I am incredibly impressed with the latest Gamma of WordPress 1.5 in spite of being very biased. I started a new blog today with it and it was a very satisfying experience, much like I had felt the first time I started a blog on b2 (Thanks Michel). I was so impressed, that I would like to share some of my pleasures with my readers.
I am not new to WordPress, nor am I new to WordPress 1.5 but I had not started a new blog with the intention of making it public for sometime now. I had forgotten how much fun it can be. With the dazzling array of eye catching templates and themes to choose from, I was in heaven. I downloaded one that I liked, uploaded it to the themes folder, switched designs, changed permissions to allow me to modify templates on the fly, modified the header to my liking and I was off. Mmmmmm, blogging! (Anyone have a t-shirt with that on it yet?)
New stuff in WordPress 1.5 that I like a lot:
- The Dashboard: Everytime you log into your blog to post, you are greeted with the dashboard which gives you a quick glance into some small stats for your blog and recent WordPress news. I am quite proud since WordPress Planet made its way into the code. I like having a short summary of recent posts, comments and total numbers. I think Jesuit (Chris Davis) was the first to come up with this idea and I think it is very useful and very elegant.
- Write Post, Write Page: If you are not aware already, WordPress 1.5 allows you to build static pages such as a Colophon and link them directly from within your blog which is very nice. Write Page is quite flexible. You can create a page with any of the usable templates to make it suit the page you are creating. I will probably end up building a “Links” page for the new blog. Easy, usable, friendly and quite enticing.
- The Link Manager: Is evermore versatile. Each user can have their own set of links and ownership of links can now be transferred to another user.
- The Options: Now thats gotten quite a few new features. I like the default post category dropdown, the ability to control postings from new users by forcing them to be drafts.
- Spam prevention: 1.5 incorporates a very clever set of rules to reduce spam. Simply put, not only do you have a list of words that can trigger a comment moderation, certain words can be made to kill spam on contact. I know this is going to be a bad example, but it reminds me of marine Lionfish. Certain varieties of Lionfish can seriously injure and kill a human being on contact with their dorsal spines while others will produce just a mild sting. So if a word appears in the blacklist and is seen in a comment, the comment is history. Works for Photomatt.
- Plugin Editor: If you set the right permissions, you can edit your plugins online. Simple extension of an existing feature that is quite useful in my opinion.
- Themes: Wow. This is where WordPress has really surprised and impressed me. I am a coder and not a designer. However, CSS and XHTML can be daunting. Michael and Kubrick are incredibly easy to work with on the contrary. Installation of themes are a breeze. Just upload to the right folder and select the theme! Set the right permissions and you can even edit the text online.
- A whole lotta code under the hood: The code gets cleaner with every release. A lot of new functions, hooks, features and reshaping has been done with this release. Too many to effectively list here. That is a post for another day (or a book).
I would like to see:
- Press It Quicktags reduced in size. They fill up the whole posting page. Not all of those quicktags are useful in Press It and I suggest reducing the number for better usability.
- A theme uploader would be nice. Let users browse for a zip file containing the theme, upload to server, unzip into a new folder and enable the new theme.
- The lower end of the dashboard looks weird to me, but it looks like it is a work in progress so not much to be said there.
- The overlap in the menu functions are a little confusing. My users tell me that too many links to the same part of an application if confusing and intimidating.
Seeing that 1.5 is in Gamma, I would have to say that there is a feature freeze. The new WordPress 1.5 will be a very nice application to use. There are bugs to be fixed and more tests to be performed, but in the meantime, I would like to congratulate all WordPress people on a job well done.
WordPress 1.5 is a cool blogging tool, way cooler than 1.2.