WordPress 3.1 was released last week. It made me think about how much WordPress has developed since I first started using it. Although the basics have remained the same, there has been an array of features added in the past year making WordPress (to quote the recent 3.1 announcement), ‘more of a CMS than ever before’. It’s not perfect, but it’s a brilliant system.
It’s brilliance is in large part down to it’s simplicity. There are technically better systems out there, I’ve no doubt. But it’s simple and easy to use – for both users and developers – and in the fast paced environment of the web, that’s a definite bonus.
The simplicity thing got me thinking. It reminded me of my university lecturers. They were all, no doubt, intelligent. They all had a grasp of the complex theories and systems they were lecturing on. But the lecturers that stood out – those that were brilliant – were those that could make a complicated subject simple. Not by dumbing it down, but by explaining & illustrating the subject at an appropriate level.
And WordPress does a similar kind of thing, bringing the complexity down to an appropriate level. It makes the web a whole lot more accessible to people who aren’t technical, but just want to run a successful website. And it makes it very easy for developers like myself to facilitate this process. A win-win situation.
Internal Linking in 3.1
Anyhow, that aside (this post is supposed to be about WordPress 3.1)…. possibly the most useful new feature in 3.1 for end users is the enhanced internal linking workflow.
Put very simply, this now means that if you want to link from a post (like this one), to another page in your website, you no longer have to go and find the page URL (address) and paste it into the link box. Instead, you get a nice list of pages and posts ready for you to select from. Long overdue, but nonetheless, very handy now it’s here…
Other 3.1 Additions
A couple of other additions in 3.1:
- a new admin bar along the top of your website when you’re logged in – allowing quick access to posts, comments, profile, etc. Personally, I can’t see myself using it at the moment, so I’ve turned mine off (to turn off the admin bar, go to your Profile page and uncheck the ‘Show Admin Bar’ box(es)). But everyone works slightly differently, so I’m sure some people will find this useful.
- a cleaner writing interface – by default a lot of the panels in the edit post/edit page screens that were rarely used (‘revisions’ for example) are now hidden. You can get them back again by using the ‘Screen Options’ tab to the top right of the page. I like this, it’s a simplification, and it will make the write process even simpler for new users. When training, I fairly frequently tell users ‘you can ignore that… and that…. and that….’ – hopefully I’ll be saying that a bit less now!