WordPress 2.7: Ten useful new features

The first public beta of WordPress 2.7 was released on 1 November 2008. This new version of WordPress comes with an extensive UI rearrangement in the administration area and with many new features. Some elements of the UI rearrangement will probably not please everyone, but most of the new features seem to be unequivocally useful. Almost all were already possible in WordPress, supplied by several good plugins. Now they are incorporated.

I have been using WP 2.7 since September 2008. There are several new features I like a lot in it, and several more that are obviously useful additions even if not needed for every installation or use of WordPress. This is a list of ten such features.

op111.net has been running on the development version of WP 2.7 since 28 October 2008, with no problems so far (2008-11-03) one accident so far (2008-11-04). Of the 30 installed plugins, all but two work fine. If you want to know details, post a comment to ask! :-) — If you do, don’t forget to get the RSS feed for the comments. Alternatively, you can subscribe for e-mail notifications.

THREE NOTES

  1. Major functionality is not expected to change until the final release, but issues are fixed daily and details change.
  2. The icon set will be different in the final version.
  3. The final version is expected by the end of November 2008.

The ten features

1. Mass-edit posts and pages

Mass editing —or “batch editing” or “bulk editing”— of posts and pages is one of the best new features in WP 2.7, and very easy to use.

Select multiple posts or pages, edit them, save your edits:

  1. Click Posts › Edit, or Pages › Edit
  2. Check the boxes of the posts/pages you want to edit
  3. Select Edit from Actions, then click Apply
  4. Mass-edit
  5. Click Save!

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Posts, Edit, Mass Edit (Batch Edit)

2. Modular edit/write pages

Thanks to:

  1. the new “Screen Options” (see below, no. 8) and
  2. the modularization/widgetization of metaboxes (boxes for medatada like tags, categories, author etc.)

... you can now have Write/Edit pages exactly how you want them, with only the elements you need, in the exact positions you prefer them.

On the first screenshot I’m moving around the metabox “Publish”.

The second screenshot shows a customized “Add New Post” page with only two metaboxes: Publish and Categories.

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Edit Post, Moving a metabox

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Add New Post, Customized

The boxes of the two plugins —HeadSpace2 and MiniPosts2— don’t count here: Both HeadSpace2 and MiniPosts2 work fine in WP 2.7, but you can’t hide their metaboxes or move them around, since they have not been updated yet for the new functionality.

3. Paginated comments

NOTE. If supported by theme!

Pagination of comments is especially useful in sites with many comments. With it you can show only a certain number of comments on each page, instead of serving tens or hundreds of comments (and sending tens or hundreds of HTTP requests to Gravatar servers) for every visitor who comes to have a quick look or to do a quick search for something.

Splitting comments into multiple pages was already possible in WordPress, with a plugin. In version 2.7 it is built into the core. You’ll find it in Settings › Discussion:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Settings, Discussion, Paginated Comments

I think the default settings are sensible, and what most people would select. (Maybe the number (50) is a little too high for a default value...)

4. Quick Edit (Inline Edit)

Now you can edit any post or page in Posts › Edit, and Pages › Edit, without having to load individual edit pages. Except for the body and the excerpt, almost everything else can be edited.

Go to Posts › Edit, or Pages › Edit, click Quick Edit:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Posts, Edit, Quick Edit, Step 1

... then start editing:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Posts, Edit, Quick Edit, Step 2

... then save!

Quick Edit was based on the plugin Manageable by Aaron Harp.

5. QuickPress

Post directly from the dashboard. This is a great addition — except for one omission. See:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Dashboard, QuickPress

No categories!

QuickPress will probably prove even more useful as a quick sketchbook: A tool to put your thoughts, ideas, photographs etc. into drafts with as few clicks as possible. (For this particular use, the omission of categories is not a grave issue.)

6. Recent drafts in Dashboard

The new Dashboard won’t let you forget about your recent drafts, and it will keep reminding you to finish them. :-)

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Dashboard, Recent Drafts

If you don’t use drafts, you can simply hide the module from display (see feature no. 8).

Next comes what is probably the best of the set...

7. Reply to comments from the administration area

Reply to comments from the admin panel. Not much to explain here — see screenshot:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Edit Comments

8. Show/Hide modules and columns (“Screen Options”)

When you click on Screen Options, a panel drops down with options to show/hide individual modules (or, in pages with tabular data, columns). Combined with the ability to rearrange modules (feature no. 2), this will allow you to have in any administration page exactly what you need exactly where you want it.

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Screen Options

9. Sticky posts

Tick a check box before you publish a post —or after you publish it— and the post will stick to the front page! As simple as that!

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Edit Post, Sticky Posts

This feature has no options or settings and the implementation is elementary at present. For instance, you can’t make a sticky post stickier :-) than another: for two or more stickies, the top place is always taken by the oldest, and there is no way to change that.

I imagine such details will be of little practical relevance to most WordPress users (they are to me). “Sticky posts” is a very useful addition.

10. Threaded comments

NOTE. If supported by theme!

Threaded comments make discussions easier to follow by threading together and nesting replies, replies to replies, and so forth. Threading was already possible in WordPress, with a plugin. Now it is built in. You’ll find it in Settings › Discussion, above the settings for comments pagination. Both features are off by default:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Settings, Discussion, Threaded Comments

11. Widgetomodularized Dashboard

Last, not exactly a new feature but a screenshot of the new Dashboard with all its new features and additions, from a fresh installation of WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, in Firefox for Linux:

WordPress 2.7 Beta 1, Administration, Dashboard

The styling of the admin area is not finished yet (WP 2.7 Beta 1, 2008-11-01). The strange size differences between serif and sans-serif fonts are because of this — not a fault of Firefox for Linux :-p or of the fonts it uses here (Liberation Sans and Liberation Serif).

Notes

I know it’s not a verb!

Links

wordpress.org/development
The WordPress development blog, to follow development news and get new betas and release candidates as they come out. Do not install in a live WordPress site, unless you know what you are doing or you are an adventurous character. :-)

The content of this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License: creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

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Comments (17)

  1. Otto says:

    Adding support for the two comments related items (paging and threading) is not that difficult. Here’s a tutorial on modifying your own theme:
    http://ottodestruct.com/blog/2008/09/29/wordpress-27-comments-enhancements

  2. mkjones says:

    Quick Edit and Mass Edit look the most useful.

    I’m still not sold on the new layout, its just not WordPress! I know I will have fun re-training all my clients :-)

    Is the end of November a ‘solid’ date to expect this? I’m in a situation where I could hold back on a couple of projects rather than upgrade in a few weeks.

  3. Simon North says:

    Brilliant, I cant wait until the new version is out, it’s amazing how quick they work, I can’t imagine a world without wordpress now, shocking.

  4. Nathan Beck says:

    Wow! @Simon they sure do work fast, the beauty of massive open-source involvement.

    The new features are great, there have been so many amazing plugins created over the years that should always have been incorporated – it seems they’re taking some real notice.

    Plus the user interface looks real nice (not that there was anything wrong before). Can’t wait to check it out :)

    Thanks for the insight Demetris!

  5. demetris says:

    Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    @Otto: Thanks for the link. I wanted to add some info for developers too (including a link to your how-to) but the page was already growing too long. :-) Maybe I’ll add just a few links.

    @mkjones: Given the state of 2.7 now (op111.net is precariously running on trunk) and the rate at which glitches are fixed, I would expect that the end of November is a solid date. But you never know!

    btw, this flexibility is one of the things I like in WP. In my opinion, there is no reason to fixate on fixed release dates, especially when you already have a stable version working fine (in this case, WP 2.6).

  6. Trinity says:

    The new interface looks awesome…I just wish there was a way that an Admin could lock down what other users can and can not see in their admin area. I have done a lot of customization of the wordpress interface in the past to remove things so other people can see things I don’t want them to see. Looks like back to the drawing board with this new interface.

    But is does look really sweet! I have it running on a test server and love the new eye-candy.

  7. Arjen says:

    Impressive list of new features. I can’t wait to install it. Especially the threaded and paginated comments sound very good, so the comments will be shown better.

  8. John says:

    Just a note to say that HeadSpace now fully supports WP 2.7 and the boxes are all now draggable!

  9. demetris says:

    @Arjen: There is more! :-) Maybe I’ll post a more extensive tour once we’re closer to 2.7 final, and things have stabilized.

    @John: Thanks for the update. That’s great!

    One thing only: the new version adds metaboxes to QuickPress too. Is that on purpose?

  10. Rob says:

    A function that I hope will be part of 2.7 that I cannot seem to find in 2.6 but that existed in previous versions was a way to edit the time/date stamp of posts. If it is available in 2.6, I’d love for someone to tell me how to do it. If it’s not in 2.6, it really should be in 2.7. I posted to my blog Wednesday evening, and because my DSL was acting up, the post was truncated. I did not notice it until the next morning. I deleted the post and reposted it, wanting to change the time stamp on it since there were some parts of the post that made better sense if it had been posted on Wed. instead of Thurs.

  11. demetris says:

    @Rob: In Write Post, in the box Publish Status, there is an Edit link next to “Published on:”. Have you tried that?

  12. Stephen R says:

    Demetris — Excellent article. I try to write these kinds of things, but always get lazy with the screenshots — even though they make all the difference! ;-)

    Also — thanks for the ping test. Ping went through, so you can take the link down now. Clearly I have some more testing to do….

  13. alex says:

    It seems nice, but actually I haven’t seen much improvement in the arena of multi-author blogging.

    At present, the support for post and comment management across multiple authors is abysmal at best. Every author sees every post in the manage view even ones they can’t edit. Ditto for comments.

    This doesn’t seem to be a top priority for development, but it’s definitely an incentive to give another engine (like drupal) a go!

  14. Paul William says:

    You did not include the new comment API! It may not be user facing but I think it will have a big impact on how people use wordpress.

    I have written a freeware Mac OS X desktop application that uses the new comment API. Its called Wordpress Notifier and, you guess it, it notifies you when new comments come through. It uses the new 2.7 comment API.

    http://www.wordpressnotifier.com

  15. Thanks for the quick list of the 10 most important new features in WP version 2.7. I’m so glad that you’ve mentioned the plugin “headspace”. I rely on this plugin a lot. I’m relieved to know that it works in ver 2.7.

  16. Mr Javo says:

    Hey great review of the new features!

  17. Faucet says:

    I still search for plugin, like “Mass Edit or Bulk Edit Posts”, because I do not know “bulk editing” is one of the best new features in WP 2.7.

    Many thanks for your summary on these ten features. Believe it is very helpful for most WP users.

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