Turning off the full height editor option in WordPress 4.0

Though I keep a little eye on WordPress development, it is no way near as rigorous as when I submitted a patch that got me a mention on the contributor list of a main WordPress release. That may explain how the full editor setting, which is turned on by default passed by on me without my taking much in the way of notice of it.

WordPress has become so mature now that I almost do not expect major revisions like the overhauls received by the administration back-end in 2008. The second interface was got so right that it still is with us and there were concerns in my mind at the time as to how usable it would be. Sometimes, those initial suspicions can come to nothing.

However, WordPress 4.0 brought a major change to the editor and I unfortunately am not sure that it is successful. A full height editor sounds a good idea in principle but I found some rough edges to its present implementation that leave me wondering if any UX person got to reviewing it. The first reason is that scrolling becomes odd with the editor’s toolbar becoming fixed when you scroll down far enough on an editor screen. The sidebar scrolling then is out of sync with the editor box, which creates a very odd sensation. Having keyboard shortcuts like CTRL+HOME and CTRL+END not working as they should only convinced me that the new arrangement was not for me and I wanted to turn it off.

A search with Google turned up nothing of note so I took to the WordPress.org forum to see if I could get any joy. That revealed that I should have thought of looking in the screen options dropdown box for an option called “Expand the editor to match the window height” so I could clear that tickbox. Because of the appearance of a Visual Editor control on there, I looked on the user profile screen and found nothing so the logic of how things are set up is sub-optimal.  Maybe, the latter option needs to be a screen option now too. Thankfully, the window height editor option only needs setting once for both posts and pages so you are covered for all eventualities at once.

With a distraction-free editing option, I am not sure why someone went for the full height editor too. If WordPress wanted to stick with this, it does need more refinement so it behaves more conventionally. Personally, I would not build a website with that kind of ill-synchronised scrolling effect so it is something needs work as does the location of the Visual Editor setting. It could be that both settings need to be at the user level and not with one being above that level while another is at it. Until I got the actual solution, I was faced with using distraction-free mode all the time and also installed the WP Editor plugin too. That remains due to its code highlighting even if dropping into code view always triggers the need to create a new revision. Despite that, all is better in the end.

Remove Revisions 2.2

There is already a post on here devoted to version 1.0 of this plugin and that very much tells you what it does. The new version will work with the forthcoming WordPress 2.7 (itself a release that’s had a development cycle with such upheavals that it would make you want to watch from the relative safety of the sidelines) and has been made to be a little more user friendly in its actions; in fact, it behaves more like any other plugin now.

Download Remove Revisions 2.2

WordPress plugin for removing post revisions from database

WordPress 2.6 added post revisions as a new feature that is turned on by default. In an earlier post, I described how you could control this by editing wp-config.php and there are a number of plugins that purport to provide the same level of control through the administration screens. Even so, I decided to look at things from the housekeeping side of things and create my own plugin for clearing the database of revisions at one swoop. Currently, it takes out all revisions but I am thinking of adding the facility for selecting which revision to keep and which to delete. It goes without saying that you should back up your database first in case anything might go wrong.

Download Remove Revisions 1.0

Controlling the post revision feature in WordPress 2.6

This may seem esoteric for some but I like to be in control of the technology that I use. So, when Automattic included post revision retention to WordPress 2.6, I had my reservations about how much it would clutter my database with things that I didn’t need. Thankfully, there is a way to control the feature but you won’t find the option in the administration screens (they seem to view this as an advanced setting and so don’t want to be adding clutter to the interface for the sake of something that only a few might ever use); you have to edit wp-config.php yourself to add it. Here are the lines that can be added and the effects that they have:

Code: define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’,’0′);

Effect: turns off post revision retention

Code: define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’,’-1′);

Effect: turns it on (the default setting)

Code: define(‘WP_POST_REVISIONS’,’2′);

Effect: only retains two previous versions of a post (the number can be whatever you want so long as it’s an integer with a value more than zero).

Update (2008-07-23): There is now a plugin from Dion Hulse that does the above for you and more.