WordPress 2.5: First Impressions

download.pngLast night I upgraded ishootshows.com to WordPress 2.5, which was officially released March 30, 2008. For the uninitiated, WordPress is a content management system and blogging platform that powers your favorite site for concert photography.

This latest release boasts a host of new features, including a new, lean GUI that streamlines a lot of common tasks. Here’s a quick breakdown of my first impressions.

ishootshows.com upgraded to WP 2.5

Dashboard

I love the improved functionality and the ability to customize with widgets. In particular, Automattic’s Stats plugin gets a new lease on life for me.

Overall Design

One has the option to choose the color scheme of the admin interface in WP 2.5, and “Fresh” is entirely appropriate. I’m digging the softer blues, while the rusty orange is a nice accent for creating hierarchy.

color_scheme.png

Interface

I can appreciate a lot of the interface changes to WP 2.5, which strips down the experience to concentrate on the core tasks.

The downside to some of this is that it now takes an additional click more to access some info that was previous grouped with more central features.

One example of this is that draft posts are now accessed from the Manage tab, instead of being accessible from the default Write screen.

write_post.png

Writing: General

Right from the Dashboard, the Raison d’etre for WP, blogging, is pulled the forefront, and users are immediately given the option to write a new post or page. Despite the above gripe about the separation of drafts, this accessibility is great.

Writing: Media Integration

The ability to easily drop in video and audio via the “Add Media” icons is a great addition with WP 2.5. Now that embedding YouTube just got easier, I’m definitely going to take advantage of this feature.

End Notes

I dig it. While there’s no real outward affect on one’s blog, WordPress 2.5 does deliver some genuinely interesting backend features that have the potential for more effective content creation and management.

I’m looking forward to seeing what future WP versions bring, and especially what new Dashboard widgets will be rolled out over the next few weeks and months.

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There are 15 comments

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  1. Lori

    This isn’t about WordPress, but I wasn’t sure where else to comment about this…I see you’re shooting my Foos in July!!! I’m already salivating to see your pictures. Can’t wait, can’t wait!

    Ahem.

    Proceed. ;-)

  2. Todd

    Hey Lori, good to hear from you! I do have some reservations against shooting the Foos because their management is requiring a photo release that basically strips the photographer to all claim on the images.

    Needless to say, it’s not the ideal contract, and it may mean that the images won’t appear on this site.

    But regardless, I will keep you posted on that show. It’s a ways off yet, and perhaps the contract is negotiable. :)

  3. jeff

    I updated all the blogs that I run to WP 2.5 using an automatic updater plugin… things turned out great for me. I like the new ‘freshness’ of the layout and design, but nothing is really special to me…

  4. Todd

    Hey Jeff,

    I have used an automatic updater in the past, but it resulted in need to reinstall WP. Needless to say, I’m a little gun shy about automated WP installers now.

    I simply overwrote all but the core files (wp-config.php, wp-content, etc).

    The only hang-up I had was that Alex King’s Popularity Contest is currently broken in 2.5 and causes a fatal error.

    I wouldn’t say the newest version brings any “must have” features, but the improvements are still most welcome.

  5. Jacinta

    Hey Todd! Was the upgrade pretty straightforward? My website/blog is done with WordPress, but the site designer is a little worried that updating may effect the look of the site, or undo some formatting. Is it anything to worry about? I assume no, but I thought I’d check with someone who’s actually DONE it. :)

  6. Todd

    Hey Jacinta,

    Strictly speaking, the upgrade shouldn’t affect the design of your website unless one of your plugins has a conflict with the new version.

    I would check out the WP plugin compatibility list from WordPress.org:

    Plugin Compatibility for WP 2.5

    As previously mentioned, I had a problem with one plugin, but the upgrade didn’t break any of the formatting. Just be sure to back up your database before you upgrade in case something goes wrong. :)

  7. Todd

    Hey Joel, nice to hear from you. I think WP 2.5 is definitely a step in the right direction, even though there are still some quirky things I have to get used to.

    The new interface is so pretty it almost makes me want to blog more. :P

  8. Natalie

    I’m havindo trouble to use some plugins in WP 2.5. Specially the ones to build an image gallery. Smoothgallery and Mbox in my case.

    Have you tried those or do you have another suggestion for image gallery?

  9. Todd

    Hey Natalie,

    Having WP 2.5 break Crossroads was one of my bigger concerns, given that it took a lot to get that plugin working in the first place. You could have a look at that, since it plugs into Flickr.

    Are you looking for a dynamic image display that will pull from Flickr or another host, or is it OK to just create from a static folder?

    Does it have to be a plugin? If not, I think you have many more options for Flash/JS galleries.

  10. Natalie

    A plugin would make my life so much easier, since I’m not a programmer. And yes, I thought about using a JS option.

    I liked Smoothgallery the best and the good thing is that there is a JS version of it at: http://smoothgallery.jondesign.net/

    I’ll take a look at the Crossroads, thanks!

  11. Ami

    Hi Todd,
    I saw you speaking about unfavourable contracts and thought I’d ask you to take a look at the email I sent you. It’s about a potentionally unfavourable contract….

    As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts
    -A

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