WordPressers, "Getz" over to wordpress.com and prepare to update your favorite blogging engine. The latest is a big release. On top of many improvements -- most notably the inclusion of widgets -- version 2.2 counts over 240 bug fixes.Named in honor of Stan Getz, the famous tenor saxophonist, WordPress 2.2 is the first release under the new, experimental development cycle that should produce updates three times a year. The new release includes too many features to list -- not that we won't try: * WordPress Widgets. A drag and drop interface now allows you to add your sidebar widgets via the GUI. In v2.2 this is included with the core of the program, not as add on plugin as in previous versions * Full Atom Support This makes the RSS2 protocol yesterday's news(reader) * Improved Importer. Better Google Blogger importer functionality means you can now suck up the new Blogger posts (as opposed to the previous version's support for legacy blogger only) when you step up to WordPress instead of trying to cut and paste or using FeedBurner workarounds. * Infinite Comment Stream. While we never condone the use of the word "infinite" when describing data quantities, this means of dealing with comments via AJAX page switching is intriguing. * Protection from Yourself. WordPress now disallows you from activating a plugin that will break your blog * Performance Gains. As usual, some juicy speed optimizations on core plugins and filters are included in this update and which is sure to be music to the ears of those who run high traffic WP sites The fun doesn't stop there; some interesting tinkering has been done on the internals as well. For instance: * External editor users (Ecto and Mars Edit users, we're looking at you) will be happy to note a new set of WordPress-specific XML-RPC APIs that allow for editing pages, setting categories, etc. * The growing-in-popularity jQuery is used for an increasing number of internal functions * Addressing another trend, comment feeds, WordPress v2.2 supports multiple feed formats, including Atom * Internal mail functions have grown and now use phpMailer, which includes features such as SMTP support * Config files now allow you to specify the database collation and character set * Hard-coding your site and WP URL are now supported in the configuration file, letting your override the values in the database As with any major software release, it is never a bad idea to wait a few ticks before installing. The recent hack of Wordpress 2.1.1 comes to mind, in case anyone needs convincing. The brave and the thirsty can pull the dewy-eyed v2.2 download here. In other WordPress news, WordCamp will take place July 21-22 in San Francisco, California. WordCamp is a meet-up of WordPress developers and users. The goal is more than geeking. You can tune in here.