WordPress 2.8 is coming soon

The next version of WordPress is planned for April, so we should see very soon the first communications on this subject. This version is not mandatory, the current version 2.7.1 is very stable and pleasant to use. Here a small overview of new features that we expect with this new version.

New features for users

  • Taxonomy choice for displaying the tag cloud: To summarize, we can select the tags, or categories,
  • Improving the widgets management interface that becomes more comfortable,
  • Possibility to install themes as we can do with the plugins since version 2.7. This means that we can install themes directly without having to upload files, use FTP client, …
  • Access to the « Turbo » feature for all users of the administration interface (authors),
  • Improving the management of revisions,
  • Use a real editor (CodePress) to modify the theme files and plugins,
  • Contextual online documentation.
Themes management
Themes management
Theme editor improvement
Theme editor improvement
Widgets management
Widgets management

And some other small details like the display of absolute dates in the list of planned posts, rather than delays (April 18th, 2009 rather than in 3 days).

The developers have also worked on performance improvement.

A dedicated page to version 2.8 on the WordPress site, adds some pretty nice potential functions, such as management information geo-location for posts, attachments and comments.

New features for the theme developers

Version 2.8 brings new template tags: the_modified_author , improves other wp_list_authors or wp_list_categories.

The most interesting will certainly be the new body_class() function that will help to customize the themes based on the current page.

New features for plugins developers

  • A new API for widgets
  • Optimized load of Javascript libraries,
  • Improvement of the taxonomy and its API, allowing easier management for developers of plugins,
  • Integration of the library SimplePie which replaces Magpie: functionalities of WordPress RSS use this new library, which can also be used by plugin developers,
  • Add many hooks and filter.

Note that I developed for the plugin EG-Series, a class to manage widgets, which sounds rather that the proposed new API.

Compatibility

As usual, backward compatibility is fairly good. I tested my two plugins EG-Attachments, and EG-Series, which run without any problem with the version under development (Build 10927).

Conclusion

WordPress 2.8 confirms the evolutions started with the version 2.7, especially for the interface.
For the moment, the two main improvements are

  • Theme management (installation and editing),
  • The new widgets API, that will make things more cleanly than today.

Overall, users will soon make the administration of their blog, without using an FTP client, which seems very interesting.
WordPress also gives more control to developers through template tags, hooks or filters.