WordPress 2.9 – The Good and the Pointless

by Martin Malden

I hadn’t paid much attention to the previews of the new features to be introduced with WordPress 2.9.

But, having upgraded yesterday, I have to say that I’m left with mixed feelings.

I understand that there’s quite a lot that was designed to help plugin and theme developers, but for humble users (you and me) there’s some interesting goodies, one that didn’t work and a rather pointless one:

A piece of new functionality that should have made life better for us has been hidden away and made unnecessarily troublesome to access.

Let’s start with the good

Image Editor

WP 2.9 brought the introduction of a simple image editor that allows you to crop, flip, rotate or re-size images.

You can do this either as soon as you upload them or later by clicking the new ‘Edit Image’ button that now appears at the bottom right of images in your gallery.

I’ve always done any editing of my images before uploading them to WordPress, because I often add notations or comments to them, which the WordPress image editor doesn’t handle.

So I don’t see myself changing this process any time soon, but I can see that once an image is in WordPress and you realise you need to re-size it a bit more, this would be a quick and easy way of doing it.

The images need to be in your gallery for you to be able to edit them (rather obviously) and I mostly upload images to a folder outside of WordPress and link to them.

So this editor isn’t going to work for me anyway 🙂

Embedding Videos

(This one’s pretty cool – or should be)

No longer do you need to fiddle with embedding code, which often brings you into conflict with the WordPress HTML police if you try to format it.

You can now simply paste the URL of the video into your Visual view – which is how I tried to embed the video I’ve linked to below.

However, no matter what I tried I couldn’t get this to work.  So I resorted to the tried and trusted method of embedding the source code into the HTML view.

A shame – that would have been neat.

Important: The auto embedding of videos is enabled by default but you need to visit the Settings>Media screen and insert the maximum embeddable size, just in case you can get it to work!

If you don’t and you embed a video that’s wider than your content column it’s all going to look like a bit of a mess.

Trash Can

They’ve modified the delete process (for everything – posts, comments, tags etc.) by adding a Trash Can. Instead of seeing the ‘delete’ option you now see ‘Trash’.

Items in the Trash Can will be permanently deleted after 30 days (much like Yahoo Email accounts).

Bulk Upgrade of Plugins

This is demonstrated in the video I’ve linked to below, so it must be there. But I missed it completely when I upgraded a rash of plugins this morning!

Still, from watching the video this enables you to select plugins for upgrading (to be super efficient you could go to the ‘Upgrade Available’ view and select all) and click ‘Upgrade’.

WordPress will upgrade them and check compatibility with your version. Neat – and I must look out for this next time I have some plugins to upgrade. 🙂

Canonical URLs

A new tag which is now automatically inserted into the HEAD area from 2.9 on is the Canonical URL tag. This is useful because it tells the search engines which is the primary link for your post.

And that’s important because posts on your blog can be accessed via a number of different links: tag archives, category archives, date archives and so on.

However, the All-in-one-SEO pack, Platinum SEO, Thesis and probably a few other tools, have all provided Canonical URL functionality for a while, and if you’re using WordPress with any of those you’ll now have 2 Canonical URL links in your HEAD section.

I don’t what, if any, impact that will have. But I’ll be watching.

Stuff that seems a bit pointless

Automatic Database Repairing

At first sight, telling you that Auto Database Repairing is a bit pointless seems unnecessarily downbeat.

But here’s why:

In order to activate it you have to add a line of code to your config.php file.

Now people who are on top of managing their databases don’t really need this functionality because they’re already doing it.

And the very people who should benefit from this (those who are not comfortable with this kind of stuff) are not likely to be comfortable fiddling around with bits of code in their config.php file.

Which means there’s a high likelihood they won’t activate it.

It can’t have been that much of a stretch to avoid the need for this by creating a menu item in the admin screens.

Still, maybe that will come with a later release.

OK – here’s a quick video tour of WordPress 2.9:


Leave us a comment with your reactions to WordPress 2.9, especially if you can get that video embedding thing to work!

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