What’s new in WordPress 3.1?

The WordPress.org team is busy getting WordPress 3.1 for self hosted sites ready to go in the next few weeks. So what’s inside?

Some of the more interesting features that could make the final release:

New front end admin toolbar
This new feature adds a similar toolbar used on WordPress.com and currently available through a 3rd party plugin to the top of your self hosted site. The admin toolbar gives you easy access to posts, pages, and other settings while viewing your published web site.

Enhanced theme search
Remember a few months ago, WordPress.com was upgraded with a slicker new theme finder? Some of these will be headed over to your self hosted WordPress site.

Simpler password reset
Instead of two emails to get your lost password fixed, it’s going to be reduced down to one.

Internal page/post linking
When inserting links on posts/pages you can now select the destination post or page through a pop up window.

There are also various admin UI updates including sortable columns, new pagination style, and enhanced user administration page.

We’ve noticed the sortable columns can already been seen in WordPress.com admin sites.

Note that some of these changes may not make the final release so cross your fingers.

Here’s the full list of 3.1 updates at WordPress.org. We’ll keep you updated on the release of version 3.1.


Great visual tools for communicating with clients

I know this post isn’t WordPress related but if you’re doing a lot of web design work, using either app mentioned below could save you a ton of time…

You’ve probably heard the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words”? If you and your client just can’t get on the same page using email or even voice communication, why not try using a visual mark-up tool like Skitch or Jing? Skitch is a Mac-only tool that let’s you quickly snapshot your screen, draw arrows, write up annotation/notes, and publish to a web page very, very quickly. How quickly? Well how about under a minute start to finish?  Skitch has been in beta for almost 2 years and they’ve finally released “v1.0” that’s even more polished and better that I ponied up $15 for one year of “pro” features.

 

How about Jing? Jing’s advantage is that it captures up to 5 minutes of your on-screen activity and you can record your voice during the capture to annotate it. Jing’s also has a cross platform – it works on both Mac and Windows. Like Skitch, I paid for the pro version for $15/year. The only draw back is that Jing’s workflow is not as quick as Skitch but it makes up for that with the screencast function.

Get it: Skitch | Jing


Quick Tip: Preview a Theme without a Plugin

Did you know that you can preview an installed WordPress theme without having to install a new plugin? This would be useful if you’re switching over a WordPress site to a theme that’s a work in progress but didn’t want public visitors to see it yet.

Simple add this to the end of your published site’s URL:

?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

For example, this site with the Twenty Ten theme would be:

http://wpverse.com/?preview=1&template=twentyten&stylesheet=twentyten

Simply replace the name of your theme in the example after both template and stylesheet equal (=) signs.

What if you’re not sure what the exact theme name is – for example if the theme name has spaces in it? To find out, go to the “Manage Themes” page, then hover your mouse over the “Activate” button of the theme you want to try out. In the bottom status bar of your browser, you’ll see the theme name that you’ll want to use.

This tip works with both WordPress.com and self hosted sites!

 


WP Plugin of the Week: Bulk Post Creator

One of the less fun things to do when setting up a new WP site is to create new posts or pages. Short of having a “go-to” set of XML content that you can always import onto the site, then you would be pressing a bunch of “Add New” Pages or “Posts” button.

This is where Bulk Page Post Creator plugin can make life easier.  It lets you quickly create a bunch or batch of page or post names quickly. Simply open up the plugin, and type the titles of your posts or pages and click “Create Now.” The toughest thing to figure out about this plugin is that it shows up as a new option under the “Posts” menu called “Create Bulk Posts” instead of under “Tools.”

If your needs are a bit more sophisticated and need to assign categories, hierarchies, and post time/date stamps to posts and pages, check out the more powerful Mass Page Maker plugin. I warn you the user interface and instructions are not as easy to understand as Bulk Post Creator.


Where to find great free WordPress themes

A few weeks ago there was a WordPress community security scare because of possible malware in WordPress themes. So the general rule maybe to get them for trusted sources. But who’s a trusted source and which ones are legitately owned by the designers?

WPMU.org has a great article covering both issues along with a list of commerical WP theme development companies like WooThemes, Graph Paper Press, and others giving back to the WordPress community with free themes using their well developed core framework.

It’s a great article especially as I’ve never heard of a few of the groups including Theme Labs with over 100 free(!) themes. All in all, I can count around 100 free themes provided by for profit companies.

Read it: WPMU.org