It has been about two weeks since I upgraded my blog to WordPress 2.5. The new version (which was delayed for about one week) brings many changes, most of them in the backend (administration panel). These changes, which change the blogger’s experience when he admins his blog, offer a faster, and more organized admin panel. WordPress 2.5 could have been released as version 3.0 for sure.
The new admin panel is more friendly than the old one (as soon as you get used to it). Anything that is about the frontend of your blog (write, manage, comments, design) is on the upper left corner, and anything that has to do with the backend (settings, plugins, users) is on the upper right.
The new dashboard is well organised. Page elements are divided into small “widgets”, which inform you about incoming links, recent comments, WordPress news feed and recommended plugins. AJAX is used in every edge of the new dashboard, making comments’ moderation, editing and saving faster and more entertaining.
The WYSIWYG editor, Tiny MCE 3.0 offers permalink editing option and autosave seems to work nicer. There is no “Save & continue” editing button in the new editor. This button is divided to: “Save” button and “Publish” button, which makes the operation cleaner. Last but not least is the “Toggle Full Screen” button of the new editor, which lets you write your post in full screen mode, like editing a document in MS Word. Photo and media can be added easier and photo galleries can now be created without using external plugins.
The biggest surprise though comes when you access the plugins page in the new WordPress 2.5. Plugins can now be automatically updated with a single click, without using FTP access to your server. You just provide the FTP access information (username, password) to your WordPress installation and if a plugin is outdated, you click “Upgrade automatically” and WordPress automatically replaces the older version with the newer one.
WP 2.5 offers also many security enhancements (Technorati will stop crawling WP blogs that use WP 2.3.2 or older). If you want to further secure your blog, you can edit your wp-confing.php file and add one more constant called SECRET_KEY and use the unique key that Wordress.org will provide to you. More info on that here. It is also recommended to upgrade to version 2.5.1 as it fixes a critical security issue, especially if you use the open registration mode in your blog.
In general WordPress 2.5 is a milestone, a great upgrade, which makes blog’s administration much easier and faster as long as you get used to it. Remember to check plugins and themes compatibility before upgrading! Simpla widgetized theme works great with WP 2.5 🙂