Review: WordPress 2.7

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.  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.  It reduces confusion with the UI stack I’ve complained about before.  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.  My hand copying of files may be over.  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.

Minor gripes:

  • 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.  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.  But I run a site with very few plugins because when they break, they BREAK badly.  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.  I’d happily pay $$$ for a pack of premier plugins that are top quality and come with some kind of promise of service.  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.  WordPress 2.7 is an excellent upgrade.

23 Responses to “Review: WordPress 2.7”

  1. Ian Tyrrell

    WordPress 2.7 does show you when a newer version of a plugin is available, and allows you to auto-update it.

    I’m not sure exactly how it works – I think the plugin has to be registered at the offical wordpress plugin page, but I’ve definitely used it multiple times myself, but it’s only visible on the plugin page.

  2. Joe Ludwig

    I’ve been really happy since upgrading to 2.7 also. For me the biggest improvement is that Chrome works with the post editor now. Of course I was updating from 2.2, so it’s a bigger upgrade for me. :)

  3. Randy

    Great post. Found it through’s blog.

    I’ve been using WP since 2.3, I think, and this is by far the best version so far.

    I’m using a bunch of plugins (mostly popular and/or highly rated ones), actually, and have never had any problems (so far), including with he auto-upgrades.

  4. Darran

    The only glitch with updating plugins is probably that blank page when everything is completed. When I return to the plugin page, I find that the one I just updated has been deactivated. Nothing major but it just gets on my nerves.

  5. Johan

    I totally agree on your point about the image uploader. It does not work intuitively at all and is in desperate need of a usability overhaul.

  6. Otto

    Minor bit about the WordPress plugin upgrades that you might not have caught:

    When a plugin upgrade becomes available, there’s a “View details” link for it. That page leads to a frame with info about the plugin from the plugin repository at Plugins can, if done right, include version numbers of WordPress that they work with. This is basically a “minimum” version that it works with and a “maximum” version that it has been tested with.

    Naturally, plugin authors have to actually put this information in there, but if they do and the plugin is untested with your WP version, you get a rather handy warning about it before you click the button to upgrade the plugin.

    Call it a carrot and stick method to make plugin authors attempt to keep their plugins up to date.

    Also, one of the new features of 2.7 is the built-in plugin installer. No more hand-copying of plugin files. WordPress 2.5 had the plugin upgrader, 2.7 now can search for plugins on’s plugins repository (right through your own site’s admin panel) and let you install them using much the same screens and methods, and with the same warning messages if the versions don’t fit together.

  7. simon parma

    totally agree, file upload is also almost invisible to untrained users (also… 4 icons to do the same thing?)

  8. Banago

    @Ian: Yes, the plugin has to be in the plugins directory. Otherwise they will no show when the plugin is updated.

    @Darran: I think you go from the blank page to early. You need to wait a couple of seconds at the blank page after upgrade and you will see listed a range of messages the last of which is: “Trying to reactivate plugin” and than, “Plugin reactivated”.

    However, not to forget to thank the author of this great post – thank you Scott!

  9. Chris

    I found your review via too, very good find.

    In regard to the plugin gripe, I’ve been working with numerous WP installs since early 2.0-something. I tend to install less than 10 plugins, making sure all of them have reasonable documentation and are consistently updated by the author.

    I’ll admit I stay away from new and untested developers. That said, I haven’t had a single significant problem related to plugins.

  10. rudy

    You should try the auto-upgrade function by upgrading to 2.7.1

    Believe me, upgrading process is never been easier as before.

  11. Claude Gelinas

    Uploading images has been an issue for me too and the automatic upgrades for WordPress don’t appear to work “out of the box” on MacOS X Server (Leopard, latest) setups, although this might be (yet another) Leopard Server issue.

    You’re right about the dashboard, it makes blogging fun!

  12. Rishi

    Your very first sentence brought back nightmares from the old pre-2.7 days. But with the auto-update feature, life is now so simple. Gives us more time to focus on the blogging aspect of… blogging. :-)

  13. Rujo

    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.

    You are a bit wrong with this. Haven’t you spotted, you can now drag&drop images to order those and there is a new gallery settings part of the dialog :)

    Cool story, thanks .)

  14. Rene

    I really love WordPress 2.7.1 the automatic updat functions are simply GREAT. I use it for my Prince2, ITIL and MSP websites.

    Normally I had to manual install all updates, but that is history now.

    Nice post.


  15. Wim Hoogenraad

    WordPress has to become better and better to keep up with all the hackers. I hope they can, it’s a plague…



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