December 27, 2009

What features do you want in WordPress 3.0?

I’m happy to see that the core development team behind WordPress have decided to adapt a less chaotic project management method for WordPress 3.0 and beyond. A blog post on the WordPress dev blog, written by Jane Wells, details this well. It also points to a forum thread where the community can discuss what features we really want for 3.0, so that the feature freeze can be set and the work can get a bit more focused.

That is opposed to everyone pushing their very own favorite features and making every release of WordPress grow and grow and grow, before it finally hits feature freeze. Less features per release means more time to squash bugs, and hopefully that will mean that silly stuff like scheduled posts breaking like it did with version 2.9 (the upcoming 2.9.1 will fix that, meanwhile use this plugin) won’t happen as easily.

With less new features, however, comes the need to make the ones being added count. That means that you should take the time to pitch in and tell the community, both in the forum thread and on your blog should it be about WordPress, what you think is important.

To me, the one important feature in WordPress 3.0 is the merge with WordPress MU. That means that you can use a standard WordPress install to power multiple blogs, just like WPMU does today. Problem is, WPMU development isn’t keeping up with WordPress as you might want, and the mere fact that there are fewer users means that the platform is lacking in a lot of ways. I’m rolling it for a few clients, and it is decent enough, but unless you’re ready to get your hands dirty and aren’t afraid of hacking some PHP and rolling poorly documented plugins, you’re better off using a bunch of regular WordPress installs.

Or you could use WP Hive, an excellent plugin that lets you roll multiple blogs on one standard WordPress install. I’m actually using it right now, to power a bunch of blogs across multiple domains and subdomains – tdh.me included. The only real drawback of WP Hive is the problems with languages, because unlike WordPress MU you can’t pick what language you want to use, since that is defined in wp-config.php in your WordPress install. That means that I can’t use a localized theme on tdh.me since it is in English, and tdh.se as well as the actual WordPress install is in Swedish. And obviously I’ve built both of these on the Notes Blog Core theme, which is fully localized for both languages, hence I’m in trouble. Now, I solved that easily enough, but not everyone builds child themes like I do, so that is definitely a drawback if you’re rolling several blogs on WP Hive and want them to be on different languages.

On the other hand, that really is the only drawback with WP Hive. That, and the fact that development have slowed down to a halt, not too unexpected with the announced merge with WordPress and WordPress MU, since it could render the WP Hive plugin obsolete. Then again, it might not, so we’ll see – the developer have promised a script to make sure you can move from WP Hive to whatever solution we’ll see in WordPress 3.0, so I didn’t hesitate to use the plugin for this particular setup (which I’ll get to at a later date).

Anyway, do make sure you pitch in with your ideas and requests for WordPress 3.0. After all, if you don’t speak your mind, how can you whine about what’s included and what got passed when the first beta is out?

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.