WordPress 2.7 (Beta) Mini-Review

I’ve been trying to write a review ever since the first beta, but all I could come up can be summarized as “Meh. It’s okay.” WP 2.7 includes a lot of long-awaited features, which is great, but their implementation sometimes inflicts the aforementioned “meh” feeling.

For example, there’s the dashboard menu – finally, a dynamic dropdown menu! Yet it’s not as easy to use as WP 2.6.x with Ozh’s Admin Dropdown plugin. The main problem, as I see it, is that in the collapsed state each menu item presents a smaller target to hit. Compare :

Of course, this is partly alleviated by expanding the top-level menu, but the target is still relatively small when moving the mouse horizontally, and opening submenus requires an additional click. That can be fixed by keeping frequently accessed menus expanded, but if you have a lot of plugins the expanded menus simply won’t fit on the screen.

Then there’s the plugin installer – another great feature with a somewhat backwards implementation. In particular : where’s the “Install from URL” box? It would be very handy when the user finds a good plugin on an external site. Even if the plugin is on WordPress.org you will either need to download it manually and then upload it through the installer, or use the built-in search function to find it through the backend. And why is there a search function in the backend? It’s unlikely anyone will prefer it over Google.

I’ve already discussed favorite actions in another post. To summarize, the user needs to be in control of what goes into that menu. As is, the dropdown contains some preset defaults and might get stuffed full with irrelevant entries by inconsiderate plugins.

Finally, other minor quibbles include :

  • The “action” dropdowns on the Installed Plugins page. The dropdown for active plugins contains a single usable action (Deactivate), which isn’t pre-selected. Why not just include a “Deactivate” button?
  • Threaded comments are great. Hacking old themes to work with that feature – not so fun.
  • Plugin uninstallation API is implemented in a way that makes it hard to use it with an object-oriented plugin. Not impossible, just inelegant.

Meh. Still, I will be upgrading the day it comes out :P

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2 Responses to “WordPress 2.7 (Beta) Mini-Review”

  1. Ursella Quirin says:

    You rock. World needs more souls like you.

  2. […] As I write this, WordPress 2.7 is due to arrive in a few days. Now that’s very shiny and all, but there’s one thing that has always made me a bit wary about upgrading to a new version : […]

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