WordPress’s new development methodology — developing major new features as plugins — has several huge wins in the admin area in this release (including the new design). It’s a great release and is worth the time to upgrade.
I’m really, really liking where MP6, the new WordPress administrative look and feel, has gone in its recent releases (especially now that I can switch to a lower-contrast color scheme, which I’m using on this installation of WordPress). It is time for it to land in the WordPress core.
So long, 3.6.1. We barely knew you…hello, automatic updates!
WordPress 3.4 is out, and it’s worth the seven to 10 seconds it will take to upgrade — lots of new theming enhancements (though no Twenty Twelve theme yet) and a radically rebuilt XML-RPC API (to enable clients like MarsEdit, which I still use in the rare event I blog) to post to WordPress sites.
I am astounded at how, even on my increasingly complex installation, just how simple it is to deploy new WordPress releases. Clearly, I must be doing something wrong — software can’t be this pain-free, right?
WordPress 3.3 “Sonny” is out. I haven’t upgraded here just yet and might wait a few days to see how the plugin situation shakes out. There are some fantastic improvements in this release, including a drag-and-drop uploader and improvements for multi-user editing. Here’s the full changelog. I’ll let you know how my multisite installation here goes (I also run Somnambulonimbus on this instance).
Update 8:16pm EST: WordPress 3.3 is installed and running. Fast upgrade as always. If you’re using W3 Total Cache and hosting your wp-includes files on the CDN, you’ll probably run into trouble with the new toolbar (formerly known as the Admin Bar) if you’re caching aggressively. It took a few minutes for my new files to finish pushing to CloudFront, but after a couple refreshes, the proper CSS was in place and everything looked good.
Update 10:21pm EST: The WordPress download counter is always fun to watch after a new version is released. At the time of this update, it’s already been downloaded over 64,000 times. This includes in-place upgrades and .zip/.tar.gz downloads from the site, but not Subversion checkouts or one-click installs on web hosts.
After seeing and experiencing development versions of WordPress 3.2 and its incredibly sexy updates at WordPress DC, I had been kicking around the idea of running a development version here on jaredwsmith.com — and so it is done. Not only am I on a dev version, but I’m also updating it via Subversion, which is really nice. Most people probably should wait for the official release (not much longer, given that this nightly build sports 3.2-RC1 versioning); to get a taste of what’s coming in 3.2, check out Aaron Brazell’s excellent preview.
Who out there still fully customizes (or even totally writes from scratch) their own theme for their CMS or otherwise themable software? More and more this seems to be a dying art, especially on personal blogs, and it’s kind of a shame. I find a lot of joy in rolling my own code. Are theme frameworks just that good now that writing from scratch is foolhardy? Genuinely curious.
WordPress 3.1 is coming soon, and it really seems it’s getting some serious CMS muscle. Features such as internal linking are right out of every major CMS’s playbook, and post formats are a very interesting WordPress-based answer to the different post types Tumblr provides. I’m not sure how much mileage I’ll be getting out of those features, though, as I do a majority of my writing in MarsEdit and leave the WordPress control panel to handle system administration tasks. It’s unclear if WordPress’s developers have added anything extra to the XML-RPC API to allow third-party clients to take advantage of the post formats (I suspect not, given that they are theme hooks). The other consideration: data portability. Most, if not all, WordPress blogs to this point have implemented asides using theme logic to find posts in a specific category (In Brief here on jaredwsmith.com). This works well and is inherently compatible with all sorts of third-party clients from MarsEdit to Flickr’s auto-post. If my mischievous, tinkering side somehow convinced my rational, change-resistant side that moving jaredwsmith.com to something like Melody was a good idea, it would be trivial to write Melody template code to format posts in my In Brief category in a special way. If I implemented asides (or other post types, for that matter) using WordPress’s hooks, it is less clear whether it would be so easy. Thus, I’m likely to stick to my category-based way of differentiating posts; it might not be the most elegant solution anymore, but I know it works and I know it will remain compatible even if I switch platforms.
I just upgraded to WordPress version 3.0.2, being billed as a mandatory update for all versions (including those still running WordPress 2.x) to solve an issue that allows an author to elevate to an administrative user. Even if you have a single-author blog (like this one), there are other security enhancements and fixes that make this upgrade worthwhile. I completed it in about 30 seconds, and everything still seems to be working. If you are running a 2.x version of WordPress still, I think it’s time to upgrade — 3.0 has been very stable, and most plugins are now working with it.