WordPress 2.5 has finally been released and after having a few days to toy with it, let me just say, if you haven't upgraded, you are really missing out. The most major changes came courtesy a major admin section overhaul from the guys over at Happy Cog. They did an amazing job redesigning the admin panel not only from a usability standpoint but from an aesthetic one as well. The thing is just beautiful. The first thing you notice is an updated login page:
I almost didn't mention the new log in page look since its not a very important change, but it shows a couple things. There is a new color scheme for the admin panel, they've dropped the super bold blues for more subtle tones. Also, the Log In button hints at what's to come, and overall friendlier interface. I know that's a lot to deduce from just the log in, so here is a shot of the new dashboard to show you what I mean:
Overall, things are much more organized and it does a fantastic job of giving you a look at your blog as a whole. Right up front, you are greeted with your number of posts, pages, categories, tags, comments, and pretty much everything else you'd want to check first. I always found the old dashboard a bit useless, just a page I had to click through to get to the good stuff, but with the update, I find myself checking the page much more often. Which brings me to the next shot, showing the new dashboard widget system:
All of the content on the dashboard is widgetized, or easily changed. You can view things like stats, news, and plugins. If you don't care about any of these things, you can swap out the feeds to any RSS feed you want, like your local news, for instance. It really does a lot to stretch the functionality of the dashboard, broadening it to content beyond just your blog. Despite how awesome the new dashboard is, we all really know why we use WordPress: the blogging, so lets check out the Write page:
The write page has a fancy new visual editor, along with a long list of other improvements. One thing I really liked is the permalink being displayed, along with the option to edit it. If you aren't super familiar with how WordPress works, permalinks can be a confusing concept, so its nice to have it displayed right up front for those who need it. Another nice addition is the Add Media buttons, which replace the old upload module I was never too crazy about. You can add images, video, and audio, all from a nice pop-up overlay:
The new module has a lot more options, like how to format and align the new image, along with links, captions, and anything else you might need. Another awesome improvement to the uploader comes with the ability to read EXIF data from your photos, which can be used as custom fields (that should lead to some exciting new functionality). Along with a new uploader, there is also a new Media Library that adds new options for sorting and searching all the media you've uploaded in the past, which is mega handy. Along with the new Media Library comes built in Galleries, which lets you build categories for your images and display them as an image gallery. Tags and categories have also been retooled:
The new tag system is really top notch, a huge improvement over the old system, which always felt a little "thrown in." You can add new tags and see a list of the existing tags, which is nice. The categories have moved down below the posts, and now there is the nice option of seeing your most used categories (I know I've only got four categories, but if you had fifty you can imagine how useful this would be). Continuing the improved tag support, the tags have made the move over to the Manage section:
The new manage section is really well thought out. They've done away with the old View Edit Delete links, which allows for a much cleaner interface. There is a lot to like here: the listing of tags right on the manage page, the showing of the post status (so you can know if the post is published or a draft), the little speech bubble comment links, and the fact that clicking on the post title takes you to the edit page, a feature I always thought was odd to be missing. Also, you can now search your page content, something that used to be reserved only for posts. Another really nice change is the Widget page:
The drag and drop interface is gone, replaced by a much nice add/subtract type function. Once you click Add, the widget is added to the list and the Add link switches to Edit, where you can set the properties of each widget. The only thing I'm sort of unsure about is having to configure one sidebar at a time. It shouldn't make a difference for most people, but some themes do have multiple sidebars, and it might be a chore to only be able to see one at a time and having to remember what you've already set on the others. The only other area of the entire redesign I want to complain about is the Theme Editor:
For some reason, the Styles have been separated out and moved to the bottom. I don't mind it be separated, but putting it at the bottom doesn't make sense to me, its easily my most edited file. Another thing I don't like are the template files name and filename being displayed, which sometimes breaks onto two lines, even when you've got plenty of space out the side, making the list not quite as clean. Also, there was already a naming convention for template files: you could add a tag at the top of each file to append a proper title, or if you choose not to, the filename would be displayed. I was happy with the system and feel listing both is a bit of overkill. I feel bad for complaining about it because overall the upgrade is amazing, this is really just a minor nitpick issue.
So, in summary, the new WordPress 2.5 is a great upgrade, with a ton of improved functionality I don't even have time to list here. The only thing I can say is you need to install it and poke around for a while to really get a feel for how much better this version is. Its prettier, much more intuitive, and there are a ton of behind the scene upgrades like security fixes, upgraded password system, new database optimization, and tons of other nerdy features the general blogger wouldn't probably notice so I won't list them here. I'd been waiting on this update for a long time, and it really doesn't disappoint. I just can't wait to see what's next...
By clarklab in Web Design on Date 04/02/2008
WordPress 2.5 Released - An Overview
The long awaited version 2.5 finally released, and boy is it awesome.