A new version of WordPress is always exciting, and the first couple of weeks with WordPress 2.9 has been no different.
New WordPress releases can vary in how much they change things. Sometimes it’s just a security update, and most users don’t even notice anything different. Other versions, like 2.9 (which was released a few weeks ago), include a number of very notable improvements and enhancements, and yes, sometimes a bug or two that needs to be worked out. Today we’re going to go over some of the various features that have been added to WordPress with 2.9. The most recent version, 2.9.1, includes all of these features, and it fixes a couple of bugs we’ll discuss later on.
New Features In WordPress 2.9
The 2.9 release is definitely on of the more heavy-duty upgrades WordPress has seen in the recent past, with a list of updates that range from superficial to stunning. Let’s take a look, starting with the basics and ramping up to the good stuff:
The Cosmetics: New Buttons
This is a little thing, and I don’t even know why I noticed it, but if you pay close attention, you’ll notice some of your buttons take on a more rectangular appearance after the upgrade. Specifically, buttons like “Publish” and “Save Draft” on the Add New Post page, of “Filter” on the Edit Posts page, are now considerably less rounded.
Why? I dunno. Personally, I kind of like it though. The Wordress dashboard has a fairly rectangular layout, and these new buttons seem to me like they fit a lot better. In addition to that, compared to these new buttons, the old round ones feel like they are trying to look like a Mac (which isn’t a bad thing, I just like that WordPress is going for more of it’s own look ;))
New “Trash Can” Feature To Prevent Heartbreaking Mistakes
Ever have two drafts of the same post or page in the works and then accidentally delete the wrong one? No?
It sucks. Trust me. 🙂
Fortunately, that’s not something that will be an issue anymore. Now, rather than “deleting” content on WordPress, you simply move it to the “Trash can,” where it will sit for 30 days (unless you manually purge it before then) and can be restored at any time.
Hardly a new concept, but definitely a great addition in terms of making life a little happier for us bloggers!
New WordPress Shortened Links
It appears that WordPress has noticed that Twitter is continuing it’s
quest for global domination incredible growth in use and popularity. To that end, you can now grab a shortened link right from the Add New Post page. All you have to do is click the handy new “Get Shortlink” button next to the post’s permalink, and you’ll have a nice 14 character URL to slap into whatever status updates your heart desires.
Easier Video Embedding
Embedding videos from YouTube (and a large list of other sharing sites) has just gotten a lot easier than it used to be. All you need to do now is paste the video’s URL into the visual editor and you’re done. If (like me) you prefer the HTML editor, the full embed code will still work just fine.
Batch Plugin Updates
I like this one. A lot.
You now have the ability (via the Tools » Upgrade screen) to upgrade all of your plugins simultaneously. Simply check off the boxes next to the plugins you want to upgrade, hit the magic button and off you go. The resulting screen will show you the status and reactivation of each plugin.
As simple as this update is, it’s a nice time saver that I’ve been hoping to see for a while!
Built In Image Editing
While I’ll probably still be doing most of my image editing before I upload, I still think this is a great addition to the system.
You now have the ability to crop, rotate and scale (resize) images right from within WordPress, which is great for last minute changes to fit you layout.
New Post Thumbnail Support
This update will get more use as themes are developed and updated to support it. Blogs with supported themes now have the ability to specify a post thumbnail, which can be used for “magazine style” layouts.
Attaching thumbnails to posts has become an increasingly popular trend, and this new function means it is no longer necessary to copy the HTML into your excerpts!
New rel=canonical Support
This little piece of SEO goodness is a great addition to WordPress. Those of you using a plugin like All-In-One SEO pack already have this option on your configuration screen.
For any of you who aren’t familiar with the
rel=canonical tag, it’s basically a tool that Google gave web developers a while back to prevent blog posts from accidentally being viewed as duplicate content. It’s a great way to increase your search engine optimization, and implementing it is a great move by WordPress.
Those are the biggest additions, but there’s even more to this update than what I’ve gone into here, including some behind-the-scenes stuff to make things run smoother all around. You can check out a full list of 2.9’s enhancements on the WordPress.org Blog.
What About WordPress 2.9.1?
As much as I initially loved 2.9, there were a couple of glitches that had to be worked out.
Specifically, some installations ran into problems with things like scheduled posts, RSS widgets and pingbacks. Part of the reason was (in a nutshell) that WordPress ran a tad slower (we’re talking about milliseconds here) on some hosts, which meant some operations were timing out.
There was a workaround patch that you no longer need to worry about, since 2.9.1 was recently released to address these issues. Now that that’s behind us, things are looking pretty good!
That’s all I have for this pair of releases. If you’ve already upgraded, be sure to drop your thoughts on WordPress 2.9 (and it’s new successor) in the comments!