Do you like to be involved in the development of your favourite open source software? Are you a WordPress user? The people at WordPress.org have made it easy to get involved with WordPress beta testing, so why not start now and help with the beta testing of WordPress 2.9?
When you install the plugin, you have two options – Point Release Nightlies, and Bleeding Edge Nightlies.
Installing the point release nightlies is a comparatively safe way to test, since they should be fairly stable – of course, there’s always some risk, so only beta test on a blog if you don’t mind it going down!
If you want to be a true pioneer, you can work with the bleeding edge nightlies – but be warned, you’re venturing into possibly unstable territory, so have backups at the ready!
WordPress 2.9 should be out by the end of this month, or early next month, and this is your chance to get a sneak peek, and also contribute to the stability of the release. The features so far are looking very good. I for one can’t wait for the image editor, and the custom post types – which should be a massive boon to anyone wanting to turn their WordPress site into something more CMS like.
I recently learned that WordPress-MU and WordPress are going to be merging soon. OK, I’m a few weeks late hearing the news, but I have a good excuse – it’s been a crazy month for me! The announcement was made by Matt Mullenweg during his State of The Word speech at WordCamp.
The plan is to merge the multi-user parts of WordPress-MU into the normal WordPress setup, and the current MU project will be closed down – because it won’t be needed any more.
Is this a good thing? Well, I think it’s good news in some ways – WordPress-MU has always lagged a little behind normal WordPress, and it will be nice to see more coders working on the multi-user features, and it will be nice to be able to go to the normal WordPress community for support. Having two projects that were so similar was a bit of a waste of resources.
On the other hand – what will the move be like? Even normal upgrades aren’t without hurdles. Merging the two codebases sounds like a recipe for many hours of plugin and workaround wrangling. How many plugins will break? How many people will run into database issues?
Also – how many new users will see the ‘multi user’ option, turn it on for their simple WordPress install on an oversold shared hosting account, and bring the server to its knees when huge numbers of spam bots swarm it to create ‘splog’ accounts? Right now, you have to make a concious decision to install MU, and a lot of ‘normal users’ don’t even know it exists. Are most cheap web hosts ready for MU to become another option users can go “Oooh, what’s this button do?” with?
On June 10th, WordPress 2.8 was released. This version was named ‘Barker’, after the musician, Chet Barker.
I haven’t upgraded all of my blogs yet – but so far I’m impressed. It looks and feels a lot like 2.7, which is a good thing – many of my clients hate having to re-learn the admin interface when new versions of WordPress come out.
Performance wise, 2.8 runs very well – I’ve noticed faster load times on some of the more high-traffic blogs, although part of that could be down to the fact that I chose to clean up some un-wanted plugins around the same time as the update.
The improved Widget handling, and the ability to browse the Themes database from within the Admin Panel is something that many of my clients appreciate.
There’s a full list of improvements and features listed in the WordPress 2.8 patch notes. It’s worth taking a lot – there’s been a few back-end changes that plugin developers may need to be aware of.
All the upgrades I’ve done so far have went smoothly – but just in case, if you’re upgrading, remember to take a backup of your blog first!
Posted in WordPress
The WordPress developers are looking for people to help them with usability testing. At present, they are looking for moderators to run tests, and are ideally looking for people experienced in the area – e.g. those who do it professionally.
If you fit the bill, and have some time to give to help improve WordPress, check out this post for more information.
If you don’t have the experience they’re looking for, it’s still worth keeping an eye on the developer blog for calls for testers in the future.