The next major WordPress release, version 3.0, is currently on track for a late March/early April release date. The WordPress core developers have hit the ground running in 2010 with some big things coming in the 3.0 release. This release has to be the biggest one yet since I’ve been working on WordPress. Some of the major changes and features include the WordPressMU (WPMU) merger, extended support for Custom Post Types and Taxonomies, a new Default Theme, and Menu Management.
The WPMU Merge
I’ve been anticipating this since Matt Mullenweg first mentioned it at WordCamp SF 2009. We do a lot of development in both WordPress and WordPressMU. With both being separate projects, there were always issues we had to contend with, mostly dealing with the slower release cycle of WPMU or having to migrate a site from WordPress to WPMU because of changes in needs for a project. With the merging of the two, WordPress now has the Multi-Site capability built-in. Users currently running WPMU will be able to upgrade to WordPress 3.0 with a seemless transition, while users currently running normal WordPress shouldn’t notice a difference.
Custom Post Types and Taxonomies
We’ve been using custom post types and custom taxonomies on some of our projects since WordPress 2.8 and technically, custom post_types and taxonomies have been supported since WordPress 2.9, however, it took a lot of extra code to make it work. The new features integrated into WordPress core provide a simple yet flexible set of functions for registering custom post types or taxonomies while also using the familiar post and tag edit screens to manage the new content. With these new features, WordPress becomes an even more robust Content Management System.
The New Default Theme
The Kubrick theme has had a good run, but with all the new features added to WordPress over the last couple of years, the WordPress core developers decided it was time to create a new theme that utilizes some of the new features. The new theme is called Twentyten, named after the year in hopes that creating new themes with that use the latest features of WordPress can become a yearly thing. The current version of the Twentyten theme can be previewed at http://2010dev.wordpress.com/. Once it is released, it should be the starting point for new WordPress theme developers looking for a good best practices example.
The new menu administration is a an import from WooThemes custom navigation. I haven’t had much time to look at the new menu management system yet. But from what I have seen from this post, it looks to be a great new feature.
The Patch Sprint
The WordPress core developers have set the cutoff for new features to Monday, March 1, 2010. This will allow the focus to be on fixing bugs instead of adding new features. With this, any new features that don’t have patches or haven’t been tested yet, won’t be included in the 3.0 release. How can you help? Check out WordPress Trac and see if there are any tickets you may be able to test or assist in creating a patch. With enough contributers, WordPress 3.0 may even be ready ahead of schedule.