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I understand that links used to be a big thing when Wordpress came out and during the blog rise, but the link feature is so underused nowadays that as of version 3.5 it is hidden by default (thus greatly discouraging its usage).

Moreover, I don't see any reason why Links themselves shouldn't be a Custom Post Type as it would be much more consistent with the approach Wordpress has taken in its data architecture.

Is backwards compatibility the only reason why such basic things as the db schema aren't touched? Or is there some other reason I am not grasping?

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You answer yourself pretty much - "hidden" does not mean removed. It still works.

And yes, the reason would be backwards compatibility which is considered absolute priority in WP. See #21307 Remove Link Manager from core for context and discussion.

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  • Thank you for the helpful link! I understand that hidden doesn't mean removed, but I was wondering why the information architecture for this specific feature (which, though not removed, it's quite obsolete or niche) wasn't reworked into CPTs. And from what I read in that discussion, I understand that they are looking to remove the feature completely but it was closed 8 months ago without a follow-up…? Jun 3 '13 at 19:14
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    @Sunyatasattva things move quite slowly in WP development, with backwards compat considerations it will probably take years to completely wash it out of core
    – Rarst
    Jun 3 '13 at 19:28

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