Succumbing To The Trend – WordPress 2.5 Thoughts

Everybody and their animal companion have been writing WP 2.5 reviews ever since RC1 came out. Now that the new version has finally been released “proper”, the temptation to commit the slightly dishonorable act of following the trend and writing my own “first impressions” (or is it “second thoughts”?) post is too strong to overcome. So here are my two monetary units about WordPress 2.5

By the way, don’t you love disclaimers? I sure do (especially if they involve attack sharks). So here’s one – the “succumbing to the trend” in the title refers to all bloggers writing about the same stuff. Not WordPress. WordPress is a trend of it’s own, something that other people and scripts succumb to.

The Dashboard

It may look good, but it’s less informational. The old dashboard managed to display significantly more information “above the fold”. Also, the “Right Now” block is useless. It should display the most timely and useful information, something that you need to see and use every time you log in. Instead it shows things like the number of posts, widgets, tags and so on, including an option to change the theme. This is not something that you need to keep track of constantly, especially on a single-author blog (it’s not like the post count is likely to change on it’s own, right?).

On the other hand, the direct links to various management pages are useful.

Plugin Compatibility

This is one of the reasons why I won’t be upgrading this site just yet. I’ve got 31 WordPress plugins activated and I’m fairly certain that some of them would break in 2.5. Luckily the plugins that I wrote still work, though they might not look that good in the new admin theme.

Plugin Updates

I’m still sticking with my own updater, as it seems to be more stable. I will also be adding some new features to that plugin… That is, if I manage to find the time; while I’m trying in vain to implement state-of-the-art NLP algorithms and figure out how to rob a bank. And self-loathing, can’t forget that.

Admin Menu

When will WP finally get a built-in dropdown menu? I just can’t image using the WordPress admin without them. Luckily there are several plugins that can add this feature. The Admin Drop Down Menu by Ozh fits the new admin theme nicely and helps save screen space (it sits inside the dark band at the top of the admin theme). The admin menu by Yellow Swordfish looks good (icons!) but is a bit buggy in Opera and requires an additional click to open.

Fun fact : you can use both plugins at the same time and get two working menus.

Writing Posts

As in the dashboard-related rant above, it sucks that some important functions of the Write screen have been moved below the fold. For example, I would need to scroll down to choose the categories for a post. Unfortunately the widget-y blocks don’t appear to be draggable, so I can’t reorder them either.

As for tags, I hope the Simple Tags plugin is will become 2.5-compatible soon. The tag management offered by WordPress core still seems rudimentary.

Anything Else?

Nope. My mind is blank. Look what trend-following does to people! 😛

The Ranty Postscriptum
It appears that whenever I don’t post anything for a while I get more RSS subscribers. Likely because I never stick to a single topic on this blog. Or maybe I should finally create an “About” page, so that I can scare away visitors more efficiently. Hmm.

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