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TAG | wordpress 2.8

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.