An Introduction to oEmbed and WordPress

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WordPress is currently one of the biggest CMS and blogging platforms. But why is that? WordPress has been criticized a lot over the last few years. One of the biggest issues is that the architecture isn’t as modern as it could be. The way the platform (or CMS) was written in 2004 is different from the standards we see today. Despite this, there’s no doubt that it’s very easy to use for end-users.

End-users want a CMS that’s easy to publish content with. I believe that most users don’t want to hard-code their content. If a client asks me: “I want to add some content from SlideShare”, my mind goes to REST APIs or at least embed codes. Today we’re going to look at a feature of WordPress that you’ve probably used without even knowing it.

Introduction into oEmbed

oEmbed is an incredibly easy way to embed content in your site. oEmbed consists of a consumer and a provider. The provider provides resources that can be embedded on the consumer and the consumer requests those resources via the oEmbed endpoint.

The oEmbed implementation specifies 4 types of resources:

  • Photo
  • Video
  • Links
  • Rich

The Photo, Video and Rich type should provide a URL, width and height in their response. The providers can include also other data, but these are all that’s required when dealing with this type of content. The oEmbed specification is a guideline, providers can do their own implementation of oEmbed. The provider should have at least one oEmbed endpoint and a resource URL.

Let’s take a look at the SlideShare and see how they have implemented oEmbed.

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