WordPress CMS modifications
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Archive for May 2009

I’m please to announce that WordPress 2.8 beta is available to download. A-lot of elements are getting updated and plenty of general tidying is being done. I’m really happy the team have concentrated on this for WordPress 2.8, rather than a load of new features – don’t get me wrong, there is some exciting new stuff but it’s not like the huge step forward of WordPress 2.7… and I’m glad!

Beta releases are pre-release versions that should only be used in ‘test’ environments as there may still be some bugs to squish. In-fact, users are encouraged to download the Beta versions to help catch those bugs – you should create a new ticket if you find an issue with the beta. Think of this as your little bit of help for the whole WordPress community!

There does seem to be a whole lot of tweaking going on – things that theme and plugin developers should be interested in include:

  • Add CodePress syntax highlighting to¬† Theme and Plugin editors
  • Add Documentation(function) lookup to Theme and Plugin editors
  • Add column “Rating” in Administration > Links > Edit
  • Allow the dashboard widgets to be arranged in up to four columns as set via the Screen Options tab
  • Improved Widget user interface
  • Support more than one gallery on the same page
  • Add description field for tags

Beyond the surface level stuff, there is a whole bunch of new stuff for WordPress plugin and theme developers to play around with:

  • Add Sticky to list of post states
  • Introduction and widespread use of transient and related filters
  • Add hooks for the Users, Categories, Link Categories, Tags and Comments table columns
  • Cron spawning improvements
  • Add “style” and “html” arguments to wp_list_authors
  • Add WP_Widget class and move native widgets into WP_Widget
  • Allow other taxonomies (e.g. post categories) to be used with wp_tag_cloud (Changeset 10554)
  • Add “exclude_tree” argument to wp_list_categories and make exclude behave like exclude_tree when hierarchical is specified–this was actually a 2.7.1 change (Ticket 8614)
  • New Template Tag, the_modified_author (Ticket 9154)
  • Enhanced support for custom taxonomies Add echo argument to wp_tag_cloud()
  • Make authentication more pluggable
  • Fixes to query_posts (obey post_type, drop orderby=category, use group by for meta key queries, remove meta_value from selected fields)
  • Allow a plugin to filter the classes applied in wp_list_pages()
  • Store field types in wpdb object
  • Add tag description functions tag_description and term_description
  • Allow menu reordering via plugin
  • Add hook for updating user profile
  • Add hook for adding info to plugin update message
  • Allow plugin to replace just the default help while preserving the contextual help
  • New escaping naming convention Ticket 9650

Big changes for developers to watch out for include:

  • Drop post_category column from wp_posts table, and link_category column from wp_links schemas
  • Deprecate get_catname()
  • Deprecate wp_specialchars() in favor of esc_html(). Encode quotes for esc_html() as in esc_attr(), to improve plugin security
  • Deprecate sanitize_url() and clean_url() in favor of esc_url_raw() and esc_url()

This is by no-means everything – I’ve just picked out some of the highlights! You can read the full list on the official WordPress announcement page, or read the blog announcement.


WordCamp is the conference for WordPress users. If you missed out on the First WordCamp UK last year in Birmingham, be sure not to miss out on this years event! After the resounding success of last years event, it was decided democratically that this year it would be held in Cardiff, Wales. (more…)