Everyone knows by now that WordPress 2.7 is packed with new features. Now that it’s available (almost 600,000 downloads as I write this!), it’s time to start working on 2.8. There were dozens of things that got tabled during 2.7 due to time constraints, and there are a lot of high-rated features in the Ideas forum, so there are a lot of potential features under consideration.
Right now, the lead developers are thinking the top priorities for 2.8 will be widget management, theme browser/installer and performance upgrades. The rest of the development time will be taken up with bug tickets and additional features/enhancements from a prioritized list. To that end, we’ve posted a new survey for you to help us prioritize features for 2.8. The list pulls from the developers’ “2.7 leftovers” list as well as the most popular features from the Ideas forum. Just rank each feature and tell us your top pick (up to three). You also have the option of adding comments or additional suggestions, but this is not mandatory. For your response to count, you must rank all of the features in the list. The survey has only one page.
Note that media features are not included in this list as we will be posting a separate survey for media-specific features soon.
Cast your votes any time this week, but as always the sooner the better. This survey will close at noon on December 31, 2008 UTC.
In the new year, we will be reviving scheduled IRC developer chats, where the lead developers will discuss the week’s progress on feature development, providing opportunities for people to ask questions or make suggestions. These will be held early in the day on Wednesdays (U.S. Wednesday), and the specific time will be posted here on the development blog once it’s been finalized.
As a related aside, we spent a significant amount of time during 2.7 development sifting through Trac tickets that really shouldn’t have been there. Feature ideas and requests do not belong in Trac, they belong in the Ideas forum. Please reserve Trac for reporting bugs and things that need fixing (typos, code enhancements, etc.). If you are asking for a new UI, a new feature, or a new approach to coding something, that’s not an enhancement, it’s a new feature. New features will be entered into Trac by developers once it has been determined that the feature should be included in core. To help speed up development, moving forward we will close Trac tickets that are actually feature requests, with the comment that they should be posted in the Ideas forum instead. Please help the developers maximize their time by following this guideline.
Thanks for your help!
The first thing you’ll notice about 2.7 is its new interface. From the top down, we’ve listened to your feedback and thought deeply about the design and the result is a WordPress that’s just plain faster. Nearly every task you do on your blog will take fewer clicks and be faster in 2.7 than it did in a previous version. (Download it now, or read on for more.)
Next you’ll begin to notice the new features subtly sprinkled through the new interface: the new dashboard that you can arrange with drag and drop to put the things most important to you on top, QuickPress, comment threading, paging, and the ability to reply to comments from your dashboard, the ability to install any plugin directly from WordPress.org with a single click, and sticky posts.
Digging in further you might notice that every screen is customizable. Let’s say you never care about author on your post listings — just click “Screen Options” and uncheck it and it’s instantly gone from the page. The same for any module on the dashboard or write screen. If your screen is narrow and the menu is taking up too much horizontal room, click the arrow to minimize it to be icon-only, and then go to the write page and drag and drop everything from the right column into the main one, so your posting area is full-screen. (For example I like hiding everything except categories, tags, and publish. I put categories and tags on the right, and publish under the post box.)
For a visual introduction to what 2.7 is, check out this video (available in HD, and full screen):
It’s all about you. It’s the next generation of WordPress, which is why we’ve bestowed it with the honor of being named for John Coltrane. And you can download it today.
Last, but certainly not least, this may be the last time you ever have to manually upgrade WordPress again. We heard how tired you were of doing upgrades for yourself and your friends, so now WordPress includes a built-in upgrade that will automatically notify you of new releases, and when you’re ready it will download them, install them, and upgrade your blog with a single click.
(As with any interface change it may take a little bit of time to acclimate yourself but soon you’ll find yourself whizzing through the screens. Even people who have hated it at first tell us after a few days they wonder how they got by before.)
The Story Behind 2.7
The real reason Coltrane is such a huge leap forward is because the community was so involved with every step of the process. Over 150 people contributed code directly to the release, our highest ever, with many tens of thousands more participating in the polls, surveys, tests, mailing lists, and other feedback mechanisms the WordPress dev team used in putting this release together.
For some of the back story in the development of 2.7, check out these blog posts (thanks to WeblogToolsCollection for the list):
This was interesting to us, a blogging software release we actually blogged about, but the process was hugely informative. Prior to its release today Crazyhorse and 2.7 had been tested by tens of thousands of people on their blogs, hundreds of thousands of you count .com. The volume of feedback was so high that we decided to push back the release date a month to take time to incorporate it all and do more revisions based on what you guys said.
For those of you wondering why we didn’t call this release 3.0, it’s because we abhor version number inflation. 3.0 will just be the next release after 2.9. The major features in new point releases approach also works well for products like OS X, with huge changes between a 10.3 and 10.4.
Those of you following along at home might have noticed this was our second major redesign of WordPress this year. Whoa nelly! While that wasn’t ideal, and I especially sympathize with those of you creating books or tutorials around WordPress, there’s good news. The changes to WordPress in 2.5 and 2.7 were necessary for us to break free of much of the legacy cruft and interface bloat that had built up over the years (gradually) and more importantly provide us with a UI framework and interface language we can use at the foundation to build tomorrow’s WordPress on, to express ideas we haven’t been able to before. So at the end of 2009 I expect, interface-wise, WordPress to look largely the same as it does now.
That said, we couldn’t be more excited about the future with regards to features. Now that we’ve cleared out more basic things, we are looking forward in the coming year to really tackling media handling including audio and video, better tools for plugin and theme developers, widgets, theme updates, more integrated and contextual help, and easier integration with projects like BuddyPress and bbPress.
We would like to take a moment to thank the following WordPress.org users for being a part of 2.7: Verena Segert, Ben Dunkle, 082net, _ck_, Aaron Brazell, Aaron Campbell, Aaron Harp, aaron_guitar, abackstrom, Alex Rabe, Alex Shiels, anderswc, andr, Andrew Ozz, andy, Andy Peatling, Austin Matzko, axelseaa, bendalton, Benedict Eastaugh, Betsy Kimak, Björn Wijers, bobrik, brianwhite, bubel, Byrne Reese, caesarsgrunt, capripot, Casey Bisson, Charles E. Frees-Melvin, Chris Johnston, codestyling, corischlegel, count_0, Daniel Jalkut, Daniel Torreblanca, David McFarlane, dbuser123, Demetris Kikizas, Dion Hulse, docwhat, Donncha O Caoimh, Doug Stewart, Dougal Campbell, dsader, dtsn, dwc, g30rg3x, guillep2k, Hailin Wu, Hans Engel, Jacob Santos, Jamie Rumbelow, Jan Brasna, Jane Wells, Jean-LucfromBrussels, Jennifer Hodgdon, Jeremy Clarke, Jérémie Bresson, jick, Joe Taiabjee, John Blackbourn, John Conners, John Lamansky, johnhennmacc, Joost de Valk, Joseph Scott, kashani, Kim Parsell, Lloyd Budd, Lutz Schröer, Malaiac, Mark Jaquith, Mark Steel, Matt Freedman, Matt Mullenweg, Matt Thomas, matthewh84, mattyrob, mcs_trekkie, Michael Adams, Michael Hampton, MichaelH, mictasm, Mike Schinkel, msi08, msw0418, mtekk, Nick Momrik, Nikolay Bachiyski, Noel Jackson, Otto, Ozh, paddya, paul, pedrop, pishmishy, Po0ky, RanYanivHartstein, raychampagne, rdworth, reinkim, rickoman, rm53, rnt, Robert Accettura, roganty, Ryan Boren, Ryan McCue, Sam Bauers, Sam_a, schiller, Scott Houst, sekundek, Shane, Simek, Simon Wheatley, sivel, st_falcon, stefano, strider72, tai, takayukister, techcookies, Terragg, thinlight, tott, Trevor Fitzgerald, tschai, Txanny, Valiallah (Mani) Monajjemi, Viper007Bond, Vladimir Kolesnikov, wasp, wet, wfrantz, x11tech, xknown, xorax, ydekproductions, yoavf, yonosoytu, yoshi, zedlander
There comes a time in every WordPress release when it’s ready for the world , to come out of its cocoon and feel the light of the world on its wings for the first time.
It’s not quite that time yet, but we’re as close as we’ve ever been, hence the immediate availability of 2.7 Release Candidate 2, or RC2 for short.
Of course if you were already testing 2.7, you can just use the built-in core updater (Tools > Upgrade) to download and install RC2 for you (and later upgrade you to the final release when it’s available) but if not you can use the download link above.
We feel this release is pretty much exactly what we’re going to ship as 2.7, barring any final bugs or polish tweaks that you report or we find.