WordPress 2.0 Beta 1 released

Screenshot of WordPress 2.0 Beta 1
Screenshot of the Write panel in WordPress 2.0 Beta 1.

Thanks to Digg.com I discovered that WordPress 2.0 Beta 1 has been released.

I didn’t hesitate to download it and upload it to my website: WordPress 2.0 Beta 1 demo.

From the visitor’s point-of-view it appears that nothing has changed, it still sports the default WordPress theme based on the famous Kubrick. But behind the scenes the admin section has been dramatically overhauled and upgraded; although to be fair I’m not terribly keen on the great blueness, I rather like the unassuming greyness that is the admin of WordPress 1.5.x.

Write

The Write panel is now much more user-friendly, especially for less technically-able users. Quicktags are by default replaced with a WYSIWYG editor similar to that of your wordprocessor, although this can be turned off in Options for users who prefer inserting XHTML tags. Like me!

You can now Upload an image from within the Write panel, which is a great improvement. And thumbnail images can now be dragged from the upload section onto your post.

Categories can also be added from within the Post panel, which is a great user-friendly update.

The various other bits-and-pieces have been moved to the right-hand sidebar in WordPress 2.0 accessed by clicking on the appropriate section’s ‘+’ to open it: Discussion, Password-Protect Post, Post slug, Categories, Post Status, Post Timestamp and Post author. The result is a much cleaner and simpler interface.

Presentation

Another major update appears in the Presentation section which now shows a preview of the themes installed (below).

Screenshot of WordPress 2.0 Beta 1 Themes

There is also a new “Current Theme Options” panel that allows you to visually tweak the current theme allowing for more flexibility.

Users

The Users panel has also been improved separating Name, Contact Info, About Yourself and Password sections of the form making it much quicker to manage.

Options

The Permalinks section of the Options panel has been improved, making it easier to chose a format for your links. The default is the PHP-tastic: “?p=123”. Or chose from “Date and name based”, “Numeric” or build your own customized structure.

Import

Recognising that a lot of bloggers coming to WordPress may already have a Blogger account there is now an option to import you current Blogger account posts and comments into WordPress. Brilliant!

User feedback

It’s the little touches that make all the difference, and something that I just love is the user feedback messages that WordPress gives you when you activate or deactivate plugins, or update any options. The coloured box surrounding the message, eg “Options saved” gradually turns from yellow to green to blue. Simple but quite special.

New logo

WordPress also appears to have a new logo:

WordPress 2.0 logo

which reminds me of something else, but I can’t think what. I’m not sure I like as much as the current one:

WordPress 1.5 logo

but that’s a small matter. Overall I’m very impressed.

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 RC3 released

The latest Release Candidate (RC3) of the Mozilla Firefox web browser has just been released. As it says over at the Mozilla HQ:

Firefox 1.5 Release Candidate 3 is now available for download. This is the second release candidate of our next generation Firefox browser, to be released later this year, and it is being made available to our developer and testing community for compatibility testing and to solicit feedback.

Firefox 1.5 can’t be that far away; the current version is Firefox 1.0.7. This is confirmed by this article on Ars Technica posted on Wednesday.

Firefox 1.5 includes a large number of critical new features and bug fixes. Users can look forward to complete support for ECMAScript for XML (E4X), drag and drop tab placement support, browser cache enhancements, massive improvements in rendering performance, a fully operational automatic update system that can finally do patching, and support for rendering pixel graphics (Canvas) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

It appears too from that article that Mozilla Firefox has now gained a 10% share in the browser market that has been dominated for years by Microsoft Internet Explorer, having been downloaded now more than 100 million times since the official launch of v.1.0 twelve months ago, in November 2004. Which I helped in a little way (US $30) to finance.

Blog upgraded to WordPress 1.5.2

WordPress logo

This afternoon, while I was out taking communion to a member of the congregation, my blog received over 170 spam comments. Enough is enough, I thought and reached for the Upgrade 1.2 to 1.5 instructions I’d printed off the other night.

The upgrade took about 10 minutes from start to finish. I don’t know why I didn’t upgrade earlier!

I think I’ll keep the default theme for a while, until I’m ready to redesign my entire site. (Truth is, I’m too busy just now.) But you know me: I’ll have changed my mind by next week and be mixing a new pot of CSS to slap all over the site!

Advanced notice of blog upgrade

I’ve decided! Enough is enough. I’ve run my blog under WordPress 1.2 for long enough. I need to upgrade to the latest version, WordPress 1.5.2. And the sooner the better.

WordPress logo

One reason is that I’m currently deleting over 200 spam comments a day, and that’s even with Spam Karma 1 installed, and a couple of other anti-spam tweaks. The new version is so much better, more secure, more adaptable, and Spam Karma 2 is only available for it! Besides I’m already using it effectively on a number of websites with no trouble, and I really like it.

The only problem is that my blog is currently integrated into the current design of my website, which I also want to upgrade in the next couple of months (and that is quite a big job ahead of me!). I also have to work out how to keep my https://www.garethjmsaunders.co.uk address for the blog. I suspect it will have something to do with some .htaccess tweaking (that’s a file on the web server that automatically handles redirects). So, it may be that the blog has the default WordPress theme for a couple of months while I explore possibilities and build a new site.

But the blog will move to WordPress 1.5.2 some time this week. If it all goes down for a couple of hours, that’s why. But I can assure you of one thing: I’m backing up everything first — MySQL database, server files, WordPress installation … everything!

exNYCgb website relaunched

I decided that enough was enough and so this week I are been mostly … rewriting the exNYCgb website.

The design is very similar to the NYCGB website, which is handy since the exNYCgb website for ex-members of NYCGB. The whole site so far has only taken about 10-12 hours to build, which is remarkably quick for a site of that complexity. There is much yet to do, including somehow building the phpBB forum into the site, and tweaking the Flickr plugin, FAlbum, so that it appears the way that I want it. What fun…

One day I’ll get round to updating this website.