I know this is coming pretty late for the world of the internet, but I’ve been really busy and I only recently started getting to know WordPress 2.5. All in all, I think that the upgrade is fantastic, and here’s my review of the new features I have used so far:

New admin design

I like the new design for the WordPress admin (and for the WordPress.org site). The colors are ok, but what’s great is that everything seems to be a bit tighter so it’s easier to get an overview of a page quickly, like which plugins you’re using, or the categories.

Smarter layout of admin navigation bar

I think that the new setup of the navigation bar in the admin section is much more user friendly. It separates the features that you use regularly while blogging, like writing and managing posts and comments, from the features that you only need to deal with once in a while, like Plugins, Settings (used to be called Options) and Users.

The only drawback that still exists is that in order to get to anything on a submenu, you have to click on the top of the menu, like Write for example, and only once the page has reloaded can you click on Post. So I’ve installed the Admin Drop Down Menu by Ozh to overcome that, but unfortunately it regroups all of the links into one long navigation bar like in previous versions of WP, which means that I don’t benefit from the new grouping.

WordPress navigation bar

More flexible Dashboard

The new Dashboard is a huge improvement over the old one, since it gives you a quick view of the things you need to know about your blog: how many posts, Pages, categories and tags. However, I rarely take more than a quick look at the Dashboard while I’m blogging, so although I can now add my own RSS feeds there, I probably won’t.

Write Post/Page page changes

The new layout of the Write Post/Page page is tighter and smarter in most respects. The important information is at the top, and the new expandable text editor is a pleasure, although the very useful shortcut for adding links – Ctrl+K -does not work in the new text editor. But apparently the text editor no longer messes with your code, which I guess makes up for it. The main drawback to the new layout that I’ve found is that the Post Author drop-down box is all the way at the bottom. When I’m working on multi-author blogs I keep forgetting to change the author to the correct one.

Another annoying thing, but maybe this is a problem with my installation, is that when I first start writing a post and I click on Save, it often goes out of the admin into the front end of the site to show me the page. Also, it creates another version which is saved as a draft, so I end up with two versions of every post I’m working on, and I have to go back and delete the second draft.

Media manager

Managing images, video and any other type of media in previous versions of WordPress was pretty lame. The new image manager is very handy, and allows you to easily upload and insert images, and align them however you want within the text. You can add titles, descriptions, and other information to the images as well.

The video manager has not worked for me at all. When I insert a video URL into the form, it just inserts a link to the video as opposed to embedding it. So I’m still using a plugin for video management. I haven’t tried adding audio or other media yet.

Auto-suggest for tags

Now, when you add tags to a WordPress post, it suggests tags that have already been used on the blog. This is great because it ensures that you do not create multiple tags that are really the same, like “blogs,” “blog,” and “blogging.” However, be aware that it takes a few seconds for the suggestions to pop up. I didn’t realize this in the beginning, and I ended up with multiple related tags.

This new features also means that I can now use one less plugin, which I’m always happy about. Simple Tags (and its predecessor Simple Tagging), you were the best and thanks for everything. No wait – I just checked out Simple Tags and I realized I still can’t live without it.

Automatic plugin updates!!!

Now if one of your plugins needs updating, you get a message that says something like “This plugin needs updating. Click here to download, or click here to upgrade automatically.” Um let’s see – either I can download the new plugin, unzip it, delete the current plugin files from my server to make sure it’s all gone, upload the new plugin and reactivate, or I can click on one link. I’m clicking on the link baby!

No more Category IDs

If you go to Manage > Pages or Manage > Categories, the ID numbers no longer appear. That is annoying for theme editors who want to hard code inclusion or exclusion of pages or categories in menus or in The Loop. You can still find out what the Page or Category ID is by mousing over the title and looking at the link in the bottom of your browser to find the number, but that’s not very intuitive, is it?

No more WordPress bookmarklet

WordPress used to have a bookmarklet and Link bookmarklet that you could drag to your browser toolbar, where it would become a button that you could click to post about a page you are visiting, or to add a link from a page you are visiting. These bookmarklets have disappeared in WordPress 2.5.

That’s it for now. If I discover anything else that is new and interesting, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.

Here are some more good articles on what users can expect from WordPress 2.5:

WordPress 2.5 – nice security improvements

Themes for WordPress 2.5 and Web 3.0 Design and Functionality – good overview of WP’s new features

Weblogtools: FAQ on WordPress 2.5 and FAQ On WordPress 2.5 Version 2

The WordPress Blog: WordPress 2.5