WordPress Continues To Innovate With 2.7 Beta
The popular micro CMS and blogging engine WordPress is getting ever closer to releasing version 2.7 of their platform. With the final version likely coming later in the month, version 2.7 beta 2 was recently released. A welcome and much-needed new feature in WordPress 2.7 is support for threaded comments and comment paging. Also, if a site administrator wants to keep a certain post at the top of the page, WordPress now features "sticky" posts to accomplish the task.

What's New in 2.7

On the backend, those who upgrade to 2.7 will see an overhaul of the administrative interface of WordPress as well. Automattic, the company behind WordPress' development, has made major changes to the administrative interface including cleaning up the menu structure by categorizing like items in a much more logically laid out system. As can be seen in the screenshot below, commonly used options are exposed using collapse/expand menus on the vertical bar on the left. We think that the post draft screen is much more concise and uncluttered.
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WordPress 2.7 Interface

Additionally, WordPress administrators can also find and install WordPress plug-ins from the blog administration page. With prior versions, installing plug-ins involved downloading a file, uploading it via FTP and activating the plug-in through the admin interface. WordPress 2.7 will also feature time-savers for blog authors and administrators. Users will be able to conduct bulk edits on posts and will be able to reply to comments from the admin interface, rather than having to navigate to the individual post's comment section. It is likely that your WordPress theme will need to be tweaked to accommodate WordPress 2.7. Namely, the threaded comments will likely cause problems initially for many existing WordPress 2.6 themes.

Security Needs to Be Bolstered

WordPress is wildly popular among the blogging crowd because: # It's extremely useful and full of features # It's open source and free to use. However, being easy to use means it's a good target for hackers also. Additionally, according to Viper007Bond.com, WordPress is increasingly being exploited by hackers and spoofers; as was the case with the phantom "2.6.4" version that one hacker put out to trip up unsuspecting WordPress administrators. With WordPress 2.7's automatic update capability, hopefully site admins can more easily keep their WordPress installs up-to-date and avoid exploits that prey on outdated WordPress powered Weblogs.

WordPress vs. the Competition

WordPress isn't the only game in town when it comes to popular blogging engines. Competitor Movable Type from Six Apart is now open source and has a growing developer crowd behind it. Also, Six Apart recently announced that you can run MT easily in a visualized environment, making it possible to run a test environment with ease. Google's Blogger software continues to add features such as reader polls, Picasa Web integration and easier commenting.

Bloggers Are Anxious to Try WordPress 2.7

What's the word around the blogosphere regarding WordPress 2.7? Blog Herald notes that while users are anxious to try out the new interface, they want the software to be adequately tested. Beta 1 of WordPress 2.7 was quite buggy, resulting in the 2.7 release date needing to be pushed back. A search on Twitter shows users are anxious for the new look and features. We're happy to see Automattic integrating these much-needed features and capabilities into their popular CMS application. It is apparent that WordPress is continuing to listen to the userbase and is responding with new feature sets in a timely manner. With competition now coming from Six Apart's open source implementation of Movable Type, WordPress needs to continue to innovate to stay relevant.