I hate upgrading WordPress for one reason: hand copying files. Hand copying files, even as few as are required for WP, always runs the risk of doing something trivial and stupid that blows everything up and is hard to recover from. As a mostly non-practicing geek, I don’t write much code or touch command lines often, so despite my CS degree, I don’t trust myself and I wait to do this until I think it’s worth it. And this upgrade to 2.7 totally was.
First and foremost, they finally have auto-updates – it should be the last hand-copying of files I ever need to do. WooHoo!
But more importantly as a usability expert I rarely use things that I can’t find something to complain about. Well, after using this thing heavily for a couple of weeks I don’t have one yet. I like EVERYTHING they did. Can’t recall last time that happened. Possibly never.
Summary: This thing is great. Best blogging software I have ever seen ever. It’s a fantastic piece of design excellence and simplicity. Definitely the best software I use regularly, hands down.
- The Dashboard rocks.Â Previous versions never made me feel warm and fuzzy. All the stuff I did first was obscured and it all seemed like news about WordPress details I didn’t care about. Fixed. The default view emphasizes what I do often, by default, approving comments, replying to comments, tracking drafts, etc. Plus they added a quickpress tab, which allows short posts without a single extra click.
- Core UI now left pane. The major UI change is shifting navigation to the left pane, which seems trivial but works great.Â It reduces confusion with the UI stack I’ve complained about before.Â This also allowed the category chooser UI to move up where it’s easier to access.
- Various non-intrusive UI smarts. This is where the love comes in. Many small design choices that over time make a huge improvement. Lists now give a short set of commands on mouse over, so one click can now approve, delete, or edit or even reply to comments. The plugins are now auto-divided into active and non-active. There are various non-intrusive UI additions like these and they all made me smile, I knew they saved me extra clicks that i do several times a day.
- The promise of auto-upgrade.Â My hand copying of files may be over.Â WordPress 2.7 includes what appears to be a built-in install program, so I shouldn’t have anything to fear in the future. Haven’t had it work yet, so I’ll report back when it does.
- See. I told you I’d find something. The dashboard uses the color red to indicate the count of spam comments. Sure, spam is bad, but Akismet, their built in spam catcher does a great job and I never need to look at Spam.Â Red is a danger color – it means something is broken or wrong, but since there is always spam, I always see red on the dashboard even when things are ok. It should be regular text, yellow, anything but red. I should only see the color red on my dashboard if there is something urgent and bad I need to deal with.
- I’m still confused and scared by plugins. There are big improvements on plugins: there is now an auto-upgrade UI in the plugins manager that lets me know when plugins are out of date, and even auto-upgrades them from within WP.Â But I run a site with very few plugins because when they break, they BREAK badly.Â There are tons of these made, but it’s hard to find reliable ones that I’m confident will be supported into the future, or will stay in sync with wordpress upgrades.Â I’d happily pay $$$ for a pack of premier plugins that are top quality and come with some kind of promise of service.Â I bet other people whose blog is their business would as well.
- The add picture/video UI is still a bear. It’s a flash based UI that jarringly takes over the screen only to show a progress bar. It’s slow and complex – not designed for the simple/common cases first. No matter how many times I use it, I’m slow with it. As best I can tell it’s unchanged from WP 2.5.
If you were waiting to upgrade or are looking to switch, now is a great time.Â WordPress 2.7 is an excellent upgrade.