WordPress Wednesday: Checking out Ella

Techtites Daily: WordPress Wednesday

Except for the fact that upgrading this blog gave me problems, I have had absolutely no problems running WordPress 2.1, codenamed Ella.I promised a review of WordPress 2.1 a while back, but have been busy testing out the various features it has to offer.

The WordPress Blog Release Post listed a few of the new features, which I shall take a look at here.

Autosave

In my opinion this is indeed the best addition in WordPress 2.1. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve lost blog posts and had to retype them all over again simply because my browser or operating system crashed or my internet connection gave problems.

This was also one of the features that got me to upgrade to 2.1 so easily and I don’t regret it.

What I would love to see is a discard post feature similar to that on Gmail, so in case I change my mind about the post, it will do a clean remove.

The Editor

I hated the WYSIWYG editor in 2.0. It took hours to load and was definitely not user-friendly. You had no easy way to switch between the code view and the WYSIWYG view. Also, editing the HTML was cumbersome and hard to read.

2.1 comes with a complete revamp of the editor. And, I’m so pleased with it, that I am actually typing out this post in it. The best feature here is the ability to quickly switch between the WYSIWYG and the quicktags. Since it is using the traditional quicktags, buttons added by plugins are visible. This makes my favorite image management plugin IImage Browser accessible easily. This image below was uploaded using the same.

WordPress Editor

The editor also includes spell-checking capabilities with the ability to find the correction easily.

CMS Capabilities

Usage of WordPress as a CMS has been made easier. Earlier, you can to modify your theme or use a plugin to display a page on the main page. Now, this feature comes inbuilt in the WordPress core. As for me, I prefer to use the latest posts as my front page.

Links are now Blogroll

Now, this is one feature of WordPress 2.1 that I do not like. The Links section has been renamed to Blogroll, which isn’t an issue. However, the blogroll categories have been fused with the Post categories, which means a lot of extra unnecessary categories! I, as many others, would have preferred to have these seperate.

Speeeeed!

If the frontend has received an overhaul so has the backend. WordPress 2.1 comes with tons of optimizations.

Database code has been cleanedup and improved and so is much lighter on your server.

Ajax has been used all over the admin panel, hence reducing the number of page loads and definitely speedin up stuff.

The Dashboard loads quicker because the RSS feeds are now fetched in the background.

Mark reportsthat he has seen resource utilization half since he upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.1.

Other Improvements

Ella comes with other additions like the Akismet 2.0 plugin, a better upload manager. I don’t use both of these, hence will skip the review of these. I am sure you will find reviews of the same elsewhere. The login screen has been made more attractive, though if you’re the only user on your blog, it isn’t going to make much of a difference. Comment feeds can include all the comments and the number can be customized accordingly, which is great if you are publishing comment feeds as I do on AjayDSouza.com and soon intend to do here as well.

Developer Features

For us developers, 2.1 also heralds in some good features. For one, you have an inbuilt cron facility. I’m going to study this soon for a plugin I have in mind.

Theme authors can take advantage of the custom header, color picker, and image cropping framework. I’m yet to see many themes incorporate these.

Plugin authors have several more hooks and API at the disposal.

Overall Feel

To summarize, I like the new WordPress 2.1. I loved 1.5 and preferred not to use 2.0 (but had no option), but I simply love 2.0 2.1.

Though there are somethings I could have done without, most of the new features have made it a must have upgrade.

2.2 is also coming in two months, with plans to implement a lot of user suggested ideas. I hope it marks the start of a true open source user contributed blogging platform.

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14 thoughts on “WordPress Wednesday: Checking out Ella”

  1. Personally, I would also think the same as you. WordPress 2.1 certainly run faster on my site, than using the previous versions. The only thing I don’t quite like is the integration of links and categories together.

  2. The upload manager is easier to work with, and faster. In the 2.0 branch I preferred to upload everything by ftp rather than using the upload feature; not now, the manager shows me a preview and a separate menu for the options, so I can choose from a link or a thumbnail or the full monty (in the case of images). I can also delete the upload easier than before.

    It’s a nice change…

  3. @Keith, Im sure you and I are not the only ones who think this way…

    @Don, Thanks for giving me feedback on this. I’ll give it a test as well. Till now I have been using IImage Browser for the images.

  4. You’re welcome Mike. Just remember to backup before upgrading and follow all the instructions carefully.

    Next week, I’ll write about the steps to follow when upgrading to WordPress 2.1.x

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