WordPress 2.5 Preview

WordPress have released RC1 of version 2.5 of the WordPress software. It’s been a while in coming but finally we can play with a more streamlined backend that promises a slew of new features.

I’ve downloaded it and have a test install running on my local server. I’ve had a quick play around with it and here’s a few good and bad things that I wanted to comment on:

The good

  • Importing from my blog worked flawlessly, picking up all attachments and images and arranging them in the correct upload folders. Sweet!
  • Gravatars are now built in
  • Uploads management has been completely replaced with a new Media Library section which is a thousand times better. You can now have permalinks for all media too. This is a massive improvement.
  • The Blogroll is now named Links and has been moved into the Write section, which makes much more sense.
  • You can add media directly to a post with a media-management popup allowing you to browse for files and send the links and/or embed code directly into the post you’re working on.
  • Images placed into your posts are automatically given classes for CSS alignment. This is long overdue and very welcome!
  • If you use the visual text editor, you can make it full screen, which helps block out distractions while writing. Shame that I still use the code view due to WordPress’ horrible HTML code rewriting (which doesn’t seem to have improved, though I haven’t extensively tested that yet)
  • Some ‘Reading’ settings that were previously hidden in Options have now been sensibly moved to the Reading section
  • The admin area can have colour schemes applied using custom CSS which can be selected in the user profile (it took me a while to find that!)

The bad

  • Some plugins are now broken, but that was to be expected really.
  • The new colour scheme is ghastly and overall the back end still feels a bit clunky. It doesn’t feel like a polished product.
  • The write page now has a reduced side bar with most options appearing in collapsible panels beneath the Write window. This is a real waste of space and will mean more scrolling up and down to set things like the page-slug, ping status, etc. This seems an odd decision to have made.
  • Still no button for creating nextpage code in your post
  • Backend CSS for the admin area is still very messy and there still are not enough CSS hooks for skinning it
  • The Plugins page has a very bad default colour scheme that makes it tough to see at a glance which plugins are activated.

These are only few of my observations and I’m sure I’ll find others as I get to grips with it. Overall, this is a great improvement so a big “Well done!” to all involved. I’m currently re-designing my website, so I’m looking forward to using 2.5 to power it.

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