong indication whether or not a closing tag was required. The proposal to use }$] as the delimeter of a shortcode with a following closing tag increases the efficiency of regular expressions, because the search for a closing tag will only happen as needed.

Adding the new style of shortcode syntax provides an opportunity to make significant API changes. One of those major changes is to ensure that shortcodes are processed before paragraphs and before curly quotes. This will lead to greatly simplified code in related functions that currently must find and avoid shortcodes every time they run. We also have an opporunity to re-think the way shortcodes are filtered, and to give plugin authors more control over those filters when registering their shortcodes.

4.4 – Introduce New Syntax

A new syntax and documentation of how it works will be created in the 4.4 development cycle. Support for the new syntax will be introduced, allowing plugins to register for extra features. Core shortcodes will use the new syntax in all new posts. The old syntax will not change. Old posts will not be affected. Initial work on the syntax concept follows.

Proposed New Syntax

Self-Closing:  [{{shortcode}}]

Attributes:  [{{shortcode  attr1="value1"  attr2='value2'  "value3"  'value4'  value5}}]

Enclosing:  [{{shortcode}$] HTML [${shortcode}}]

Multiple Enclosures:  [{{shortcode}$] HTML [${encl2}$] HTML [${encl3}$] HTML [${shortcode}}]

Escaped Code:  [!{{shortcode}}]

Stripped Unregistered Code:  [{{randomthing}}]

Stripped Unregistered Enclosure:  [{{randomthing}$]  Content also stripped.  [${randomthing}}]

Stripped Empty Code:  [{{ }}]

Ignored Orphan:  [{{shortcode}$]

Ignored Orphan:  [${shortcode}}]

Ignored Orphan:  [${encl2}$]

Ignored Context:  [{{shortcode <br> }}]

Ignored Context:  <a href="[{{shortcode}}]">

4.5 – Deprecate Old Syntax

Starting in 4.5, plugins that register shortcodes without declaring support for new features will raise debugging errors to alert developers that support for the old shortcode syntax is ending.

Old posts will continue to work normally while the old syntax is deprecated.

4.6 – Upgrade Old Posts

Old posts will be automatically converted to the new shortcode syntax. The Shortcode API will continue to provide deprecated support for old syntax so that there is no disruption during the conversion process.

The API should be adequately abstracted so that old plugins are not affected by this conversion. However, as the new syntax will not support HTML inside of shortcode attributes, there is no guarantee that every shortcode will work the same way in 4.6 as in earlier versions.

4.7 – End of Support for Old Syntax

Old shortcodes will stop working in 4.7. Plugins that still produce the old shortcode syntax will be ignored by the Shortcode API.

The upgrade to 4.7 will include a second pass of the conversion of old posts so that any old syntax that was added to posts during 4.6 will still get converted.

In 4.6 or 4.7, if necessary, a filter could be added to automatically convert any old syntax still being produced by old plugins when new posts are created.

#proposal, #roadmaps, #shortcodes