Finally after six years of being a faithful user of WordPress the features that I think just about everyone wanted are finally here. As soon as WordPress 2.8 comes out of Beta you will gain the ability to add new themes inside the WordPress Admin section, and the widgets section got a complete overhaul.
Add New Themes
What you see above is a picture of the new “Add New Theme” section underneath the Appearance Tab. There are several ways you can get a new WordPress theme on your blog. First you can browse through the WordPress.org Extend Free Theme Gallery. You can filter this gallery by keyword, author, tag, color, columns, width, features, and subject. Also you can view the Featured Themes that WordPress.org’s crackpot (term used with effection) team have suggested that everyone use. They also allow you to filter by Newest themes and most Recently Updated themes.
These options are all well and good if you are interested in getting Freebies. But the feature that has me really excited is the new upload feature! That’s right you now have the ability to upload wordpress themes as zip files directly into WordPress!
This totally eliminates the need to explain to clients what FTP means and why they need to CHMOD something. It’s easy to use too! All you need to do is browse for the zip file, click on upload. Once uploaded it will ask if you want to Preview or Activate the theme. If you don’t want to do either it will take you back to the themes you have already installed.
Widgets Overhauled in WordPress 2.8
Yes! What you are look at above is the total overhaul of the widgets control panel. Currently in WordPress 2.7 the widgets are somewhat of a pain to use – and is especially hard to explain to new clients who have never used WordPress before. You have to show them where to find the drop down menu that allows you to switched between different sidebars. It’s too confusing.
But not anymore. The new Widget Control Panel means you don’t have to load any extra pages. All the work can be done right here. You drag and drop widgets to their appropriate sidebars like you used to be able to do Pre-WordPress2.6. Also, they have included a new feature called Inactive Widgets. When you drag a widget to this area it will keep the settings.
Speaking of widgets…
The Links Widget Upgraded
The links widget got completely updated too! One of my biggest complaints from clients was they were not able to automatically separate the Links in the Link Widget. Let’s say you filtered your links using three Link Categories, but you only wanted one of those categories to show up on the sidebar. In WordPress 2.7 there are NO Link options. That changes in WordPress 2.8! Not only do you get the ability to choose which categories you want listed in the Link Widget – you can also choose if an Image, Name or Description should appear with it.
Also, new for WordPress 2.8 is the ability for the Admin to rate his/her links.
Press This get Upgraded too
One of the hidden gems inside of WordPress has always been the “Press This” browser link. For those who don’t know, “Press This” allows you to post WordPress blogs on the go while browsing other website. One of the new features inside “Press This” is the ability to add media from the page you are viewing. In the page above I’m viewing the New York Times article about Rachel Alexandra’s win. I have decided that I want to post an image from the article as well so I went ahead and clicked on the horses coming out of the gate. It’s that easy!
If you are viewing a Youtube page and you click on “Press This” it will automatically give you the embed code that you can then insert into your post. I can see this becoming VERY useful for bloggers.
Update: I guess this was already upgraded in WordPress2.7. Hehe It’s new to me!
WordPress 2.8 Beta
Learn more about WordPress 2.8 Beta on Codex Page.
For those who are brave and want to try out the new WordPress before it is officially release head over to the Download Page. I must warn though – this is a Beta and it has the potential to mess things up! Use at your own risk!