WordPress 2.6 has been out a couple days now – here’s a review of the new features and why you should upgrade now! I have to say, when I upgraded to 2.5 I thought it would be better than it was. I liked the UI improvements, and the ability to upgrade plugins from the dashboard is awesome – but it just seemed like there could have been more. Will WP 2.6 upgrade be better? I just installed it, so let’s see!

Upgrading to a new version of WordPress is spectacularly easy. Just upload the new 2.6 files to your site in FTP, and then run /wp-admin/upgrade one time, and that’s it! Then I logged in the dashboard, and the first thing I saw was an orange bubble over “plugins” so I clicked on that. It turns out that the bubbled contained a “6”, which was the number of plugins that need upgrading. So – now you have plugin upgrade notification in your dashboard!

WordPress Plugin Upgrades

If you haven’t upgraded to at least WordPress 2.5 yet, you don’t know what you’re missing. Under “plugins” you get detailed notifications and specifics about new versions of plugins when they’re available, directly from the WordPress repository. Then, all you have to do is click to upgrade them right there! You get the latest official version from the WordPress repository, no downloading, no unzipping, no uploading – none of that.

New for WordPress 2.6 is the way that the plugins are listed. First you see the plugins that you’re using. Then you see the recently active plugins, ones that have been deactivated in the last 7 days, and last you see all the inactive plugins. You can now deactivate AND reactivate them all at once or some at a time.

WordPress Post Revisions

Also new in WordPress 2.6 is “Post Revisions”. Make a change to one of your posts and it’s saved, and much like Wikipedia you can go back and see what was changed AND who made the change (if you have multi-authors). Although it’s more crap stored in the database – I think this is a great feature. I can’t count the number of times I screwed up a post and need to see a previous version.

Word Counts

I always wondered why there was no word count when you wrote posts and pages – this is something that’s so easy to implement in JavaScript, and that’s been around forever. This will be handy.

Theme Preview

Well, now I can get rid of the Themedrive plugin, because WordPress finally has native support for a theme preview. It’s about time they did this – we’re always hacking up their themes, and I hate it when the (botched) changes have to be seen live by visitors.

Secure Config and Content

FINALLY – WordPress now has the option to move your wp-config file and wp-content directory OUTSIDE of the root. What this means is, say your blog is in your /html/ or /public_html/ directory. You could move your config file and wp-content directories out of the “root” of your site, meaning they would only be available to WordPress to access, and people couldn’t bring them up alone in a web browser. This addresses a huge security concern that’s been around fovever!

Google Gears for WordPress

I saved what I consider to be the best for last, it’s Google Gears integration for WordPress. If you download google gears and install it on your computer, you can use it with Firefox to speed up your blogging. Gears is like a little local web server on your PC, but the way it works with Firefox and your WordPress blog is it can download and save local copies of CSS files and scripts, kinda like a “mega-browser-cache”. It’ll speed up the load time where the pages come up lightning quick – and if you have multiple blogs like me, this can saves mega-time!

*UPDATE* read this post – where it says this feature is part of wordpress.com hosted blogs. I was confused at first – because I installed “gears” and couldn’t figure out how to get it to work – or IF it would work on my self-hosted blogs. I finally figured it out. All you have to do is install WP 2.6, and then go to your dashboard and in the top right (just like in wordpress.com blogs) click “turbo” to enable it to work with google gears. If you have multiple blogs, YES – you have to download the files after enabling for each and every blog you own and use gears with.

WordPress 2.6 video review

Here’s the official video from WordPress.com about all the new 2.6 changes – give it a watch, it’s a nice overview!