After a half year’s work, the developers are going to get some rest and their byproduct is running happily into the jungle.
WordPress 3.0 has been released. The folks over at WP have dubbed their latest and greatest as “Thelonius.” At the time of this post being published, I am still doing research as to the origin of the dub – my guess, it’s going to be a humor-added discovery.
You can now take WP 3.0 for a test drive and check out the many new features that are available. Head over to www.wordpress.org for the free download, the Famous 5 Minute Install Guide, or the full-blown documentation and support resources. Many people already use WordPress for many things other than just blogging but this release will certainly create opportunities for managing content even more effortlessly than before.
WordPress was first released in 2003 as a content management system intended for bloggers, and today is regarded as the most popular blogging software available and a CMS-favorite of professionals and do-it-yourselfers, alike. WordPress is constantly being upgraded with great new features that make it possible to use it as a full website CMS instead of just a blogging platform. Many blogs and even large business sites are using WordPress as their CMS: CNN, Wall Street Journal, Nikon, Pepsi, etc. No question about it, WordPress 3.0 has extended the possibilities for creating a full website with a user-friendly CMS for clients.
New Menu Management Feature
In my opinion, this is one of the most noteworthy new features with WordPress 3.0, and it’s included in the default installation. Before this, it was possible to create a dynamic menu with some plugins and/or WordPress ninja skills. But it was never very easy to accomplish and now they’ve made it super simple.
You can add pages, categories, and even custom website links. With the custom website links option, you could link straight to a post, another website, whatever you want. It’s very user-friendly and setup similar to the current sidebar widget area where you can easily drag and drop to customize it just the way you like.
Custom Post Types
Currently, you can only create pages and posts with WordPress. In 3.0, you can create your own custom post types, and set up the appropriate fields to go along with each. When a user chooses a new post type, something like a Podcast, they will just add a podcast, simple as that. You don’t need to walk your clients through a complicated process and explain why they need to add a new post for a podcast and then click on a certain category and fill in a certain custom field. It’s one step now, and clients will love the simplicity. It does require the use of a plugin, but before it required much more work to setup.
WordPress MUhas been around as a separate entity for a while but will now be integrated in WordPress 3.0. MU allows you to maintain multiple sites from a single admin panel. It’s great for anyone that runs more than one site or blog and would like the simplicity of logging in once and maintaining them all from one place. This is especially helpful if these sites share content, templates, or plugins. One installation means less work and less time to create the same thing.
This isn’t completely setup in the default installation, but it’s fairly easy to get it up and going. First add this line to wp-config.php.
Now “Network” will appear under Tools in the main menu. Once there, fill in the Network Title, Admin Email Address and press Install. WordPress gives you the option to set these sites up under sub domains or sub directories. If you’ve installed this version of WordPress in a sub directory or you’re using localhost, WordPress requires that you use sub directories.
Other Noteworthy Features
You can now choose your own username and password in the installation process, no more auto generated passwords using the admin username. Not only is this cool, but also a significant security improvement.
The new default theme, Twenty Ten, is nicer. It’s clean and lightweight with minimal style attributes.
I’m looking forward to a couple of things with WP 3.0: Getting our existing clients upgraded, and then proactively using 3.0 for as many new website installations as possible. At SafeHouse Web, I think it’s important to stay as close to the leading edge in a new Release Version – while many people will remain complacent with their WP 2.9 (or earlier) installations (which are very strong platforms, don’t get me wrong), I have experienced the benefits of being able to confidently tell my clients that they are getting the best, newest WP version to run their business website.