Today WordPress 2.7 RC1 was released, which you can get here. I decided after all of the hype, I have some free time, I should probably take a look at it. After installing and poking around the back end a bit, all I have to say is wow! Perhaps you have heard that this is a major revision that probable deserved the designation of 3.0, I am going to agree, this is a major over-hall! I thought I would take a moment to share my first impressions.
When you first log in to the admin section, you are presented with a completely new look! In 2.6, you had a rather sparse dashboard that had a bunch of information, with most of it being unnecessary. Two of the most important sections on the dashboard were the “Right Now” and “Recent Comments” panels. In 2.6 these were basically just populated with text and links. In 2.7, they still remain, however now they contain a beautiful list look that is so much easier to see what is going on at a glance. The comments section now allows you to manage individual comments right from the dashboard which should save quite a bit of unnecessary navigation!
Also new to the dashboard is a panel that gives you the power to write a new post right from within dashboard. This is a great new feature that a lot of people are going to take advantage of. There are a couple of issues that will keep me from using it on a regular basis however. The quick post panel lacks the ability to assign categories to a post and also only provides a visual editor. Since I regularly use the code view, as well as the need to assign categories, I will probably only use this as a quick way to put a draft together. Luckily, right below the quick post panel is a panel of recent drafts, so after creating a draft in the quick post panel, you can simply click it’s name below and have all of the normal features ready to go.
On top of presenting a more informative and useful dashboard, You now have the ability to drag and drop any of the panels, as well as hide them, giving you a much more personal dashboard. This modular way of doing things is used throughout the entire admin section letting you customize any sub section you feel could use a change. For instance when creating a new post, maybe you forget to assign tags to your post on a regular basis, no problem, move the “Tags” panel above the “Publish” forcing you to look at it before you click the publish button.
One of the other most obvious changes from 2.6 to 2.7 was to take the top navigational links and move them to the sidebar. I absolutely love this change. Not so much for the position, but for the fact that each of the main links now also shows the sub-navigation. I really like not having to wait for a new page to load before I can get what I need. You also have the ability of hiding the sub navigation for each individual section, as well as condensing the entire panel down to only the icons, which makes the interface very clean.
Aside from the interface, there are a number of new features added to this version, including: threaded comments, sticky posts, automatic upgrading, one click plugin installs, comment paging, batch and inline editing.
This new version of WordPress really is big step forward! The interface is now much more user friendly, and there are a ton of new features which greatly improve upon an already great product. I can not wait till it is released in the wild, and hope to have a fresh site design coming shortly after.