Typically, when a new version of WordPress is announced — and particularly when there’s a lot of fanfare around it — I’m prone to delay upgrading. WordPress is, for the uninitiated reader, the software that runs this site as well as countless others that I own and/or manage (I’m serious… I’ve truly lost count).
Since I’m a classic “early adopter,” this behavior might seem a bit odd. I assure you it’s entirely pragmatic. The upgrade process, though not complex, can take time — especially if the number of sites you’re working with is measured in the dozens (at least). Then there are the compatibility issues (or potential compatibility issues) with themes (not usually critical) and plug-ins (sometimes these are dealbreakers).
For example, my favorite statistical tracking plug-in had problems with WordPress 2.5 for months. I found some workarounds, but it’s hard to complain or apply too much pressure to a hardworking developer who writes these plug-ins and gives them away. (Ain’t it great?!)
2.7: A Big Fat Exception
Like many, I’ve been paying attention to the previews and the news about the 2.7 release candidates. Like I said, typically this pre-release “hype” doesn’t move me.
I have, however, been seriously looking forward to the re-write of the user interface for the backend of the system. What that means in plain English is that the WordPress developers have given you — as the owner or author of the site — a completely new system to look at and work with. The whole experience of writing on and managing your site is new. Most significantly, they engaged in significant usability testing that incorporated laser eye-tracking and other sophisticated ways of measuring whether or not we’re all going to like it and find it easier to use.
By the way, you can find a nifty preview video posted here to take a look at the new management console.
So… after noticing that the final release had been posted yesterday, I decided to go out on a limb and upgrade one of my newest sites. It’s a personal blog for me (David Johnson) and it’s brand new and doesn’t have many plug-ins installed — nor complex customization — so it seemed likely to be be a good place to test. Very little stuff to break.
The upgrade process was quick and painless. I always back everything up first (good habit), which was what took the longest. And aside from an annoying message about my favorite tagging plug-in which told me I’d have to switch (and which thankfully turned out to be false), there were zero complaints. Initially, I had problems with all the nifty new Ajax features, none of which seemed to work in my browser. After rebooting and otherwise trying to make the problems go away, it occurred to me to empty my browser’s cache. Since I’m a Firefox user and have the nifty “web developer toolbar” installed, this was a mere mouse-click and a few seconds of waiting — not nearly as painful as doing the same thing in Internet Explorer. Voila! Everything worked as pictured in the video.
The result? Let me tell you… it’s gorgeous. It’s delicious. It’s easy to use. It’s very well done.
I’ve not yet tested every single plug-in I use and recommend for compatibility yet, but I’ve now upgraded 3 of my sites. I’ll be shooting a training video on the upgrade process for members of our marketing training program, so let me know if you’re interested in getting your hands on that video (we’ll have a new enrollment opportunity coming up shortly). The members of that program that are currently in training will have the luxury of finishing their training using this delightful new version of WordPress. It’ll be good!
How ‘Bout You?
What?! You don’t have a WordPress-based website yet? Hmmmm… that probably explains why you’re not ranking well in the search engines for your real prospects’ actual searches. Stay tuned for help on that! Or better yet… subscribe to updates over at the Epiphany Marketing site!