WordPress 2.5 RC1 was released yesterday to the public for testing purposes. The official version would be upon us anytime soon. Since it skips 2.4 and jumps directly to 2.5, there is really something to expect. Let’s take a look into it.

From the WordPress Development Blog…

A customizable dashboard, multi-file upload, built-in galleries, one-click plugin upgrades, tag management, built-in Gravatars, full text feeds, and faster load times sound interesting? Then WordPress 2.5 might be the release for you. It’s been in the oven for a while, and we’re finally ready to open the doors a bit to give you a taste. For…

Unfortunately, the list of changes ends there. Without doubt, those are pretty useful additions but you are left with wanting for more.

Installation

The famous five minute wordpress installation stays true to its claim and has become even more faster. It is pretty sleek and smooth. The big typographical fonts have been done away with though I thought they were the trademarks of WordPress! As usual, the Hello Dolly and Akismet plugins come with the wordpress package.

Overall, installation has become a piece of cake for novice and experts alike, if it wasn’t earlier!

Dashboard

dashboard

Most of the changes in WordPress 2.5 focuses on Dashboard. It has been completely revamped.

All the messy links have been done away with. Now the admin is left with only four big heading links. Links to important pages like User Administration, WordPress Settings and Plugins are visible at the right corner at all times.

The contents of the Dashboard home page has also been changed. The WordPress News block has been shifted down which is a good move according to me. More important information like Recent Comments, links to writing post/page, changing themes, widgets count and other blog statistics have been highlighted.

Incoming Links via Google Blog Search

Wp25

The innovative thing is the addition of an Incoming Links block through the Google Blog Search. How useful this feature will be can be known only through practical testing, though it looks promising. Probably another watch out like the Blog Stats.

New Plugins Section

The WordPress Development Blog has been plugged into the dashboard home page as well. Interestingly, another block beside it displays the Most Popular, Latest and Recently Updated Plugin. Quite useful but it won’t prevent you from visiting the Plugins page of wordpress.org every now and then!

Writing Blog Posts

An excellent and long-awaited improvement in WordPress 2.5 is the visual editor. This will be a life-saver for novices and urges pros to enable the visual editor again! It does what it is meant to do but I would still rather prefer the html way!

Separate buttons have been added for uploading image, video, audio and media(?). Managing uploads is no more a pain in the ass with Media Library.

Media Library

Uploads section of previous WordPress installations were always a turn-off. But with Media Library everything has been brought under single roof. The uploaded files are listed one after another according to the type. Also they are stored on the disk in an organized way with folders for months and years of uploads quite parallel with Nokia PC Suite Image Store.

Publishing a post is easier

Earlier, while a publishing a new post, I often forgot to either set the timestamp of the post or the excerpt. This was due to the haphazard placement of various blocks needed for publishing a post. You had to be extra careful to not miss any of them. In WordPress 2.5, all the blocks related to publishing are placed one after another so that it is really difficult to miss any of them. Only Publish Status and timestamp information are placed in the sidebar as they should be. This will surely help a lot of bloggers in publishing.

Conlcusion

These were the smaller changes effected in WordPress 2.5. It is definitely going to make things easier for the administrator especially in the area of publishing and managing uploads. But the version no. of 2.5 is not warranted. 2.4 would have been more apt and justifiable. The changes aren’t ground breaking in any way, but the upgrade should be on the cards once the official version is out and most of the hot plugins have been updated.

If anything, WordPress 2.5 tilts the scale towards WordPress amidst the recent feud between Matt of WordPress and guys from Movable Type.

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