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The new WordPress

By Tina Gasperson on April 08, 2008 (7:00:00 PM)

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How do I like WordPress 2.5? In a word, "wow."

Its developers promised that WordPress 2.5, released last month, was more than just "a fresh coat of paint." Instead, they said, 2.5 was a "from the ground up" redesign. The goal was to create a new WordPress that would be powerful but easy to administer. After upgrading my WordPress installation and using the new format, I found that the WordPress development team has done a fabulous job of making WordPress even better than it was. It's not perfect, but it's darn close.

Esthetically speaking, 2.5 presents a sleeker, more beautiful administrative back end. Older versions sported an institutional beige, black, and blue color scheme; now, with just a bit of tweaking, the WordPress team presents a pleasing combination of rich brown and muted slate blue that is much easier on the eyes. But colors are not the most important detail in the grand scheme of things.

Long considered a waste of bandwidth by many users, the WordPress dashboard has been brought to life with some artful layout changes and the addition of some useful elements. Whereas before the dashboard seemed to be all about WordPress.org, now it is all about you and what you need to do with your blog. Above the fold you'll find direct links for creating posts and pages, information about how many widgets you are using and in which theme (with links to change both), recent comments with links, and incoming links with an actual summary of the verbiage surrounding the link. There's still a link to WordPress.org forums, but it is more appropriately placed in the upper right corner of the admin screen, next to the login/logout and "my profile" links.

The only problem I ran into on the dashboard was that I accidentally created a "page" instead of a "post" the first time I tried 2.5. That's probably because it used to take a good three clicks to get to the "page" editing screen, and now the link appears before the link for the "post" editing screen. But if confusion about link placement is the only complaint with WordPress 2.5, that's not much to complain about.

Below the fold are WordPress.org announcements and news, and links to new and popular plugins. Another nice touch on the dashboard is the addition of RSS links on each element. You can subscribe to comments, links, and announcements through a reader, or even aggregate those feeds and put them in a reading list to display right on your blog.

WordPress has streamlined the administrative menu, listing only four main tabs (Write, Manage, Design, and Comments) where there used to be nine. Three more tabs off to the right of the screen let you control Settings, Plugins, and Users. The Blogroll tab included in recent releases of WordPress has disappeared, but you can still manage your blogroll by clicking on Manage, then Links. Also under the Manage tab are options for posts, pages, categories, link categories, import, and export, as well as two new options: tags and media library. The tags option is a friendly nod to the move toward tags and away from categories, but I didn't find it particularly useful. Still, you can use this part of the interface to delete tags or to check how many posts are labeled with each tag. The media library is convenient if you use a lot of graphics, audio, or video on your site. I often upload photographs to illustrate my blog posts, so I appreciated this easy way to see all my files at a glance and which posts they appear on.

The Design tab is simply a rename of the former Presentation tab, and under it are options to select new themes, edit existing themes, and work with widgets. The Comments tab doesn't have any startling new features except maybe for the little clickable flag with a number on it that shows beside the word Comments when there are comments in moderation.

Not too much has changed on the "little" tabs over on the right side of the screen, except that there's now a handy button under Plugins for deactivating all plugins at once. The only bug I found was in this section. A new automatic upgrade feature for plugins was broken. Others have reported this problem, and apparently it is only an issue if you use the WPAU plugin. Once I deactivated WPAU, the automatic plugin upgrade worked perfectly.

Have I mentioned that I really like this new WordPress release? If you're a WordPress veteran, I think you'll love 2.5 too. If you're unfamiliar with WordPress, now is a great time to try it to start a new blog.

Tina Gasperson writes about business and technology from an open source perspective.

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on The new WordPress

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The new WordPress admin panel sucks

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 78.62.72.96] on April 08, 2008 07:49 PM
I'm totally disappoointed with new Admin interface. Old one was MUCH MORE BETTER in terms of functionality and simplicity. Menus was logically arraged in groups, functional links for modules were easily to spot and there was uniformity.

New interface is total mess. It is slow, overcrowded with effects and even stopped working for me (image upload said WWW server does not have rights).

Maybe I was too accustomed to old administration panel but this upgrade seems like a total downgrade. Or maybe I already have an allergy for Vista like interface.

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The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 172.27.229.193] on April 08, 2008 09:07 PM
Yeah, 2.5 is pretty cool I guess. The only change that bugs me is that the image upload window apparently has a flash element (I use a crappy computer with an old Mozilla and no flash plugin), so that's lame.

Also, I'm not sure about the new plugin updater they're hailing... I clicked "upgrade" and Wordpress took me to a page asking for information for an FTP server... I couldn't tell if this was for MY server or the server where the plugin resides. Well my server doesn't run FTP (for good reason!) and how the hell should I know where the plugin's FTP server resides? I thought this was supposed to be "one click" upgrades...? I could go research on Wordpress, as I'm sure there's a FAQ entry or a messageboard posting, but why didn't they just make this FTP page actually tell me a little more information!?

On a side note, I think the new admin interface is ugly but I can get over that. From what I understand they reworked some user interface API hooks so admin styles should be easier to design. I found this one from Dean J Robinson and it's pretty snazzy: http://deanjrobinson.com/projects/fluency-admin/

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Re: The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.223.107.223] on April 09, 2008 06:24 PM
The new auto updater for the plugins requires FTP access in order to update your plugins. The reason it asks you for your FTP info is because the updater can't find it on it's own due to FTP being disabled on your server. I don't know what your good reason for having FTP disabled is but I can't possibly think why that would be. Securing your plugins from outside access is easy enough and has nothing to do with having FTP being enabled. If I didn't have FTP access to my WordPress, upgrading and access to my site's directory structure would be that much more difficult.

"I could go research on Wordpress, as I'm sure there's a FAQ entry or a message board posting, but why didn't they just make this FTP page actually tell me a little more information!?"

There are literally hundreds of thousands of possible server configurations out there. Do you expect them to cover all? If FTP is disabled then how do you expect WP to give you more info? You can't enter a room of there's no door. And yes, you need to do the research. You own a website...that makes you a webmaster...it's your job.

You can enable FTP access to your site through your host's cPanel or the equivalent. It's not the WP dev's fault if your server doesn't meet the minimum requirements. Same with the flash uploader. It was announced that this is what 2.5 now used for uploading media although it should degrade and still properly for those browsers without flash.

My recommendation is that you upgrade to the latest Firefox and install the latest version of the Flash plugin. If you're worried about all those Flash based ads popping up in your face then install the AdBlocker extension. Sorry you have a crappy computer and old software but minimum requirements are minimum requirements. Time to think about upgrading.

Oh, for those that are finding the new admin slow to respond you probably need to check for any outdated plugins that may affect the admin itself or any plugin that might not be compatible with 2.5 (there's a list at WordPress.org). That's often the problem. Deactivate all plugins to start with and reactivate them one at a time until you find the one that's slowing you down. The new admin in all testing and the majority of user feedback is actually faster than the old one.

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Re(1): The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: unknown] on April 09, 2008 09:01 PM
No, it doesn't require FTP. It falls back to trying FTP if your host has fsockopen() disabled for PHP (IIRC). It defaults to one-click updates if your PHP install can get to the plugin zipfiles sitting on WordPress.org

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The new WordPress? Joomla 4 Life!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 63.201.4.214] on April 08, 2008 09:20 PM
HEH.

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Re: The new WordPress? Joomla 4 Life!

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.230.46.6] on April 09, 2008 01:06 AM
Illiterate fanboy.

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The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.93.158.78] on April 09, 2008 06:17 AM
Ah, yes, I also accidentally create a page instead of a post first time after upgrading to 2.5!

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The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 62.162.177.163] on April 09, 2008 11:10 AM
Images or it didn't happen!

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What about security?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 213.164.7.22] on April 09, 2008 01:22 PM
The old Wordpress had a reputation as one of the worst web applications available, from a security standpoint.

Was security a point of focus for 2.5? The review should say!

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WAUP and FTP for plugin upgrade

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.223.107.223] on April 09, 2008 06:00 PM
On WAUP and the auto-updater. The latest version of WAUP (1.1) is compatible with 2.5 in all respects. Just upgrade it and you'll be all set.

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The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.188.23.165] on April 09, 2008 06:10 PM
I hate the layout. I have to go to the bottom of the page to find categories? Bah.

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Re: The new WordPress

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 212.145.69.245] on April 10, 2008 10:44 AM
Ops

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FTP and the updater

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 64.223.107.223] on April 09, 2008 06:27 PM
The new auto updater for the plugins requires FTP access in order to update your plugins. The reason it asks you for your FTP info is because the updater can't find it on it's own due to FTP being disabled on your server. I don't know what your good reason for having FTP disabled is but I can't possibly think why that would be. Securing your plugins from outside access is easy enough and has nothing to do with having FTP being enabled. If I didn't have FTP access to my WordPress, upgrading and access to my site's directory structure would be that much more difficult.

"I could go research on Wordpress, as I'm sure there's a FAQ entry or a message board posting, but why didn't they just make this FTP page actually tell me a little more information!?"

There are literally hundreds of thousands of possible server configurations out there. Do you expect them to cover all? If FTP is disabled then how do you expect WP to give you more info? You can't enter a room of there's no door. And yes, you need to do the research. You own a website...that makes you a webmaster...it's your job.

You can enable FTP access to your site through your host's cPanel or the equivalent. It's not the WP dev's fault if your server doesn't meet the minimum requirements. Same with the flash uploader. It was announced that this is what 2.5 now used for uploading media although it should degrade and still properly for those browsers without flash.

My recommendation is that you upgrade to the latest Firefox and install the latest version of the Flash plugin. If you're worried about all those Flash based ads popping up in your face then install the AdBlocker extension. Sorry you have a crappy computer and old software but minimum requirements are minimum requirements. Time to think about upgrading.

Oh, for those that are finding the new admin slow to respond you probably need to check for any outdated plugins that may affect the admin itself or any plugin that might not be compatible with 2.5 (there's a list at WordPress.org). That's often the problem. Deactivate all plugins to start with and reactivate them one at a time until you find the one that's slowing you down. The new admin in all testing and the majority of user feedback is actually faster than the old one.

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Re: FTP and the updater

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 82.206.159.27] on April 11, 2008 10:29 AM
In response to Anonymous [ip: 64.223.107.223]:

"There are literally hundreds of thousands of possible server configurations out there. Do you expect them to cover all? If FTP is disabled then how do you expect WP to give you more info? You can't enter a room of there's no door. And yes, you need to do the research. You own a website...that makes you a webmaster...it's your job."

A little explanation for when the "auto update plugins" feature fails would be simple. It wouldn't even require any code... Printing something like, "Unable to automatically retrieve plugin updates from Wordpress.org. If you provide login details for your web server I can try to fetch the plugins via FTP."

Maybe I'll file a bug report. Hopefully the Wordpress developers are a little more understanding than you.

Also, I haven't used FTP on my server in years. You're correct, I OWN a server, and therefore I have the luxury of using SSH as my "door." From there I can use svn, wget, curl, links, ftp, etc; no need to download them to my personal computer and FTP them to my server.

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The new WordPress and the media native gallery with DivvaFlip plugin an easy flipping engine

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 88.181.16.37] on April 10, 2008 04:38 PM
We launch a new easy plugins based on the WP2.5 media gallery
just try our DivvaFlip plugins a page flipping engine with a very easy
backoffice and working with WordPress 2.3 and 2.5 ! :-)
you have already a Nextgen it’s great you can do it in minutes
if you have wP 2.5 that’s great to we prepare a direct connection to the embedded media gallery of WP2.5
Have a glance here http://www.divva-plugins.com/
enjoy
feel free for your feedback
Foudyl

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