WordPress 3 is here. Have you upgraded?
That said, sometimes upgrades to new WP versions can cause some issues for a variety of reasons.
First, if you’ve chosen a theme for your blog that is outdated, it may not powerful enough to keep up with WP changes. Secondly, if you’ve messed around with your WP code, you may encounter problems with an upgraded version of this blogging format. Finally, if you haven’t upgraded WP in a long while, then you not only are messing with your blog’s security, you may encounter some layout or database issues when you do finally upgrade.
Unfortunately, even if you have stayed up-to-date with WP upgrades, you may find that something, somewhere, will go haywire with your upgrade to WP 3. I face the same trepidation when applying WP upgrades to my blogs; but, since I do stay on top of the upgrades, and since I do not mess with WP code, the only issue I may worry about is whether or not my theme will collapse or cooperate with new upgrades.
There are at least five major changes that you’ll discover in WP 3, and these changes are listed below along with a few other minor, but significant, details. Throughout this article, I’ll supply you with some links so you can learn more about each upgrade detail from other writers or from WordPress.
1. New step in the installer
This step not only makes it easier to remember your login information, it also lets you know if your password is too weak and helps you to get rid of the default “admin” username (hallelujah!). This change makes it more difficult to guess the first user’s login, helping to enhance security for your blog.
2. Default Template
WordPress 3.0 upgrades not only its functionality, but it will be the first time, ever, that the default template will take on a new look. Gone is Kubrick, the blue-faced header and its easy-to-use format. Instead, Twenty Ten is the new look for the default WP blog. The Twenty Ten theme serves as a good example theme that includes new theme-based features, and looks nice on a public site. The Twenty Ten theme will be housed in the wp-content/themes/twentyten folder and is the only theme in the WordPress distribution, and includes custom background and header options.
3. New child theme support
As you may already know, I’m a huge fan of child themes. Child themes allow users to modify layouts without messing with code within WP or within an original theme. WP 3 offers improved child theme support, but I am not trying this feature out until the tested WP 3 becomes available.
4. Create custom post types
By default, WordPress lets you publish two types of content in either a “Post” or a “Page.” In version 3.0, you can define additional content types with their own attributes. “For example, if you’re running a WordPress site for a design agency, you might create a custom post type to display portfolio items, another for employee pages, and another for client testimonials. From there, you can customize your theme to better suit each individual post type.”
With this custom magic, you can turn your site into something similar to Tumblr by creating custom post types for Test, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio and Video. If you’re more accomplished with code, you could set a number of arguments to this new function that makes WordPress much more flexible. For those who want an easier option, visit kovshenin.com to learn more about custom post types.
5. Custom menu system
The custom menus system (Appearance > Menus) is not quite finished. According to WP, “In Beta 2, the layout will be different and a bunch of the functionality will be improved, but we didn’t want to hold things up for this one screen. You can play with making custom menus, and report bugs if you find them, but this is not how the final screen will look/work, so don’t get attached to it.”
The custom menu option is another step towards the CMS for WordPress. This new functionality makes it very easy to create custom menus by adding and mixing categories, pages or custom urls. WP 3 provides an easy drag-and-drop interface where you can embed these custom menus as a widget wherever your theme allows.
Also added: WordPress merges with WordPress MU
For some users, this is the biggest news of all. You may want to read up on this content management system at WordPress. Basically, WP MU (Multi-User) allows users to create a site that contains multiple blogs. This is the system that WordPress uses to support WordPress.com a site that serves tens of millions of hits on millions of blogs each day.
You can brush up on network usage at WordPress, too, so you can decide whether or not to open your blog to a network of blogs.