Troy Chaplin

Design & Development

Posted in the Blog

New WordPress 3.1 Features Aim to Create a Better CMS

It seems that with every release of a WordPress upgrade there are a few key features that move the software a few steps closer to becoming a much more powerful CMS, and the plan for WordPress 3.1 is no different. As usual, there will be lots of work done around fixing remaining bugs from 3.0.1, but some of the new features planned include adding Ajax to the admin area to improve the browsing and search of content, advanced taxonomy queries, and other user interface cleanup. The planned addition of post templates and styles is also interesting and could be a big benefit to designers and developers in giving users more control over how their posts look and act. The two features that I’m the most excited and interested in are the addition of internal linking and the front end admin bar.

Internal Linking

While I’m surprised that it took this long to have this feature added to the core of WordPress, I’m excited that this will now finally be a standard feature. This is a standard feature of just about every other CMS product that I’ve used, and even though the options, customization and general ease of use within WordPress is far superior than any other product I’ve used, this was one significant area in which WordPress failed.

Sure, there are plugins that can add this functionality, but I’m always looking for ways to cut down on the amount of plugins I use, and would much rather have features in the core, or add it through the functions.php file. I’ve used plugins for this feature in the past, but the problem was that when pages were moved around in the navigation, particularly when making them child pages, the linking often times broke. I’m sure the team working on these features will accommodate for this and use this feature to take one large step towards a better CMS option.

Admin Bar

Having a toolbar on the front-facing website is one big step towards a more simple content creation and site administration system. Much like the toolbar available if you run a blog on WordPress.com, users will have the ability to access the main administration area sections if they are logged in.

With this feature, I’m hoping that the development team gives administrators the ability to determine which areas of the admin area are visible in this toolbar, as often times when building themes for clients I will hide items from the admin navigation for users roles below admin in a effort to prevent accidental setting changes, or to avoid confusion for those who simply want to edit and create content and will not understand the purpose of the other areas.

When Can We Expect 3.1?

The tentative release date for WordPress version 3.1 is mid-December, which is perfect for me. With a little time off from work between Christmas and New Years, I hope they make the planned release date and I can have plenty of time to get my feet wet with these new features.

To read more details about all the plans for WordPress 3.1 features read this post by WP Beginner, and for all future updates and news, check in on the WordPress Development Updates blog.

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