The WordPress 2.7 release is scheduled to be ready on November 10th – for those interested in an early preview of the new features, a set of black and white wireframes showing the current navigation structure has been released at:
What major changes will we see in the new 2.7 WordPress release? The biggest is that the main navigation menu has been shifted to the left side. The logic here is to reduce the amount of scrolling needed on pages and to increase the amount of content space in the main section. The header size has also been reduced and “includes breadcrumb navigation links in place of the large screen headline in the work area”. I see this as a nod in many ways to the trend highlighted by the release of Google Chrome, which includes quite a bit more active space in the main frame of the browser compared to IE and Firefox, and of course to the continued rise of AJAX in user interfaces to dynamically load content without refreshing the page.
WordPress 2.7 looks also to bring back a customizable “widget” configuration for the composition section, which will allow for the dragging and dropping of navigation elements to create a personalized admin area. There is also more ability to turn on and off elements in the write panel display. The “Add Media” buttons are condensed to a single widget, and is expected to include buttons for video, flash, and other file types as well as standard image files. A new feature is the “Quick Press” option, through which you can publish posts without going through the main editor page. The “What’s Hot” module is being evolved into a more comprehensive feed reader, and elements from the newly acquired “IntenseDebate” related to threaded comments are already being incorporated into the new release.
The main theme seen through most of the changes is condensation of all the page elements to fit on the screen without the need to scroll. This includes the ability to collapse and remove navigation elements to streamline the display. This is being applied to the category management, tags, media library, comment moderation, and post editing sections as well as the composition section and main dashboard. There has also been some renaming of major site sections, particularly related to the “Design” menu which will now be known as “Templates”. A new menu section for “Utilities” will be added, and a centralization of all the “Content” management sections under one tab.
The initial reaction from bloggers and alpha testers on the redesign announcements has been positive. For example, Allen Sterns of Information Week writes:
“The administration interface in the 2.7 release looks amazing. While I find the current version very strong, the new version makes the process of managing a blog even easier. There’s more flexibility for publishers to provide only the necessary features for different users. Another major change is the ability to install plugins with one click. The plugin gallery is now available directly from within the admin panel. Plugins can be installed with one click — no more download, unzip, upload, install. They are working to make the theme gallery function the same way so you can install a theme with one click. The navigation is now docked on the left side of the page and nearly all of the components can be shifted to make the perfect layout for your needs.1”
Or as Mark Evans states:
“For all the excitement about WordPress 2.5 with its pretty new design, WordPress didn’t change all that much for me. The layout was different, the design (provided by hot-shot consulting firm, Happy Cog) was a lot more user-friendly but WordPress continued to be WordPress. By that, I didn’t do much with it other than install a few plugins – after getting used to the new widget system. Most important, I continued to ignore WordPress’ publishing tool; using Ecto as my publishing tool. But judging by what I saw yesterday at WordCamp Toronto, that could all change with WordPress 2.7, which Matt Mullenweg announced will be released next month. In particular, the dashboard and the writing tool are going to be overhauled in a major way that I think are going to be a lot more interesting and exciting than WordPress 2.5.2”
While some have suggested the new system will be difficult to learn, and that major design and navigational changes should have been pushed back to a 3.0 release, it is certain that there is already significant buzz rolling about the new changes in WordPress 2.7 and the new design looks certain to cement the CMS’s reputation as the favorite of bloggers around the world.
For more information on the wireframes, see the official WordPress blog at:
- http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2008/10/whats_next_for.html [↩]
- http://www.markevanstech.com/2008/10/05/wordpress-27-is-the-real-deal/ [↩]