I was excited to read the announcement that WordPress 2.9 has been released and is chock full on new enhancements that will make WordPress even easier to use.
I’ll review some of the features below however, I want to quickly discuss whether you should update your blog immediately to the new version (you may have noticed the alert in your WordPress administration screen over the last couple of days suggesting that you update to WP 2.9).
Whilst the enhancement list looks impressive (and I can’t wait to get my hands on them to see just how great they are), I recommend that you exercise caution before upgrading.
Personally, I don’t update my operational blogs for a few weeks unless I absolutely have to. I prefer to wait, do some testing on a system that isn’t live (in that it’s used daily) and see what does and doesn’t work – particularly with various plugins and such.
This approach is supported by a number of plug-in developers too. We received a notice this morning from Wishlist Member, asking us not to update just yet to give them time to fully test the interoperability between the Wishlist Member plugin and WP 2.9. Fine by me!
We are going through a testing process over the next couple of days ourselves. We will update one of our blogs and see what happens with the plugins we use. When I updated to version 2.8, one of our plug-ins stopped working completely and we couldn’t load our sites – so this time round, we’re being a lot more cautious in our testing.
Once we’re comfortable that the update won’t ‘break’ anything, we’ll start updating our blogs and our customer blogs that we have under maintenance / support agreements.
Let’s take a look at a few of the new features in WordPress 2.9 – and as we test them, I’ll provide some commentary in other articles:
Straight from the release article on the WordPress blog, the four ‘biggies’ that are exciting most people are:
- Global undo/”trash” feature, which means that if you accidentally delete a post or comment you can bring it back from the grave (i.e., the Trash). This also eliminates those annoying “are you sure” messages we used to have on every delete.
- Built-in image editor allows you to crop, edit, rotate, flip, and scale your images to show them who’s boss. This is the first wave of our many planned media-handling improvements.
- Batch plugin update and compatibility checking, which means you can update 10 plugins at once, versus having to do multiple clicks for each one, and we’re using the new compatibility data from the plugins directory to give you a better idea of whether your plugins are compatible with new releases of WordPress. This should take the fear and hassle out of upgrading.
- Easier video embeds that allow you to just paste a URL on its own line and have it magically turn it into the proper embed code, with Oembed support for YouTube, Daily Motion, Blip.tv, Flickr, Hulu, Viddler, Qik, Revision3, Scribd, Google Video, Photobucket, PollDaddy, and WordPress.tv (and more in the next release).
Just these four things alone make me sigh with relief and I’m quite keen to test out the built in image editor.
Other enhancements that look quite cool include:
- The addition of a Post Thumbnail function. These functions are generally coded into premium themes like Woo Themes and other magazine style themes and it looks like WordPress is adding the functionality natively.
- The ability to address Categories through the category slug and not just the Category ID. That makes coding custom fuctions much, much easier – and will hopefully save me untold heart ache!
- TinyMCE has been enhanced. This means that the native visual editor in WordPress has been improved. I’ve been using the TinyMCE plugin to add extra functionality on my installs – hopefully this new enhancement means one less plugin I need to use.
It’s great to see the ongoing development on WordPress and the inclusion on many functions requested by users. As the use of WordPress continues to grow, so too will the enhancements.
More on the features as we get to test them out.