Post Formats is a theme feature introduced with Version 3.1. A Post Format is a piece of meta information that can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post. The Post Formats feature provides a standardized list of formats that are available to all themes that support the feature. Themes are not required to support every format on the list. New formats cannot be introduced by themes or even plugins. The standardization of this list provides both compatibility between numerous themes and an avenue for external blogging tools to access this feature in a consistent fashion.
In short, with a theme that supports Post Formats, a blogger can change how each post looks by choosing a Post Format from a radio-button list.
Using Asides as an example, in the past, a category called Asides was created, and posts were assigned that category, and then displayed differently based on styling rules from post_class() or from in_category(‘asides’). With Post Formats, the new approach allows a theme to define a Post Format (e.g. add_theme_support(‘post-formats’, array(‘aside’))), and then the post format can be selected in the Publish meta box when saving the post. A function call of get_post_format( $post->ID ) can be used to determine the format, and post_class() will also create the “format-asides” class, for pure-css styling.
However, Post Formats may not suite a developer’s needs completely, especially in terms of setting up the Administration Panel display for content creation. For example, if you want to create a ‘Products’ post type, you may not want end-users to be able to select Post Formats, Tags, etc. just for the ‘Products’ post type. In that case, you want to explore Custom Post Types. If you’re developing a plug-in or theme, you should fully understand both Post Formats and Custom Post Types, before deciding which is best for your development needs.
The following Post Formats are available for users to choose from, if the theme enables support for them.
Note that while the actual post content entry won’t change, the theme can use this user choice to display the post differently based on the format chosen. For example, a theme could leave off the display of the title for a “Status” post. How things are displayed is entirely up to the theme, but here are some general guidelines.
- aside: Typically styled without a title. Similar to a Facebook note update.
- gallery: A gallery of images. Post will likely contain a gallery shortcode and will have image attachments.
- link: A link to another site. Themes may wish to use the first a href tag in the post content as the external link for that post. An alternative approach could be if the post consists only of a URL, then that will be the URL and the title (post_title) will be the name attached to the anchor for it.
- image: A single image. The first tag in the post could be considered the image. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL, that will be the image URL and the title of the post (post_title) will be the title attribute for the image.
- quote: A quotation. Probably will contain a blockquote holding the quote content. Alternatively, the quote may be just the content, with the source/author being the title.
- status: A short status update, similar to a Twitter status update.
- video: A single video. The first tag or object/embed in the post content could be considered the video. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL, that will be the video URL. May also contain the video as an attachment to the post, if video support is enabled on the blog (like via a plugin).
- audio: An audio file. Could be used for Podcasting.
- chat: A chat transcript (see example just below):
John: foo 2