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.
- Major functionality is not expected to change until the final release, but issues are fixed daily and details change.
- The icon set will be different in the final version.
- 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:
- Click Posts › Edit, or Pages › Edit
- Check the boxes of the posts/pages you want to edit
- Select Edit from Actions, then click Apply
- Click Save!
2. Modular edit/write pages
- the new “Screen Options” (see below, no. 8) and
- 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.
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:
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:
... then start editing:
... then save!
Quick Edit was based on the plugin Manageable by Aaron Harp.
Post directly from the dashboard. This is a great addition — except for one omission. See:
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. :-)
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:
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.
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!
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:
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:
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).
I know it’s not a verb!
- 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. :-)
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