WordPress, one of the Web's most popular blogging platforms is about to get another update. And this one is significant. The update, version 3.0, is due in early May and pushes the platform closer to a full-blown CMS. Here are some of the most important new features for Web professionals:
The merging of WordPress MU (MultiUser) is perhaps the most signficant upgrade and will play a major role in several industries. In its most basic form, WordPress MU (or WPMU) allows publishers to install and manage WordPress on multiple domains all at once. This means that updates to WordPress (including plugins) can be executed across multiple sites at the same time. That's an enormous time-saver, particularly for those managers running tens or hundreds of WordPress blogs at the same time. What's more, MU allows multiple themes to be available and activated to any one (or two or three) of your blogs with a click.
It also allows a blog manager to enable admin priveledges for individual users for individual portions of each website. For example, one user can have access to a subdomain for blogging about products, while another can be given access to a section about services. WPMU is ideal for community-style blogs and websites. It's never been easier for multiple authors to post and for admins to manage. Combine this with a plugin like BuddyPress and you're getting into full-blown social media territory.
WPMU integration is going to save time which, in turn, will give the ability to spawn new websites as fast as you can dream them up. This could be a powerful tool for developers, agencies, marketers (creating branded microsites) and even domainers looking to build a little content and traffic, then resell. Here are some details about using WPMU.
Custom Post Types lets users create any kind of content they want, then assign its attributes for easy management. So, you could create a custom post type 'video,' then use its own admin section to get a head-start on formatting of those posts, categorization, etc. This will be a great help to multiple-author blogs so that one user can get very comfortable with a specific type of content and not need to worry about site-wide tweaks formats.
Custom Menus lets you quickly and easily add pages and categories, then manage them through a drag and drop functionality - even to add or remove posts.
Custom Taxonomies have been improved and more easily allows the grouping of items across categories, according to how they are defined. Useful, say for an e-commerce WordPress site that wants the ability to sort items by size, price, color, etc.
In all, many of the features and functions of WordPress 3.0 have been in the works (and actively tested) for a while now. What's changed is that (hopefully) the bugs have been worked out and the process will be much more user-friendly. This should help WordPress spread even farther across the Web and help businesses increase visibility and production using a fraction of the time.