The rumour has it that WordPress 3.0 will have custom post types built-in. These are excellent news! This means that 90% of all web development companies will be able to drop their own, complex and ugly in-house built systems and switch to WordPress development. And while WordPress code isn’t the prettiest thing you can find, it’s still better than most of that code that will be dropped soon. And it’s small, which is also an improvement.
If you are not familiar with the concept of custom post types, these are basically your average posts + custom fields + theme and plugin support + steroids. In short, these are beautiful. It doesn’t really matter what your blog is about – cooking, political news, movies, or technology – you can always think of a way to make posts better than they are in the default installation. For example, cooking recipes can have a section on ingredients, cooking instructions, and serving instructions. You can have your theme support those sections and display them in a consistent and beautiful way. Now you probably wouldn’t even bother. You’ll do your best with built-in post editor and maybe, if you are half-insane, you’ll play with custom fields. But that’s too technical, complicated, and not even remotely convenient. You can try one of those few plugins available, but chances are you’ll either come across a limitation, or a plugin won’t work for you at all. With WordPress 3.0′ custom post types your chances are better.
And why did I mention web development companies? Because that is exactly what so many of them do – build web applications that work with custom object types (cars in automotive shops and rentals, real estate items, products with online shops, etc). A lot of work is put into defining those object types, building searching functionality, promotion bits, nested categories, integrating image galleries and contact forms, and such. Needless to say, most of this functionality is already available in WordPress, either built-in or via a plugin. Custom data types though weren’t. And now that custom posts will make it into WordPress, most of the average small company’s needs will be so much easier to take care of.
This is a much needed and long awaited bit of functionality and I am very excited for it to finally make it. These will cause a new wave of activity around WordPress, and we’ll see more and more sites built with it. Awesome!