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10 Features to Look Forward to in WordPress 3.0

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WordPress 3.0 is scheduled to be released within the next 30-60 days. There are some great new features coming, including custom post types, a new default theme, and a menu manager. Read on to find out what to expect in version three!

1. Choose your Username and Password

You'll encounter new features as soon as you start! Currently, when you first install WordPress, you are assigned a default username of admin, and a randomly generated password. No more - now WordPress lets you choose a username and password when installing.

What does this mean for us?

This means that security within WordPress has been enhanced. Previously, a hacker could probably depend on the fact that there was a username called 'admin'. This will no longer be the case in version three. Read any tutorial on securing WordPress - you will always be told to remove the admin username. You no longer need to!


2. New Default Theme!

WordPress 3.0 comes with a new default theme, called TwentyTen (2010, like the current year - go figure). Apparently, the WP team has an aim to release a new default theme every year! TwentyTen is a nice theme. The main typeface used is Georgia; it has two columns, with a widgetized sidebar and footer - and it even has some nice dropdown menus built in! Needless to say, custom header and background (new feature) functions are also available.

What does this mean for us?

We start off with a nice new theme, and bloggers have more options to try out before they start looking for themes. More options are always helpful, right?


3. Custom Background Support

WordPress 3.0 adds custom background support. Add the code below to your functions.php to make your theme support it:

add_custom_background();

Once that's done, you'll see an option called Background added under Appearance in the WordPress admin. This will allows you to upload a header image and customize it.

What does this mean for us?

This doesn't really mean much to advanced theme developers, since they often provide an option like this themselves. Nevertheless, I have no doubt that the WordPress community will come up with some creative uses for this.


4. Multi-site Capabilities and WPMU Codebase Merge

WordPress and WPMU (WordPress MultiUser) are merging their codebases. This makes it much easier to handle large WordPress networks. See the Multi-Site settings under Settings>Network.

What does this mean for us?

A lot! A network of WordPress sites is much easier to maintain - either with a subdomain.domain.com structure, or a domain.com/subdirectory structure. This network capability is optional, and WordPress and WPMU users shouldn't face any difficulties while upgrading. Also, this makes it easier for WPMU users to utilize plugins - no more plugins that go bust or stop working.


5. Custom Post Types

A great new feature! Before, all you could add from the WordPress admin section was new posts and pages. Now, you can create new post types to show up. Add the following code to create a new post type called 'Portfolio':

function post_type_portfolio() {
	register_post_type( 'Portfolio',
                array( 'label' => __('Portfolio'), 'public' => true, 'show_ui' => true ) );
	register_taxonomy_for_object_type('post_tag', 'Portfolio');
}

add_action('init', 'post_type_portfolio');

What does this mean for us?

Quite simply, it means WordPress has become much more of a CMS. This holds unlimited possibilities for theme developers, and reduces the need to fiddle around with custom fields.


6. Custom Taxonomies

Custom taxonomies have been made easier to use, as well as hierarchical - which means you could have a taxonomy called 'Rating', with sub-taxonomies like PG-13, R , U etc.

What does this mean for us?

It means that WordPress is moving more and more from a blog-type CMS, with effort required for better capabilities, to a much more flexible and usable Content Management System.


7. Easy Menu Management

This is my favorite new feature in WordPress 3.0 - a menu manager. It's developed by WooThemes' WooNav, and I absolutely love it. You can create multiple menus, categories, and even custom external or internal links! The menu feature even comes with a default widget to add to any widget ready area - awesome, isn't it?

What does this mean for us?

On the surface, this provides us a great UI (user interface) for adding new menus, it simplifies the job of WordPress theme developers and makes things as simple as possible for users. Benearth the surface, there is a lot more - this marks a point where commercial WordPress theme developers join hands with WordPress and contribute to it. A win-win situation for both, and an incentive to continue working.


8. A Bunch of Other Smaller Features

  • Welcome guide: WordPress 3.0 will be including a guide with it which helps users to know the system better and teach them basic usage.
  • Specific author templates: We already have hierarchy for categories and tags like category-{slug}.php followed by category-{id}.php in the Template Hierarchy, but now you can do the same for authors. So, if the author name was 'Rohan' with id 1, WordPress would first look for author-rohan.php, then author-1.php before author.php in the template files for display.
  • Media UI redeign: Started, but not implemented in WordPress 2.9, the Media tab in the admin panel may get a UI redesign

Conclusion

The screenshots and features that I've written about here are taken from the most recent nightly build. You may want to try it out yourself, though keep in mind that it's still unstable. Nevertheless, WordPress is evolving at a rate no one could have predicted, and is fully morphing into a powerful and flexible CMS.

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