It was recently announced that WordPress 2.9 includes a new function to get post images called the_post_image. There is some information about the command over on WPEngineer.
Having post thumbnails is fantastic, they really liven up a post, but until recently one of the best ways to do this was to use my image resize script, TimThumb. Loads of sites use it, but now that the_post_image function has been announced it may become redundant.
Initially I thought it was great – it will make WordPress theme authors lives easier – but after mulling it over I realized there are some fundamental features missing:
- It uses WordPress statically generated thumbnails – there’s nothing dynamic – which means you are restricted to certain sizes.
- The size restrictions mean theme authors need to design with those sizes in mind, creating artificial design limitations.
- The image sizes can be altered via the WordPress admin, which means they can not be relied upon by theme devs to work consistently – again making theme design harder.
- The script only looks at the attached images and ignores those embedded in the content (which is something Mimbo Pro, Elemental, and a variety of thumbnail plugins take care of)
- It doesn’t crop the images, only resizing them, which could lead to some unpredictable results when there are very wide or tall images.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the addition is fantastic, especially for those who don’t want to spend time working out how to do it the ‘hard’ (aka custom) way, and I am sure many will use it. However from a personal point of view I will be taking the function apart to see what I can learn, but within my themes I will continue using a combination of my custom code and TimThumb.