WordPress 2.7 is not scheduled to release till Nov 2008. For those who can’t wait to see what features and changes WP2.7 brings, here I will do a preview and a quick peek into its functionality. Please keep in mind that WordPress 2.7 is currently under heavy development and what you see and read here is by no means a representation of the final product.
WordPress 2.7 is the next major release after WordPress 2.5. There is no changes to the famous ‘5 mins installation‘ and you should have no problem getting it to run in your server. The first surprise for you is the brand new Dashboard interface. Gone is the new WordPress 2.5 dashboard that you have just got use to. Well, the color scheme is still the same, but the layout is completely different.
The most noticeable difference is the replacement of the top navigation bar to a side iconbar. (see image below, click to enlarge)
There are two views that you can get the sidebar to show: the icon view or the expanded view. The icon view shows only the icon and is good if you are a minimalist who like to keep your dashboard as clean as possible. The expanded view displays the textual representation of the icon and is able to give you a faster access to the various section. From the sidebar menu, it can be seen that what used to be clustered under the ‘Manage’ section (Posts, Media, Links, Pages) in WP 2.5 are now given a place in the top menu. It seems that the priority in this WordPress version is to allow you to access to your content easier and faster.
At the top of the dashboard is a button labeled ‘Screen Options’ and you can use it to personalize your dashboard and get it to display only the items that you want to see.
Every option in the dashboard is presented in rows and you can click to hide/unhide the options. There is also a new ‘QuickPress’ that allows you to post content quickly and easily.
The ‘Write’ Section
There have been great changes in the ‘Write’ section as well.
The Publish button now comes with a sub-menu where you can choose whether to make the post a sticky post on your front page. The Tags and Categories are now shifted to the side. In the Tags column, you can get to show all the tags that you have entered previously and the Categories column allows you to show the Most Used categories.
Similarly, you can also configure what you want to see in the Write section via the screen options at the top of the page.
The Plugins Section
One newly add feature in WP 2.7 is the abiilty to install plugins from the WordPress Plugins Directory directly from your Admin area. There is no need to do any FTP-ing and uploading of the plugins anymore.
There is a search box for you to search the plugins. If you have downloaded the plugins from some other sites, you can also import it by the ‘Browse’ and ‘Install Now’ function. Alternatively, the popular tags are also displayed in the plugin page so you can find out what plugins (tags) that others are using.
I have only covered a small part of WP2.7 and I have already grown to like it. There are plenty of refreshing changes that would definitely make blogging on WordPress a lot more easier and fun. I am also pleased with some of the features (like install plugins automatically) that tackle the technical issue faced by many newbies all the while. I do not have the chance to test drive the plugins yet and I am not sure how compatible are the existing plugins with WP 2.7. If you have tested it, do help out in the community by filling up the WP 2.7 Plugins Compatibility list.
As I mentioned earlier, WP2.7 is still under heavy development and is not suitable for production use. It is also not available to the public for downloading and testing yet. If you wish to try out the version, or want to contribute to the project, you have to sign up at the WP-testers list before you can download a copy of the nightly build version.