On behalf of the WordPress.org community of commiters, contributers, and volunteers, I’m very proud to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 2.1 “Ella”, named for jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald. Here’s a sampling of what’s in the new version:
- Autosave makes sure you never lose a post again.
- Our new tabbed editor allows you to switch between WYSIWYG and code editing instantly while writing a post.
- The lossless XML import and export makes it easy for you to move your content between WordPress blogs.
- Our completely redone visual editor also now includes spell checking.
- New search engine privacy option allows you take you to indicate your blog shouldn’t ping or be indexed by search engines like Google.
- You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.
- Much more efficient database code, faster than previous versions. Domas Mituzas from MySQL went over all our queries with a fine-toothed comb.
- Links in your blogroll now support sub-categories and you can add categories on the fly.
- Redesigned login screen from the Shuttle project.
- More AJAX to make custom fields, moderation, deletions, and more all faster. My favorite is the comments page, which new lets you approve or unapprove things instantly.
- Pages can now be drafts, or private.
- Our admin has been refreshed to load faster and be more visually consistent.
- The dashboard now loads instantly and brings RSS feeds asynchronously in the background.
- Comment feeds now include all the comments, not just the last 10.
- Better internationalization and support for right-to-left languages.
- The upload manager lets you easily manage all your uploads pictures, video, and audio.
- A new version of the Akismet plugin is bundled.
…and much, much more. There are little easter eggs hidden everywhere, so the best way to find everything new is to just try it out.
Developers will especially love this release, as it has much cleaner code than 2.0 and includes hundreds of enhancements that will enable a new generation of richer plugins. Here’s a taste of some of the things included:
- Psuedo-cron functionality let’s you schedule events much like cron.
- Users admin can now comfortably handle hundreds of thousands of users.
- The new WP_Error class cleans up how we do error reporting and handling.
- Tons of new hooks and APIs.
- We’ve started to fill out our code inline documentation.
- Image and thumbnail API allows for richer media plugins.
- Custom header, color picker, and image cropping framework.
2.1 also includes over 550 bug fixes.
What’s really exciting for me is what’s coming in the future. First of all, the 2.0 series was an unparalleled success, with over 1.8 million downloads, and thanks to the work of Mark Jaquith we’re committing to maintaining stable security and bug fixes on the 2.0 branch until 2010.
More exciting for most of our users, though, is our new development cycle. Based on everything we’ve learned in the past 3 years of doing WordPress, we’ve decided to shift to a more frequent release schedule like Ubuntu, with major releases coming several times a year. So, for the first time in WordPress’ history, I have an answer to when the next version is coming out: April 23rd.
Even better, the development will be driven primarily by the features you guys are voting for on the ideas board. (But wait, there’s more: the ideas board now has a new Hot-or-Not-like interface for rating a bunch of ideas at once, so go get your vote on and have a say in WordPress 2.2.)