Why I won’t be using Github Gists on WordPress.com

WordPress.com recently announced the ability to embed Github Gists (snippets of code) into a blog post. Each Gist is essentially a git repository so you can do all sorts of neat stuff with it. Then it’s cool that you can embed these straight in your page right? Well, um, actually, no.

I started using Github Gists for all my blog posts recently, but since then I’ve noticed a couple of shortcomings. Firstly, these Gists don’t get embedded in RSS feeds and emails, so readers of your blogs via these means miss out on important content.

Secondly, even though a Gist can contain multiple files, you only insert the Gist by URL into your blog post so there’s no way to split the files up into different sections in your blog post, so you end up creating more Gists than you really need.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, you’re essentially creating an external dependency for your blog. All the code is stored on Github, which is great until it’s down, or you start using another service, or you change your username or something else. Then you have broken links and blog posts that no longer make sense.

Whilst I prefer the look of the Github Gists in my blog posts (they’re prettier IMO), I think I’ll stick to the plain old embedded [ sourcecode ] tags, at least that way my code will live on with my blog posts.

Author: Alister Scott

Alister is an Excellence Wrangler for Automattic.

2 thoughts on “Why I won’t be using Github Gists on WordPress.com”

  1. Well, I noticed the same thing on other blog as well.
    But, I’ve just discovered a way to show the gist code to the RSS feed (including Feedburner and email newsletter). Same thing about multiple files, I’ve seen a blog embedding a split file. But, it’s just for selhosted WP, not WP.com blog.


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