WordPress is arguably the best platform for creating a website or a blog. It has many features that make it a favorite amongst power users and novices alike. For starters installation is amazingly quick. Countless plugins and themes extend the core functionality giving it great flexibility and support. However as great as WordPress is, there are still shortcomings that the community has failed to address even with the latest version. Great plugins exist to provide some of the missing functionality but WordPress would be better overall if these features were included in the core codebase.
User Role Management
There are only five available user roles in WordPress, subscriber, contributor, author, editor, and administrator. Administrators aren’t allowed to create any more roles beyond those available. These roles were originally created for blogging and not much else. Their capabilities and permissions are predefined and cannot be modified without installing a plugin such as Members. It is great that user role plugins can extend functionality but I believe that this ability should just be part of the package in order for WordPress to be a much more flexible content management system.
Media Library Assets
By default after installation images uploaded to the media library is “organized” into month and year-based folders. The only other option is to not organize them at all and have them lumped in the uploads folder. Once again this architectural decision was created for blog posts that get published in chronological order. The idea was that image assets can be linked to posts by date. In practice this does not work well at all! People don’t always write content and upload their images at the same time. There are also many use cases where it is not just images but also various types of documents, like PDF that anyone can edit using software from sodapdf.com. If the files are not organized in month and year-based folders you just have one big indistinguishable collection. But even if you utilize the month and year-based folders, they’re not intuitive at all and increasingly confusing after you’ve accumulated a big collection of assets. There is no way you can tell what file is in what folder. Browsing the media library alone becomes a very convoluted process. The Enhanced Media Library plugin allows some organization by grouping files in taxonomies and file types but it still lacks the functionality to create intuitive folders on the server. Having to work with large collections of file assets still proves to be a challenge.
The admin interface has a standardized look and feel with very limited customizations. Documentation shows how to create a custom admin theme but it doesn’t go beyond injecting a stylesheet. Creating a custom backend experience that accommodates admin users is an important feature for any content management system but it is lacking in the WordPress core. The WP REST API has allowed some developers to create new and interesting backend interfaces that extend WordPress capabilities so hopefully this will be integrated into the codebase in upcoming versions.
WordPress has come a long way in terms of functionality but there are still quite a few improvements that can make it even more robust. Plugins are great but some features are better if it was included out of the box. The ability to manage users, organize file assets, and create a customized backend is my wish list of important features that the community should consider adding in the future.