WordPress is about to release version 2.5 into the wild (It just hit Release Candidate on the 17th). If you’ve been using WordPress.com or have peeked at the demo site you will know the biggest change coming to WordPress with this release.
My Beginnings in Blogging with WordPress
My original blog started at WordPress.com in April 2007, and I recently switched to my own self-hosted WordPress install in December 2007. With the re-launch of Apple Universe in February, I needed to get much more familiar with the platform, hence the switch.
At first, I was amazed at all the features like plug-ins, and user-installable themes. In my search for themes, I happened across iTheme, but at that point I didn’t know that Matthew Heidenreich would design an amazing theme for me. Once he was done, however, I was really blown away by his work.
WordPress 2.5 – Dashboard Design Refresh
Although older releases of WordPress were easy to use, WordPress 2.5 brings a fully refreshed administration system that makes things easier to understand than before. The “Publish Status” option is now prominently displayed at the very top of the right-hand sidebar. (Editor’s note: As I’m working through this post, I’m apppreciating the intelligent relocation of features more and more by the minute.)
The result is a new way of interacting with WordPress that will remain familiar to seasoned users while improving the experience for everyone.
The main tabs are functionally similar to older versions: on the left-hand side there are the Write, Manage, Design, and Comments links, (and, in my WP install, podPress), and on the right-hand side reside Settings, Plugins, and Users. However, links are now managed and created under the Manage tab, an alteration that brings back memories of the 2.0.x series releases.
The first major change that I noticed was the orange banner across the page, with a new super-emphasized “Write a New Post” button (and, directly adjacent to that button is one for creating a new page). Isn’t that the point of blogging? Generally, the first thought that comes to mind when I browsing to the Dashboard is writing a new post, and with WP 2.5 RC1, it’s clear that the WordPress team is aiming for this thought process. Blogging is the main objective; everything else merely enhances the experience.
Visual Editor Improvements
The WYSIWYG visual editor, a long time bane of many users existence, has been upgraded with support for TinyMCE 3. It includes a Full Screen mode for those that don’t like to be distracted when writing. I cannot speak a lot about this upgrade, as I don’t use WordPress’ visual editor, but the blogosphere has agreed that it’s a vast improvement over previous versions.
WordPress 2.5 RC1 is available for download. For a more in-depth review of the new features, Matt Mullenweg published a post on the WordPress Blog, and Aaron Brazell has an amazing outline of the new features, which inspired me to write up this article regarding WordPress 2.5.