Go Left To Read Older Entries

Michael Heilemann said it succinctly two years ago when he explained that pagination navigation should have newer stuff on the right, and older stuff on the left.

He wrote:

Consider a blog like a diary. You start writing on the first page and then go towards the right. And since the first page of a blog is the latest entry, to go to the older entries, you have to press the arrow that points to the left.

Left = Old.

He's got it right, and Wordpress (among others) has it wrong. I love Wordpress, and in order to help Wordpress users fix the code in their themes, here's some sample code that corrects Wordpress's default pagination navigation:

For pages with single entries:

<div class="left"><?php previous_post('&laquo; %','','yes') ?></div>
<div class="right"><?php next_post(' % &raquo;','','yes') ?></div>

And somewhat confusingly, for pages with multiple entries you should have the following:

<div class="left"><?php next_posts_link('previous', 0) ?></div>
<div class="right"><?php previous_posts_link(' newer', 0) ?></div>

This intuitive idiom is important enough to get right, despite the fact that Wordpress's backwards implementation has gained some traction.

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