WordPress 2.7 – First Impressions
[Update:As of December 14, 2008, the final release of WordPress 2007 is now out.]
I happily installed WordPress 2.7 RC 1 on my four WordPress sites yesterday. A ‘Holy Grail’ feature I have wanted since I started using WordPress a few years ago is finally here – core auto-upgrading (see below). And it works – Yippee!
For a good summary and description of what’s in WordPress 2.7 I suggest listening to Episode 48 of the WordPress Podcast where (starting at time index 39:13) core developer, Mark Jaquith, walks through the new WordPress features.
For years, every time a new WordPress version came out, I always sighed. It has been such a pain to update. I’d frequently let many versions slip by without installing them.
Yesterday I spent the entire afternoon upgrading my four WordPress installs from v. 2.5 to v. 2.7. No longer!! Upgrading the core now takes just seconds. To do an upgrade all you need to do is select “Upgrade” from the “Tools” menu (see picture below), then click on the “Upgrade Automatically” button:
Seconds later, if all goes well, you’ll see this success screen.
Of course you’ll want to back up your site and your databases before upgrading My sites are automatically backed up to my Drobo every night and I use the WordPress Database Backup Plugin to automatically backup my databases each night. Since backups are always taken care of for me, upgrading now takes no more than a few seconds for each site. Wonderful!
If you install RC1 you’ll have numerous chances to test the auto-update function because new builds are coming out every day.
Built-in Search for & Install Plugins Feature
In the past, if you wanted to search for, review and install possible WordPress plugins, you’d have to leave search for them on the WordPress site. If you wanted it, you had to separately download the files to your WordPress plugins directory and then return to the dashboard to activate them. No longer.
Now you can search for, review and install plugins directly from within your dashboard.
Delete Plugins Feature
In the past, if you wanted to delete a plugin, you had to remove the underlying files from your plugins directory with whatever FTP or other tool your service provider gave you for this purpose. In my world, this usually ended up with lots of deactivated plugins hanging around my plugins page. Now, with just a few clicks you can delete plugins (and all their underlying files) directly from the dashboard. When combined with the built-in plugin search and install function (see above), this makes it much more likely that I’ll play around with and test plugins.
Admin Replies in Comment Panel
Prior to 2.7, to reply to users comments you had to navigate to the post being commented on and add your own comment just like any other user. You can now both edit and reply to comments directly from within the comment management page:
Under each comment in the comment list there is a new “Reply” option. When you click on it, a “Reply to Comment” box opens below the comment (as pictured above) for you to input your reply – right there on the comment moderation screen.
Just as you can quickly reply to comments, there are new ‘quick-edit’ options to quickly edit comments, pages and posts – without leaving the comment, page and post management pages respectively.
Customizable Ajaxy Modular Dashboard
As you can see in the first picture in this post, the dashboard has been completely redone. The two most significant changes are that: 1) the menus are now down the left side; and 2) the dashboard sections now appear in movable panes that can be positioned wherever you want them. Unwanted panes can be removed altogether.
Edit – Go Back Function
It’s the littlest things that sometimes make a big difference. While browsing your posts, if you are logged in to your site (and assuming your template supports this), you can click on the “Edit” button within the post to be taken directly to the ‘Edit Post’ page on the dashboard. As I frequently fix typos and update posts, I use this often.
Now there is a “go back” link at the top of the Edit Post page so that when you are done with your edits, you can click it and to be taken back to the post you were reading before the edit.
So simple. So useful!
WordPress has supported gravatars with comments for some time. Unfortunately, most people don’t use them. Until now, the empty ‘Mystery Man’ gravatar appeared beside the comments for users without a custom avatar of their own. Now you can either display a generic logo or a generated one based on the users e-mail address. As you can see, I chose to use the ‘Wavatar’ gravatar set for use within The Daleisphere.
Comment Moderation Keyboard Shortcuts – A,S,D – J,K
There are now keyboard shortcuts for quickly moderating comments. You can quickly moderate comments without ever taking your hands off the keyboard. The “J and K” keys quickly move up and down the comments (similar to gMail shortcuts) and the A, S and D keys ‘A’pprove, , mark as ‘S’pam or ‘D’elete comments respectively. Here is A video demo of this (and other keyboard shortcuts) by Mark Jaquith:
WordPress 2.7 now supports threaded comments. Minor changes to your theme will be required to support them. For the moment I haven’t implemented them.
Here’s a blog post that both describes how to implement threaded comments and shows an example of how they look.
I’m still on the fence as to whether to use them in my site or to start using Intense Debate or Disqus. If/when I start using threaded comments in my blogs, I’ll either update this post or create a new one on the topic. It’s more likely that I’ll move directly to Intense Debate given that Automattic, (the owners of WordPress) recently acquired them. I’m still not certain of the relationship between native support for threaded comments within WordPress and to Intense Debate‘s comment system. My guess is that these will merge over time.
Here’s a nice generic tour by a pleasant sounding Australian woman (she chose the non-default colours). Her knickers are in a twist about the inability to use a front-page – something irrelevant to 99% of all WordPress users. But the tour is useful nonetheless.
There are other new features available in WordPress 2.7, but the one’s I mention above are the one’s that most impressed me.