Get ready for WordPress 2.7

Updated on November 9, 2008

Version 2.7 of WordPress, containing a wide range of new features and improvements, is almost upon us.

The new version of the popular blogging platform was slated for release on November 10 but has been extended until at least the end of November according to Lorelle VanFossen (although the WordPress Codex feature list still says November 10).

This new version looks like it will make WordPress even easier to use than it already is with major improvements and enhancements to the administration interface: a new dashboard.

[Later:] After first publishing this post, I saw this excellent screencast that tours the new dashboard – If WordPress 2.7 Was A Movie…

https://videopress.com/v/UBy8AaXJ

That may be all you need to get keen about 2.7.

What I’m looking forward to in this area are things like the menus on the left of the screen rather than at the top and the ability to customize how your dashboard looks.

Among the new features in 2.7 – and here’s a terrific top 10 new features list to whet your appetite – one that I think will appeal to bloggers will be the many new things you’ll be able to do regarding comments, including comments threading and pagination, moderate comments from the dashboard and take advantage of the new comment API.

Some of these functions – threaded comments, for instance – will require the theme you use to support that new WordPress function.

The new version of WordPress will also support a feature integrated into the software – that of automated upgrading to future versions, something that you can do now, sort of, with the automatic update plug-in (one I don’t have much confidence in).

So if you’re looking forward to the new WordPress, I’d say there are three critical things to do between now and when it’s finally released, in order of importance (most important first):

  1. Check that plugins you regard as essential will work with WordPress 2.7. The time to do that is now, not when you’re preparing to actually upgrade. Keep an eye on Plugins/Plugin Compatibility/2.7 on the WordPress Codex.
  2. If you want to enjoy newly-native functions and features like threaded commenting that will work only if your theme supports them, now is the time to check whether your theme does and, if not, what the theme developer’s plans are in that regard. Or look for another theme. (My theme, Thesis, won’t support threaded commenting at the start, which I’m disappointed to learn.) Keep an eye on Themes/Theme Compatibility/2.7 on the Codex.
  3. If you want to take advantage of the automated upgrade feature new to version 2.7, check with your hosting service to be sure they support that. (DreamHost, my hosting service, does.)

And if you feel adventurous, you can try WordPress 2.7 now via the public beta.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Allan

    All I want for Christmas from WordPress is a table tool within the rich text editor. I’ve been waiting for this and I know people all over want to easily build charts into their blog posts.

  2. Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with "sketch")

    I’ve used the automatic update plugin quite successfully. What I want to know is whether WordPress 2.7 plays nicely with PodPress, and with Blubrry PowerPress.

    There’s a WP theme creation tool called Artisteer that I’m planning to check out; I’ve heard good things about it, and it’s not that expensive.

  3. Otto

    I took a quick look at the source of this site to examine the output of the Thesis theme for comments. It looks like the basic structure is using definition lists to structure the comments, which is something that I have not seen before.

    Unfortunately, 2.7 does not have this rather unusual style in it, so making it work, while possible, would be somewhat more complicated. WordPress inherently support both divs and unordered lists for displaying comments, but the definition list approach means that a custom function would be required. WordPress does account for this sort of thing in that it allows the theme to specify a callback function to display the comment instead of using the built in comments functions.

    This isn’t documented anywhere yet, but a theme can call wp_list_comments(array(‘callback’=>’theme_function’)); and the theme_function function will be called to display the theme. This function needs to take three parameters, the first is the $comment array itself, the second is the $args passed into the wp_list_comments function (as an array), and the third is the $depth of the comment in threading (1 being first level, 2 being second, etc.).

    So, if you feel like passing that along to the Thesis developers, then that may simplify their adaptation immensely, as they can simply define the function to display one comment based on the inputs, and then call wp_list_comments with their callback, which pre-empts WordPress’s own comments display functionality.

    Of course, in their own function, they will likely want to use the various subfunctions of the new comments stuff, such as comment_class(), to automatically add all the inherent comment classes to their comment wrappers, get_comment_author_link() to show the link to the comment author’s URL. Also, get_comment_date, get_comment_time, edit_comment_link, comment_text, and comment_reply_link. They’ll also want to use the similar classes and id’s as WordPress does, such as comment- for individual comments, and the reply class for surrounding the comment reply link. Stuff like this is needed to make the javascript reply-to-comment functionality work correctly. Avatars can be supported with get_avatar( $comment, $args[‘avatar_size’] );.

    Hopefully that will help them out. If they have any questions, feel free to email me for specific details, I’d be happy to help out with tips and suggestions to making their theme 2.7 capable.

    Also see my post on the topic: http://ottodestruct.com/blog/2008/09/29/wordpress-27-comments-enhancements/

  4. neville

    Otto, many thanks for such detailed and helpful input. I will certainly bring your suggestions to Chris Pearson’s attention.

    Allan, I don’t think 2.7 supports tables. If you use an offline editor like Windows Live Writer, though, you’ll find support for tables there. (Which reminds me – check that WLW will work with WP 2.7.)

    That’s a very good question re Podpress, Sallie. Signs about the future for Podpress are not very encouraging. No news from the developer for months. Forum closed so no discussions there.

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