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June 17, 2010 12:31 PM   Subscribe

Wordpress.org launches Wordpress 3.0. The popular blogging platform and open source CMS continues to evolve with 3.0, “Thelonious” (wordpress versions are named after jazz musicians). The official Wordpress.org announcement has an excellent video tour and overview. Tune into some Monk and catch up on the new features (sixrevisions.com has a great overview).

New features include: What are you waiting for? Go download Wordpress, update your installation to 3.0, or check out the 3.0 download counter.
posted by oulipian (32 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sweet. This means we can stop getting AskMes about making Wordpress behave more like Tumblr.
posted by schmod at 12:39 PM on June 17, 2010


I use squarespace. It's a pay service but I can do so much more with it and it is easier to use than wordpress.
posted by Fizz at 12:40 PM on June 17, 2010


Sometimes I blog things that I never read myself. - Thelonious Monk
posted by Babblesort at 12:52 PM on June 17, 2010


Wordpress Blue!
posted by fixedgear at 12:53 PM on June 17, 2010


I've been using the betas and RCs of 3.0 for a while now. This is a good'un. I used to be a WordPress hater, but I've come around and it's been a big tool in my kit for a couple years now. The very strict sandboxing of the core system from third-party material (extensions, content, and chrome) make it incredibly easy to maintain.

WP needs a few common extensions if you're going to treat it as A Serious Content Tool but that's true of all the other popular CMSes too. (For example, heavy traffic can still kill it; wp-super-cache is your friend.)

WordPress is probably the easiest to use blog software and the latest version is even easier to manage after setup. But if you're not interested in managing it, it's not for you and neither are its competitors; there are a lot of good hosted services available.
posted by ardgedee at 1:16 PM on June 17, 2010


I paid for and used Typepad Pro for five long years before hitting delete. The new system I've been given to use is Wordpress.


*meh*
posted by infini at 1:21 PM on June 17, 2010


Why WordPress Sucks.

I'm pretty sure that there is a lesson in WordPress close to a lot of the Worse Is Better discussion of the past. It does its basic job, and does it well enough that users with little technical sophistication can use it... and users with a bit more technical sophistication can tinker. It is very, very difficult for me to imagine anyone with genuine deep technical knowledge actually finds the internals anything other than hellish, though, and I'm starting to think the best thing I could do for the world in the next five years of my life is dedicating myself to the utter elimination of this piece of software. But that's probably because I'm on a non-trivial integration project where people made the mistake of treating it as a platform.
posted by weston at 1:46 PM on June 17, 2010


I use wordpress a lot and I can't say that it seems much worse for relatively simple sites than its competitors. Some stuff is ridiculous, though...I sure hope 3.0 does something about the abomination that is "the gallery" rather than putting more fluff.

The update hasn't shown up on any of the dashboards of various sites I administer, so I guess we'll see.
posted by maxwelton at 2:01 PM on June 17, 2010


That Why WordPress Sucks post is odd. He's complaining about how hard it is to do something wrong. (Why didn't he simply edit page.php, index.php, or whichever template element in the theme he's using?)

There are plenty of things wrong with WP, but that linked rant is not a good example.
posted by ardgedee at 2:17 PM on June 17, 2010


That Why WordPress Sucks post is odd. He's complaining about how hard it is to do something wrong. (Why didn't he simply edit page.php, index.php, or whichever template element in the theme he's using?)

Huh? Why is caching 'wrong'? The whole point of the exercise was to extract the final HTML from wordpress, and then store that somewhere in order to avoid hitting page.php or index.php. How would altering the content of those files help him do that? (Now you could use a prefab caching system, but that might not work very well, especially if you had a small amount of content you wanted to change on the page)

I've played around with making wordpress themes. And the blog post has it right. The way the code is written is really amateurish. PHP is great for doing quick hack web pages, but for doing complex projects that you want to allow a lot of manipulation for it's just awful.

Look at this line, for example:

if ( preg_match('/<\!--more(.*?)?-->/', $content, $matches) ) {

WTF is that? Why would you ever do a regex on your own data? That kind of coding is extreemly brittle. If you change whatever generates your "<!--more -->" string somewhere else you would break it, and you would have no idea why it was broken until you debugged the code yourself and then smashed your head into the desk. Oh, and
I ever wrote a post with an HTML comment in it that happened to hit on whatever random content markers Wordpress has decided to use. (Oh wait! That just happened to me while I was trying to publish the above code fragment!)
I mean come on.
posted by delmoi at 2:44 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wordpress is the shortest distance between my mum saying "Can you build me a website" and me saying "here's the new page button, now you can start putting your content in". As a prototyping tool, it's invaluable. Ditto knocking up a blog where content is more important than display.
posted by Leon at 2:59 PM on June 17, 2010


Sub-themes, complex taxonomies, custom content types, template suggestions?

Apparently they have re-made Drupal... just without the rigorous coding standards and testing applied to contributed modules (plugins).
posted by cedar at 3:00 PM on June 17, 2010


For me, the thing about the Why Wordpress Sucks post is, if this person is a talented and insightful developer who uses Wordpress, and cares enough about its quality to write a 2000 word indictment of why it sucks, why doesn't he or she do something about it? It's an open source project. Write a better function and post it so others can use it, or write a plugin that does what you want. Submit a trac ticket or bug report, keep up with development updates, contribute to the UI team, or pitch in at the forums.

Obviously Wordpress is not perfect, and a lot of the quirks and inconsistencies are because it is a seven-year old open source project that aims to be backwards compatible and easy for new users to jump into. But it has a vast and dedicated community of developers and users, a rich library of plugins and themes, an exceptionally user-friendly admin interface, and gets better with every update. You can hate on it all you want, but there are more constructive ways to take part if it means that much to you.
posted by oulipian at 3:39 PM on June 17, 2010


Apparently they have re-made Drupal... just without the rigorous coding standards and testing

/me falls off chair laughing
posted by Leon at 4:13 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Drupal has come a long way.

Sure, there's something like 6000 modules and some (most?) are going to be junk, but the most common and useful (Views, CCK, Panels, Token, etc.) are about as well tested as anything like this can be.

SimpleTest has helped as has the basic review process before being granted CVS access. I'm not familiar enough with WP to make a valid comparison but it has been my understanding that WP plugins hit the repository without any sort of formal review.
posted by cedar at 4:49 PM on June 17, 2010


Are you fucking kidding me? That is what the 2010dev site looks like in my browser. What a quality theme.
posted by Rhomboid at 5:06 PM on June 17, 2010


For me, the thing about the Why Wordpress Sucks post is, if this person is a talented and insightful developer who uses Wordpress, and cares enough about its quality to write a 2000 word indictment of why it sucks, why doesn't he or she do something about it?

The stuff he was talking about was pretty central to how wordpress works, and if he were going to try to replace it he'd have to rewrite a ton of code and there's no way that his changes would be adopted and it would break comparability with all the code that's been written around that crazy system.

The "It's open source, just fix it!" thing only makes sense when fixing it is easier then burning it to the ground and starting over from scratch.
posted by delmoi at 6:19 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Rhomboid: what browser are you using? It works fine for me in firefox 3.6, chrome 5, and IE 8.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on June 17, 2010


Firefox 2. It sure would be nice to be able to upgrade but Fx 3 requires GTK+ 2.10 and my system only has GTK+ 2.8 packaged which means I'm forever stuck with 2.x unless I want to upgrade my entire OS or build the whole thing from source. Don't let anybody ever tell you that dependency hell is a Windows-only thing -- it's actually much worse on Linux.

Besides, if a theme can't support a browser that is only a couple of years old then something has gone seriously off the rails in terms of web standards.
posted by Rhomboid at 6:53 PM on June 17, 2010


Also fine for me in: Safari 5, Chrome 5, Firefox 3, Opera X and Camino 2.

what? I like options.
posted by heeeraldo at 6:59 PM on June 17, 2010


The "It's open source, just fix it!" thing only makes sense when fixing it is easier then burning it to the ground and starting over from scratch.

Fair enough, if you're only talking about writing code, but when you take into account building a community of developers and users, I don't think that starting from scratch would be easier than modifying Wordpress.

In any case, this person's approach to problem-solving is akin to complaining that parallel parking would be so much easier with a helicopter instead of a car. You have to be willing to work within reasonable limitations of the tools you choose to use. Obviously it's possible to write a plugin to accomplish what he or she wants to do, as plugins like WP Super Cache are already out there.
posted by oulipian at 7:12 PM on June 17, 2010


It's always fun to see the Drupal-versus-Wordpress comparisons pop up in conversations like this. At the end of the day, the differences between the two boil down to task specialization. WordPress is an open source blogging tool, and every feature it offers -- every new enhancement with every new version -- is focused on single and multi user blogging. There's a lot of that going on, and WP is obviously very good at it. Drupal, on the other hand, is a general purpose CMS framework whose default setup is somewhat bloggish. Drupal's default UX will never, ever be as task-polished as WordPress' because the Drupal community doesn't have a critical mass of people using it for a particular kind of task. The emphasis these days is on making it easier to customize the administrative and editorial tools for the use case it's being deployed for.

The ever-advancing feature sets of both WordPress and Drupal are ultimately not related to that fundamental difference. My wife's blog runs WordPress, and I think she'll really dig the features in 3.0. But the site I'm helping build out for a cable network, to do realtime news coverage and sports team roster management? It makes a lot more sense to build that in Drupal. The admin interface isn't as polished as WP's by default, but WP's polishing is geared towards completely different kind of tasks than that client's team will be performing.

Anyways. I'm just rambling at this point, but it makes me sigh and shake my head when things get collapsed to simple better/worse comparisons.
posted by verb at 8:02 PM on June 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, Ian Stewart's work on the Twenty-Ten theme, and his contributions to WordPress' new theming improvements, are definitely interesting to see. he tinkered in Drupal theming for a while, and then released a number of groundbreaking open source WordPress templates. He was very explicit about the fact that they were inspired by Drupal's inheritance-based templating system, and it's really awesome to see that kind of cross pollination going on.
posted by verb at 8:08 PM on June 17, 2010


Fair enough, if you're only talking about writing code, but when you take into account building a community of developers and users, I don't think that starting from scratch would be easier than modifying Wordpress.
No, because 'fixing' it would break all the existing themes and plugins. Wordpress themes aren't just CSS files, you make a theme by replacing the php code that runs in 'the loop'. Take out the loop, and the old themes won't work anymore.

Trying to somehow patch a modern system in a way that would be compatibility with existing code would be, well, very difficult. Much more difficult then building a new system.
posted by delmoi at 9:35 PM on June 17, 2010


In any case, this person's approach to problem-solving is akin to complaining that parallel parking would be so much easier with a helicopter instead of a car.

If you really believe this, then the only conclusion I can come to is that you don't yet really understand the criticism.

The closer analogy is that the developer is pointing out that parallel parking is hard when the tires only turn at specified angles and steering wheel has been replaced with two tank levers that respond differently depending on the state of half a dozen buttons elsewhere on the dashboard.

Obviously it's possible to write a plugin to accomplish what he or she wants to do, as plugins like WP Super Cache are already out there.

It's not a question of *possible*, nor does our critic make it one. You can tease, twist, and torture just about any system to do what you want if you're a good enough developer, and I've done all three on occasion with WordPress over the last year. But if you're a good enough developer, you also learn to see when/how the system itself gets in the way and appreciate systems that require less teasing, twisting, and torturing.
posted by weston at 9:45 AM on June 18, 2010


verb [on drupal]: The emphasis these days is on making it easier to customize the administrative and editorial tools for the use case it's being deployed for.

Hmm... well... I don't know about that. I've learned that my perception is not widely shared in the Drupal community, but my perception is that the reigning aesthetic in the Drupal community favors complex and elegant solutions over efficient ones. Where "elegance" in practice means turning as many pieces of data as you can (including aggregator feed items and images) into nodes, adding whole new layers onto the top of the system to totally change how it works (e.g. Panels/CTools/Context/etc.), and trolling the contrib list to actively discourage people from creating independent modules that overlap even slightly with any other module. It's an intensely developer-centric community, and with success there's been a real ascension of highly organized types who see any overlap in function as a waste of effort that would be better spent by improving existing modules. (Which is a really foolish view, as far as I've ever been able to see -- people just don't do that. Time I'm discouraged from spending on my own project does not automagically get spent on someone else's. But I see that idea crop up all the time, in every walk of life.)

But I digress. The reigning aesthetic in Drupal-land seems to me to be that solutions are better on the one hand to the extent that they require more modules, and on the other to the extent that they break the elements of a page up into more discrete nodes. If you were just learning to deploy Drupal and you posted on the forum "how do I give my users a simple way to add an image to a web page", dollars to donuts half the responses you got would involve installing and configuring Image Cache and integrating some kind of nodereference browser with IMCE. The idea of using the image dialog in your WYSIWYG editor to just insert an image at a given point seems anathema to some drupallers.

I see some drift away from that, like the D7 UX effort. (But note how some high-profile module maintainers struggled against the very idea of UX as a core focus -- and especially at any mention at all of personas. But that's a whole 'nother discussion.)

I don't know what it's like in the Wordpress world. I expect, because of the folks I see using Wordpress, that there's a little more love for simple, user-centric workflows instead of complex, developer-centric workflows. I'll take folks word that it's hell from the development perspective; what Delmoi describes makes me think of my PostNuke hacking days (which is an unpleasant thing to think about). I do know that almost all the weird and crazy things I can think of that I would want to do with a website, I can do with Drupal, and expect the solution to still work when I change themes or upgrade core.
posted by lodurr at 12:49 PM on June 18, 2010


Oh, man. I fear I'm going to get my nerd on now, but why not? If you aren't interested in Open Source CMS inside baseball, feel free to evacuate. Consider yourself warned!
Hmm... well... I don't know about that. I've learned that my perception is not widely shared in the Drupal community, but my perception is that the reigning aesthetic in the Drupal community favors complex and elegant solutions over efficient ones. Where "elegance" in practice means turning as many pieces of data as you can (including aggregator feed items and images) into nodes, adding whole new layers onto the top of the system to totally change how it works (e.g. Panels/CTools/Context/etc.), and trolling the contrib list to actively discourage people from creating independent modules that overlap even slightly with any other module.
One of the difficulties of describing the Drupal community (my own statement falls prey to this as much as yours) is that it is not a monolithic group. The Drupal community - even the Drupal development community -- ranges from hobbyists tinkering on a nerd blog to small web shops building business sites to large companies building, say, whitehouse.gov or grammy.com. That's a real challenge, and even nailing down what constitutes 'Efficient' for that wide range of needs is tricky.

In my experience, 'elegant' to a Drupal developer means 'reusable.' That means that there is no longer an 'Events' plugin for Drupal. Instead there's a DateAPI, a CalendarAPI, a query-building tool that can feed its results through the calendar API, and a templating API for formatting calendars. It's a lot more complicated, but that's not because people like complexity. It's because the culture of component reuse has emphasized small, reusable pieces over monolithic solutions. Sometimes that's good, other times it's frustrating, but it's a particular approach that pays off for lots of larger projects where the requirements and workflows are complex enough that no existing tools match them well.

That's where the "What differs between Wordpress and Drupal" bit comes in: WordPress, at the end of the day, is a tool tailored for single and multi user blogging. While one could, using the components in the Drupal toolbox, build something functionally equivalent... why bother? WordPress already exists. Unless you're already a Drupal developer or site-builder, or you know you'll be needing the extra flexibility it provides, there's no compelling reason to take on the work of integrating the pieces yourself.
The reigning aesthetic in Drupal-land seems to me to be that solutions are better on the one hand to the extent that they require more modules, and on the other to the extent that they break the elements of a page up into more discrete nodes.
I think you're confusing the artifacts with the underlying principle. Reuse is the dominant aesthetic in Drupal, and for better or worse that has evolved into a UNIX-like system of APIs that work together to provide functionality. What's missing at the moment is a tool like apt-get, and a public emphasis on providing user-friendly second-tier tools on top of those reusable building blocks. Systems like 'Features' -- which bundle multiple APIs and modules into self-contained features like 'Photo Gallery' or 'Podcast hosting' -- are a big advanced but they're not fully baked yet. The ability to create reusable distributions of Drupal -- already customized for particular use cases -- is also promising but it's a pretty young feature yet. Products like Open Atrium, Managing News, and Tattler are interesting examples of where that can go.
If you were just learning to deploy Drupal and you posted on the forum "how do I give my users a simple way to add an image to a web page", dollars to donuts half the responses you got would involve installing and configuring Image Cache and integrating some kind of nodereference browser with IMCE. The idea of using the image dialog in your WYSIWYG editor to just insert an image at a given point seems anathema to some drupallers.
...And the other half would tell you to ignore those engineers and use IMCE! ;-) Which group is right depends on what you're doing and what you need. The problem isn't that Drupal people like complexity, it's that people who need more robust tools than something like WordPress end up moving to Drupal. Natural selection ends up populating Drupal's forums with people who need tools that are, by definition, more complex.

This issue of providing task-tailored UX is really one of my hobby horses. I wrote a chapter in Using Drupal about it, I present about it, and I rant about it over drinks to anyone who can listen. Drupal has a lot to learn from WordPress, but the lesson isn't "Do What WordPress Does." Instead, it's "Recognize the huge value of building tailored UX around the tasks end-users and end-maintainers will be performing every day."
posted by verb at 3:49 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the Wordpress Sucks article: "I guess I should just be thankful that I don't have to maintain it."

I'm going to have to say: Yep. You should. Anyone who doesn't have to maintain it should be thankful.

I have a complicated relationship with Wordpress (it's like the toast paradox). On the one hand, WP has powered my own blog for years. Started using it back when it was just a baby ("Awww... such a CUTE little blogging platform!"). It works great. Easy to install, easy to upgrade, hardly ever breaks. (post, comment, lather-rinse-repeat). I was in love with it and would have happily told anyone-who-asked "OMG WP is GR8!"

But fast forward some number of years, and somehow I find myself on a team that is doing enterprise-level WPMU stuff... and WOW. Boy howdy. It's like, "Wordpress, I never knew you." Everything is more difficult than it should be. Lots of head-banging and WTF-moments. Hard, hard, hard. If you haven't done this, and you're just using it to power your standard nothing-to-see-here blog... then you just don't know. You don't know until you know. (The most recent discovery: In some tables in WPMU, the blog_id field, which really, really should be a key identifier for all data related to a specific blog... is actually '0'.) And it goes on like this.

To some extent, the argument "you get what you pay for" certainly applies, and anyone who complains about it should maybe somewhere else. But there is this whole class of people that are "stuck in the middle" of the development process. Someone else has made the decision to go with Wordpress, but they want it to do... something else, so someone signs on to their project, thinking "I can do that!"... and that's where it all goes wrong.

I can see why it would be tempting for Wordpress evangelists to fire back with a quick, "Fine, you don't like something, FIX IT, it's open source, yo." The problem with that is... it's not going to happen. People don't tend to want to work on open source projects they don't actually like. Much better for the evangelists to pay attention to the feedback they get from talented people who just happen to get stuck working with the system, for whatever reason, and see if they can incorporate any of those ideas in order to make their beloved open-source blogging platform better.
posted by anonymous_wordpress_user at 6:02 PM on June 18, 2010


Wordpress is splendid.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:38 PM on June 18, 2010


I'm a big fan of open source web applications. We use MODx for about 90% of our sites because we love the fact that the templates are just XHTML/CSS with some tags thrown in, but the documentation for it has been awful. It's extremely modular and since we can customize the admin to make it easy for end users.

We use WordPress for blog heavy, get your template here, type projects.

We're finally pleased to see what looks like a decent eCommerce application, Lemonstand. Paid open source but the time you save compared to the likes of OS Commerce, Magento, or PrestaShop is worth the price.

Drupal we like, but not as much as MODx. But as usual it's what you like, how you like to work, etc. Doesn't mean anything more than that usually.

That said, we refuse to use Joomla. If the client insists for whatever reason, we refer them to another developer. We'll take a look at this new version of WordPress and update our production process accordingly.
posted by juiceCake at 4:39 PM on June 19, 2010


verb: I think you're confusing the artifacts with the underlying principle.

Oh, absolutely. And I do know what you mean. I should have stated as much up front. Where I suspect we would disagree is over the extent to which the underlying principle is understood, versus the aesthetic being honored.

As for that other half of respondents in my example, in my experience what they'd most likely say is not "ignore those people", but rather something that amounted to apologizing for being so inexperienced that it didn't occur to them to use Image Cache + CCK + MelvinAPI* + Feeds to load it from the user's iPhone.
--
*Just kidding. I haven't published that yet.

posted by lodurr at 7:16 AM on June 21, 2010


...BTW, verb, I appreciate you and anyone else banging the drum for better UX in Drupal. It's kind of a thankless job, and I've been very happy to see Dries using his weight on behalf of UX. I don't care if it has to do with his business interests.
posted by lodurr at 7:19 AM on June 21, 2010


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