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WordPress 2.9 Packs in Loads of Features: Hands-on Review

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December 3rd, 2009
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WordPress 2.9 beta 2 is out, and the final release of WordPress 2.9 should be out in a short time. However, not many of you might have tried out the beta or may be aware of the new functionalities that will be included in it.

Here is a hands-on review of WordPress 2.9 Beta 2. I try to showcase some of the most interesting features you can look forward to.

Image Editor

The most interesting feature in WordPress 2.9 is the introduction of a basic image editor. Using this feature you can crop photos, resize them and more.

upload_image_wp29

In WordPress 2.9 whenever you upload an image, you can edit it using the edit image option.

edit_images_in_wp29

The image editor contains several useful functions such as image cropping, image rotation and image flipping. In addition to that you can also undo and redo your actions. Overall WordPress 2.9 provides users with a much needed image editor which rocks.

Post Trash Can

How many times have you had a OOPS moment, when you deleted a post and then realized that you should not have done it? WordPress 2.9 introduces a much needed Trash can feature, which will allow you to undelete the posts you did not intend to.

wordpress_29_trash_post

The new Trash feature completely replaces the old Delete functionality, when you click on the Trash link, the status of the post will be moved to “Trash”, and can be restored for a certain time limit, 30 days by default.

wordpress_29_trash_post_view

To view all the posts or page in Trash, just visit the Trash menu in the top of the Edit Posts or pages section. You can also limit the number of days the trash can should hold deleted posts by adding the following line to your wp-config.php:

define(‘EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS’, 7);

Change the number 7 to the number of days you want to store deleted copies in the trash can.

Restoring Deleted Posts

restore_deleted_posts

If you deleted posts by mistake, you can always restore it by visiting the Trash menu and clicking on the restore link. You can restore multiple posts by using the Bulk options.

Disabling Trash Can Feature in WP 2.9

The Trash can feature is very useful, however, some of you might want to disable it. To disable trash feature, just add the following code to wp-config.php: define(‘EMPTY_TRASH_DAYS’, 0);

disable_trash_feature_in_wp29

Once you do that, you will see Delete Permanently option instead of Trash.

Embedding Videos and Images with oEmbed

oEmbed provides media providers with a way to provide additional information about a media used from their sites you are adding it from. For more information on this visit the oEmbed site.

In short, you can now embed videos directly into WordPress by providing the URL of the video, instead of having to add the entire embed code into it.

oEmbed support is enabled by default, you can disable it by visiting Settings -> Media.

Tackling Duplicate Content With rel=”canonical”

duplicate_content_canonical

WordPress 2.9 adds a new tag to the page header which specifies the canonical path to the actual content. Using this tag is highly suggested if you want to tackle duplicate content. You can read more about what this means at a Google Webmaster blog post.

Automatic Database Repairing

WordPress 2.9 introduces a new feature which can help you to automatically repair database problems. This can come in very handy as not many users usually manage their database or optimize them.

To setup Automatic DB repairs in WP 2.9, you will need to add a new constant to your wp-config.php file as follows:

define(‘WP_ALLOW_REPAIR’, true);

Once you do that, WordPress will automatically repair the DB periodically

Under the Hood Changes: Theme & Plugin Developers

These changes should not usually affect the end users, but will help our plugin and theme developers.

WordPress 2.9 introduces new functions which can come in pretty handy to plugin and theme developers. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Ability to get the thumbnail image for any post using a function.
  • Ability to create custom post types.
  • Ability to add additional metadata for comments and posts.
  • Ability to register a theme directory, other than the default one.

WordPress 2.9 does not pack as many features as 2.8 did, however it does introduce a lot of new and exciting features. Many of which will make life easier for both the end user and plugin and theme developers.

These are some of the most noticeable features I saw in WordPress 2.9. However, I might have missed a few of them out, so please feel free to comment and let me know about them, or give your views on what you think of the latest changes that will be unleashed in WordPress 2.9.

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Comments

  1. Dragon Blogger (2 comments.) says:

    Fantastic write up, you did a good job of showing off the new features. I wish wordpress would include ability to automatically include style tags with images when inserting like “float: left” as so many blog themes have inconsistency when handling image insertions into posts and how they render when you publish.

    Also with such a good article how do you not have any tweetmeme, or social submit buttons on the article to make it easy to share?

    • Keith Dsouza (82 comments.) says:

      @Dragon – Thanks for the kind words. I am not sure if WordPress will include the feature you are suggesting.

      With regards to the TweetMeme button, hopefully Mark read your comment and will include it soon :-)

      • Alex Sysoef (8 comments.) says:

        @Dragon Blogger – You can use Ping.fm to spread the word, in absence of Tweetmeme :-)

        Thanks for the great write up Keith – we can only home new features will come without too many new bugs :-)

        Cheers!

    • Daryl Teo (2 comments.) says:

      RE: image style tags

      I don’t believe this is a good thing for wordpress to do out of the box. The whole point is that wordpress shouldn’t be forcing anyone into a particular style, as this should be determined by the theme. If your theme doesn’t automatically push images to the left as you’d like then it is your imperative to either modify the theme yourself (best), or wrap the image in tags yourself (not so good)

      Cheers
      Daryl

  2. machael (1 comments.) says:

    How many times have you had a OOPS moment, when you deleted a post and then realized that you should not have done it? WordPress 2.9 introduces a much needed Trash can feature, which will allow you to undelete the posts you did not intend to.

  3. Dean Saliba (8 comments.) says:

    Can you confirm if this will do anything to alter the themes and plug-ins we use for 2.8?

    • Keith Dsouza (82 comments.) says:

      @Dean – Plugin and Theme compatibility is always released before a major upgrade to WordPress. However since WordPress 2.9 is still in beta, I cannot tell you about it right away.

      Keep tuned to WLTC to know which plugins are compatible with WP 2.9.

  4. Yohan Perera (3 comments.) says:

    I am sure that I will love the “Thrash” feature. Reminds me of the Recycle Bin in Windows…

  5. Michael Aulia (5 comments.) says:

    Great highlights on WP 2.9 features! I’ve just updated my blog to WP 2.9 and came to this post just to find out all of the other features it offers besides the image thumbnails

  6. Fredelig (5 comments.) says:

    Does anyone know if post revisions can be/are auto-trashed too?

    • caesarsgrunt (2 comments.) says:

      As the developer of the trash feature I can tell you that revisions of a post are hidden when the post is moved to the trash, and then deleted permanently when the post is deleted permanently.

      You can’t delete or trash individual revisions.

  7. Mardianto (1 comments.) says:

    Great! But I still affraid using the Beta for my blog :)

    I notice that image edit facility is also available in my wordpress.com blog.

  8. Marcus Hochstadt (7 comments.) says:

    Would like to know what exactly “Automatic Database Repairing” means — is it equal to “Optimize Tables” in phpMyAdmin?

    Also, it’s really helpful you provide us with the constants we can add to the infamous wp-config.php file. It would be much better, however, if WordPress would simply give us this as a plain simple option under “Settings” in the backend. Why introduce a new function without giving us the ability to easily and publicly turn it on (or off)?

    It’s like with this insane post revisions feature that blows up the database — we could only turn it off if we knew the secret wp-config.php constant (and that one exists at all).

    Same with the Trash can and how to change its settings.

    Perhaps there exist somewhere a list of all the neat constants one can add to the wp-config.php file?

    See? If I’m asking this myself hundreds if not thousands of others do this too.

    So the bottom line is, why not add it as an option under Settings? If you can adjust a feature why keep it hidden in the dust?

    OK; I’m done with my Friday rant. :-) I look forward to WP 2.9 nonetheless.

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      The Repair option doesn’t do anything automatically. Basically, turning it on allows you to go to /wp-admin/maint/repair.php on your site. This gives you options to just repair tables, or to repair and optimize them.

      Using it makes it iterate through all the tables, and run a CHECK TABLE command on them. If this returns an error, it runs REPAIR TABLE on them.

      The second step runs ANALYZE TABLE on each of them, and if this comes back with anything unexpected, it runs OPTIMIZE TABLE on that one.

      That’s all it really does.

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      Oh, and the reason there’s no easy option to enable it: Doing this sort of thing can be dangerous. They don’t want to make it easy to do, because somebody might do it, have it break their stuff, then get annoyed. So you have to take actual positive action to enable it. It’s a power user feature, most people won’t need it.

      • DarkriftX (1 comments.) says:

        The problem is those who need this functionality will be better off using phpmyadmin to do it. The only reason I can see this feature being needed would be to help those who dont know how to do that (as stated in the post, most ppl dont) to have these options. Problem with that is it still requires more than the average user is willing to do (config editing) to enable.

        • Otto (215 comments.) says:

          phpMyAdmin is intimidating and difficult to use for novices. And sometimes, all that is needed to fix an installation is a simple table repair. So if somebody comes to the forums saying that their site is broken, then we can have them try to repair their table without complex instructions that might be host-dependent.

      • Marcus Hochstadt (7 comments.) says:

        Otto, I understand with so-called power features, but what about basic type of elements such as post revisions, autosave interval, trash can, etc?

        On the other hand, imagine a user inserts a constant to the wp-config.php and misses the semicolon, or s/he simply copies & pastes the constant from this very article above (including the curly quotes)…

        Bottom line, give users the option to easily turn a feature on or off and/or to alter its settings. That way, they know that it exists and they know how to adjust it.

        • Otto (215 comments.) says:

          Providing extra settings increases interface complexity and is intimidating to new users.

          Okay, look, here’s the problem with “advanced” settings: Even non-advanced users fiddle with them, or somehow think that they have to do so.

          Nobody is content with the basics only, they go in, tweak stuff, and then get confused when things don’t work. They may not have broken anything, but the fact that there’s a setting that they changed and then something else unrelated broke may not be immediately apparent to them.

          Take the trash feature. For 99.9% of users, 30 days is fine. It’s a simple safety net, nothing more than that. They don’t need to know the details. They don’t really care about that detail. So presenting them with it as a configurable option is rather pointless, since they don’t really need to adjust it. Same goes for revisions, autosave timing, several other things…

          If almost all users won’t need to adjust a setting, then giving them a setting to adjust it makes the interface needlessly complicated and makes the user experience notably worse, and for no good reason.

          Apple has got this principle down pretty pat, actually. In almost all Mac apps, adjusting many “advanced” settings is actually quite difficult to do or find. They want their software to be simple and to “just work”.

          For almost all users, the default settings “just work”. For the rest, well, if you *really* need to change the autosave interval, then adding a simple line to your wp-config.php is really not too much to ask. Why should an extra setting be created for 0.1% of users?

          But hey, prove me wrong. Make an “advanced settings” plugin, and see how many people use it. Such a plugin would actually be rather easy to create.

    • joecr (20 comments.) says:

      I’m getting sick of the post revisions thing too as it is eating up space in the database that I’d like for other things.

      • Fredelig (5 comments.) says:

        I know many people are. I asked earlier if anyone knew if post revisions goes to trash too. That would maybe solve things in my opinion.

        When you (re)save a post, the older revision goes to trash. Later you could bring it back… or it will be deleted after n days. :)

      • Otto (215 comments.) says:

        Do you have any actual data on how much space revisions “eat up” in your database?

        I suspect it’s lower than you think it is.

  9. Baby Food Grinder (1 comments.) says:

    Looks like a good bunch of new features, but an upgrade would need to be tested first, just to check that existing plugins still work. I rely on my plugins and any failures would cause me big problems.

  10. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    You only lightly touched on oEmbed support, but I think you might want to have a closer look. It’s way cooler than you might suspect.

    I’ll give a simple example…
    Install the 2.9 beta.
    Make a new post.
    Go find a YouTube video.
    Copy and paste the URL of the video into your post, on a single line, by itself.
    Publish it.
    Look at the post.

    That actually works for any provider that supports oEmbed. There’s a list of known ones in the core, but this is a whitelist. Basically, unprivileged users are allowed to use any of these whitelisted providers and have the embed happen automatically. But any provider that supports oEmbed auto-discovery will also work, if the user making the post has the unfiltered-html capability (basically admins). WordPress checks these links at publish time, looks for the oEmbed code on the page in question, and automatically converts it.

    It’s super cool. Me likey.

  11. Banago (84 comments.) says:

    WP 2.9 is definitively one of the best releases.

  12. Sharninder (5 comments.) says:

    So, WP 2.9 will have the ability to create image thumbnails inbuilt ? Most designers use custom or open sourced scripts for this purpose now. I’m sure they’d all love to get rid of one more script and rather use the built-in mechanism that WP has and supports.

  13. Jens (1 comments.) says:

    So, do you know what happened to media albums? Or has that never been the intention in this release? Presumed this since it was the most wanted feature: http://wordpress.org/developme.....e-results/

  14. Kashif (1 comments.) says:

    Great write up!! I am eagerly waiting for WP 2.9. Any security related enhancement will also be made in this version?

  15. Developer Overseas says:

    What about having built-in image watermark support on the new gallery? Any idea if and when this will be available?

    • Otto (215 comments.) says:

      No, that’s not in the core. It could be added with a plugin fairly easily, however.

  16. Michael (12 comments.) says:

    Great write-up. Will deleted comments go to trash?

    I’ve never accidentally deleted a post before, but I have comments.

  17. John Sharp (5 comments.) says:

    What are they trying to do make a complex CMS…. {joke} I remember working with WordPress back in 2003, we have come a long way.

  18. New York Herald (1 comments.) says:

    It would be nice if the new thumbnail feature meant we could store all of our images on Amazon S3 and WP automatically creates thumbnail versions for use on themes.

  19. Haavard Lund (1 comments.) says:

    Thanks for an excellent summary on the latest upgrade, Keith. I was just pulling some hair out over fitting some custom ads into a theme I otherwise like very much, then I noticed the upgrade link and hit it before the sane part of my brain would suggest a backup would be in order.

    Luckily, the upgrade went smooth and was done in mere seconds, and when I checked spam comments to get rid of the usual suspects, I noticed the “Delete Permantently” link and I went “WOO-HOO!”

    On the other hand, that particular option was already activated by default when the upgrade was live, and I consider changing it to trash can with 7-14 days buffer. It would feel safer that way.

    I see there are numerous other, pretty exciting changes as well. WordPress just keeps getting better and better, and I’m not one to complain about that :-)

    Thanks again, well summed up.

    Regards,

    Haavard Lund

  20. John Sharp (5 comments.) says:

    This is a move in the right direction for sure.

  21. Brad Hart (2 comments.) says:

    The functions I am still waiting to see in wordpress is the localization of images and anti-leeching. Right now it requires either a series of plugins or downloading the image only to upload it and link it back to the original source. Both of those methods are tedious, time consuming, and error prone. I posted the idea years ago in the ideas forum to a good reception and talked about it several places since with lots of people backing the ideas, but still nothing.

    How hard could it be to put an option in the insert image from url menu that would make a local copy and link the image to its source. The same goes for anti-leeching capability, many of those plugins are few dozen lines of code.

  22. bruha (1 comments.) says:

    Can you say me when will be normal code editor for themes and plugins, which was announced from WP 2.8, but does not work: no highlighting, no line numbers, just simple notepad )-8



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