Confessions of a WordPress Trac Ticket Lobbyist

by on April 20, 2015
Robert Dall
Robert Dall

This post was contributed by Robert Dall. Studying web design in college, he stumbled upon WordPress.com early in his career. Dall made the natural progression from WordPress.com to the self-hosted version of WordPress. Since then, he’s worked almost exclusively with WordPress using it as a blog, CMS, portfolio, and e-commerce. He’s also an avid photographer.


Coming in WordPress 4.2 is something that has been long overdue and something I have encountered as a former photographer working with WordPress. When you import a photo into WordPress that has IPTC data, the caption populates the description field and not the caption field.

This is mainly due to the fact that the IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) calls the caption the description. When WordPress integrated all of the camera metadata (also called EXIF meta data) and caption data, they mistakenly populated the caption field into the wrong field.

In this blog post, Samuel “Otto” Wood points out the problem and created a plugin to address the issue. While this is a good fix for projects like the new Art Wolfe website, I knew WordPress could be easier to use for photographers who use the IPTC data fields. Those who don’t wouldn’t notice a change.

The Benefits of This Small Change

I think media organizations that use WordPress and those that might in the future, will benefit from this industry standard being properly integrated into something that powers more than 20% of the internet.

Photography plugin developers such as WooCommerce Photography, could really benefit from this small change to core as similar plugins inherently use the built-in media uploader in WordPress. The problem is that it requires unit tests to be written and some changes to WordPress core, stuff that is well beyond my WordPress knowledge.

The Art Wolfe project has allowed me to work with a great WordPress developer named Sergey Biryukov. I knew if I gathered enough interest in a patch, I could approach Biryukov with the idea that we might get this fix into WordPress and put a seven-year-old trac ticket to bed.

What I Did to Get This Issue Fixed

I didn’t write a lick of code, write the ticket, and no props are coming my way, nor should they. It was Biryukov who wrote the final patch and got it committed with props to @beaulebens, @ericlewis, and @bendoh.

I attended every core meeting until it was committed. Whenever there was an “open discussion” time during the meeting, I mentioned the ticket. I also let Drew Jaynes, 4.2 release lead and former photographer, know of my intentions. I tested the patch on a number of heavily used photography plugins to see if there would be any adverse impact on them. Subsequently, I haven’t found any that were directly attributed to the patch.

Since I am mainly self-employed, I had the ability to lobby this ticket during what would be considered working hours and, like Rick Astley, “I was never going to give you up.” So photographers rejoice! Caption information will be automatically imported into WordPress and your work flow of importing, editing, and captioning using the IPTC standard will be completely integrated into WordPress.

Source: WP Tavern

Confessions of a WordPress Trac Ticket Lobbyist

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