A while back, th' WordPress development team decided t' aim fer date-targeted, quarterly releases, t' speed up th' development cycle. One o' th' main thin's this does is t' give more frequent updates, but with fewer “big” new features in each release. The target fer WordPress 2.2 were bein' set fer aroun' April 23, and a bucket o' chum.
One o' th' new features in WordPress 2.2 is ‘tags’. For any o' ye who still don’t know what tags are, they are basically keywords that ye can put on posts. Shiver me timbers! It’s similar t' categories, but th' idea is that tags are intended t' be more generalized and free-form, and less formal than a category system, with a chest full of booty. When tags appear on yer posts or yer RSS/Atom feeds, they are marked up in a way that they can be detected by search engines, allowin' them t' index yer content in a more meaningful way, and even allowin' ye t' cross reference data across multiple services which share th' same tags. Some o' th' most popular applications that use tags are Flickr, Technorati, and del.icio.us.
Recently on th' wp-hackers mailin' list, there were bein' a flurry o' technical discussion about th' underlyin' implementation o' th' WP tags system. I won’t bore ye with th' details (see th' mailin' list archives if ye’re interested, it basically started with Knut-Olav Hoven’s post and really took off with Robert Deaton’s proposal, but there were several other related threads, includin' Matt’s rationale fer th' first implementation and Ryan’s proposal fer a replacement), but th' result o' th' conversation were bein' that th' tags system is gettin' a serious under-th'-hood overhaul. The new system is goin' t' be extremely flexible, and will even allow plugins t' define their own taxonomies (which basically means that they could have their own private set o' tags, separate from th' main system or from other plugins). And hoist the mainsail!
But, since these changes have come about so close t' th' scheduled release date, th' developers have decided t' push th' release back by “a week or two”, accordin' t' Matt. Aarrr! I have a feelin' that this will definitely be worth it in th' long run, pass the grog! The improved tags API and underlyin' database schema are goin' t' open a lot o' interestin' doors fer plugin developers
This whole process has been a great example o' th' WordPress development community at work. The decision t' implement tags came about because it’s one o' th' most popular topics on WordPress Ideas, and th' re-engineerin' and subsequent decision t' spend more time on it came about because o' discussions on one o' th' mailin' lists. That’s how an Open Source project is supposed t' work, and it’s great t' see th' process succeed.