WordPress 2.8: Upcoming Features and Enhancements

Mountains (by jim.rocco)

The beta version of WordPress 2.8 has been released. It doesn’t look like there are a lot of major changes, like threaded comments, but there are a number of updates that will enhance blogging with WordPress.

Here’s a list of the ones that I think will be most useful. I’ve also included a link to the changelog in the Codex – makes for some very exciting reading. ;-) I’ve also included links to videos from people who have tested the beta version of 2.8.

Post Tags

A new section has been added called Post Tags in the Posts section. It allows you to manage all of your tags, similar to the way categories are managed now. You will also be able to add a description for your tags. You might be thinking, “wow, descriptions”. And, so am I. I don’t know what I would do with these descriptions.

Theme Management

Themes can now be activated without first being previewed. This will save one or two steps/seconds. Actually, sometimes the preview would get stuck so we won’t have to deal with that annoyance anymore.

Theme Installer

We will be able to search (by keyword) and install themes via the admin interface. This will be similar to the plugin installer introduced in 2.7 Apparently one click theme upgrades will also be included.

Syntax Highlighting

I think anyone who develops and customizes themes will be excited about this feature. The theme and plugin files will add syntax highlighting in the editors. I use this when I work in Notepad++ and I definitely miss it when I work directly in the WordPress editor.

WordPress 2.8 Beta 1 editor (by Søren Hugger Møller)

Improved Widget Interface

The Widget interface has been redesigned. Apparently this has been a long awaited feature. For widget programmers multiple instances of the same widget will now be available. All widgets developers must update to this new system because the old method will be removed in version 2.8. The best part of this is that all sidebars will be available on the same screen. It will no longer be necessary to save and then switch between the different sidebar screens.

WordPress 2.8 Beta 1 widget management (by Søren Hugger Møller)

Documentation Lookup

The theme and plugin editors will include a link to the documentation. I know I will appreciate this.

Date for Scheduled Posts

The date for scheduled posts will now be absolute rather than relative. Currently scheduled posts say something like 4 days from now. In 2.8 the actual date the post is scheduled for will be displayed. I frequently schedule a number of posts in advance and this will help me know exactly when I have scheduled it rather than constantly adding numbers to determine what date it is supposed to be on.

Category Descriptions

Category descriptions will now be included when importing via the WordPress admin.


Logins will be case insensitive. I don’t agree with this. I believe it takes a level of security away from the login. If someone can’t remember if their password has upper or lower case letters, then perhaps he shouldn’t be using WordPress or even a computer. ;-)

Upgrade Messages

Apparently database upgrades will include better messages and explanations. This could be helpful when an upgrade continually fails.

Full Changelog

As promised, a list of all the changes is available in the Codex.

WordPress 2.8 Changes

Widget Interface by Jeff Chandler

WordPress 2.8 is expected to be released in April or May or sometime soon. I’m not exactly sure …

photo credit: jim.rocco

photo credit: Søren Hugger Møller

photo credit: Søren Hugger Møller

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    • says

      Hi Paul – There is supposed to be improvements to the plugin search, and a per page option for the plugins. We will also be able to edit all all
      of the plugins.

  1. says

    For me it seems most valuable improvement is the Syntax Highlighting, which will made customizing very easy, earlier I have to copy and paste the code to notepad++ to find the error and change it then again copy and paste it, now it is much easier.
    I might wait until it goes to next level or bigger change as I have done much customization with my blog.

    Chinese Girl´s last blog post – Photo Baotou Genghis Khans Mausoleum4

    • says

      Hi – I am very excited about the Syntax Highlighting :-) I don’t think I can really move away from Notepad++ but this will make quick fixes a lot easier.

  2. says

    I will do an update, but only for security reasons. I won’t be using the theme update feature because I don’t think I will ever be able to use it. I’m sure it will come in handy for those who love to regularly change their themes.

    I also agree that logins being case insensitive is a step backwards and am confused as to why they would even include this.

    Sire´s last blog post – Tools To Help You Get Into The Top Ten Rankings Of Google

    • says

      Hi Sire – I really doubt I will personally use the theme updated – I just don’t work with themes that way – and for those of us who do a lot of customizing it could be very dangerous.

      I don’t know why the would do that with the logins either …

  3. says

    I am looking forward to doing the update because it’s the only thing I know how to do with the FTP and it gives me a giddy sense of satisfaction every time I successfully do it and the internet does not break.

    Heh, I just noticed “tags” under “add new” in posts. So I guess if I make an obnoxiously long tags for the humor, I could change the slug to be something more sensible for the URL? Is that good for SEO?

    Tracy´s last blog post – Beef Cheek Casserole

    • says

      Hi Tracy – LOL – There probably really isn’t all that much to do with FTP other than move some files back and forth.

      I’m not sure about your tag theory …

  4. says

    Have you tested out the beta yourself yet Kim? Like many upgrades, would it be wise to stay with 2.7 for a few months after 2.8 is released? Thanks for posting.

    Rick´s last blog post – Suspiciously Quiet

    • says

      Hi Rick – I haven’t personally tested it. I have no good reason other than lack of time and that my test server is really tied up with developing themes for 2.7.

      I don’t think it’s necessary to wait months but would wait a couple of weeks – I like to make sure there aren’t any major problems and that all my plugins are compatible.

  5. says

    Kim – This post is a testimonial to why the non-geekified should seek your talented help. The only thing that made sense to me besides the plugin thingie was the ability to see the sidebars on one page – no toggling! Yay!

    I am thrilled with the auto-upgrade thing and have used it before – dangerously and without backup as I am such a thrillseeker, but like Rick I wonder is it wise to wait a bit for troubleshooting to occur on someone else’s trouble?

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post – MOM, PATRICIA TAGGED ME!

    • says

      Hi Betsy – LOL at non-geekified ;-)

      It’s about time all the sidebar widget content is listed on one page – going back and forth was so tedious.

      I recommend waiting a couple of weeks – let the early adopters discover the bugs and give yourself time to make sure your plugins are compatible.

  6. says

    Thanks, Kim, this is really interestnig. Like your other readers, I am almost as hesitant about WordPress upgrades as I am about Windows upgrades. The last upgrade made one of my highly-desired plugins stop working. I’ve been ignored the nags to upgrade to 7.2.

    Someone used to work for said, “We want to be on the cutting edge, but not on the bleeding edge.” I tend to hang back let others be the guinea pigs.

    Dot´s last blog post – Auntie Meme

    • says

      Hi Dot – Even I wait a little bit. I like to know what the new features are
      going to be but I wait to find out if my plugins are compatible and to let
      others discover any possible bugs.

      I don’t mind the upgrades though – doing my own bore me but I like doing them for other people and I like fixing one’s that have gone awry – do I know how to have fun or what? ;-)

  7. says

    Well it’s always good to move forward with the progress the technology you use makes. I will have to agree with you on the case insensitiveness of the login credentials (i mean what where they thinking? windows? :P ). Anyhow though i guess we will all have to upgrade sometime. But one thing i am thinking right now is why did they release this as a major version (2.7 -> 2.8) instead of a minor one (2.7.1 -> 2.7.2) since most of the features aren’t actually biggies. Anyways, i guess it’s their versioning so they do as they please :)

    stratosg´s last blog post – Interview with Peter the “Sire”

    • says

      Hi Stratos – I know! I read it over and over to be sure that I was reading
      insensitive logins correctly – that seems like a step in the wrong direction.

      I’ve never been clear with WordPress versioning. I think the .1 upgrades are security only and full 2.7 -> 2.8 means new features. Based on my own logic I thought 2.7 should have been 3.0.

      • says

        Well i am not very familiar with their versioning but what i come up with is that the major ones have a gap of two. I mean check out 2.5 and 2.7 (which where really major with many things added) and the middle ones 2.6 and 2.8 which look like something a bit more minor. Now, as i said, it’s their versioning but as it seems they are not capable of delivering major changes within a 6 month period (something absolutely understandable) so if i was numbering i would call those middle ones minors. On the other hand they have a 6 month “commitment” as it seems so it fits them well. Anyways, we are not here to nag, we love the platform and the numbering is not an issue anyway (except that insensitive login). By the way i wonder if there’s going to be an option to remove it (for instance a checkbox on the settings) or am i going to have to do it manually :P Now that i said manually, i smell a new row of plugins for this one. Oh God!

        stratosg´s last blog post – Interview with Peter the “Sire”

        • says

          As I was reading your comment I was thinking – yep, there’s going to be a plugin to force the login to be case sensitive ;-)

          I hadn’t thought about the every other releases before – you may be on to something.

    • says

      Hi Vered – LOL – You have no idea what an influence you have on me – when I write these articles I hear your voice in my head. Granted, I don’t know what your voice sounds like but still … ;-)

  8. says

    I agree with Vered about the constant WordPress releases! I resisted going to WP 2.7 for over a month but glad I did, but enough is enough! I know I will give in an upgrade, but it probably wont do it right away.

    I know I wont use the theme management on my Green & Chic blog but I know it will come in handy with my personal one.

    carla´s last blog post – Make Green the New Wedding Color

    • says

      Hi Carla,

      Well it’s been 6 months since 2.7 was released … and 2.8 hasn’t been released yet so that’s not so bad.

      I don’t think I’ll ever use the theme management on my own site either.

  9. says

    The most useful thing for me would be the absolute date to schedule a post instead of the current 4 days from now or 5 days from now. That was too difficult for me to manage.

  10. says

    I hope it’s ok to ask a quick WP question here…slap me if it’s not. It’s about Comment Spam. Overall the askimet system works very good, but lately I’m getting more and more “sly” comment spam. The comment is always something like “Nice post, I will forward it” or “Good idea, thanks for posting”, but the link to their web site is clearly a spam site and the comment boxed and insincere. How or can I stop this type of comment spam? Thanks.

    Rick´s last blog post – Basic Computer Terminology

    • says

      Hi Rick,

      Absolutely not :-)

      I don’t really deal with those with Askimet. I have my discussion settings set to moderate someone the first two times they comment. I have to look at those manually but I can mark them as spam, which will hopefully save someone else from the headache.

      Another option is to use a captcha – personally, they annoy me but it tends to deal with the spam problem.

      Other spam plugins may handle the situation better but Askimet is the only one I’ve ever used.

  11. says

    Waiting for the final release.

    Off topic: Since yesterday I am having a problem with wordpress and google gears :-(

    Firefox crash when I upload an image. On wordpress forum they say its gears which is doing this. Now I had to disable it. Here with my stupid slow connection gears make things about 5 time faster.

    Kurt Avish´s last blog post – A Vampire Kid Born In Mauritius Wants To Drink Blood

    • says

      Hi Kurt – That stinks :( Did you update Firefox or install a new extension before the problem started happening? I wonder if a change in Firefox is causing the problem since it just started. I’ve never used Gears so I don’t have any practical advice …

      • says

        Nope. Didnt do any update :-( I saw on the wp forum thats its a problem in gears which is not handling some javascript.

        I have however reactivated it as it really speed up my dashboard. Now have to upload photos using the add new under media.

        Hope things will be fine soon.

  12. says

    i hate to laugh, but i don’t like the case sensitive thing either. if people can’t remember, turn in your computer. i like everything lowercase anyway, who uses caps?

    i’m still on wp 2.6

    Natural´s last blog post – I’m Not Dead, yet

  13. says

    I am doing a WP upgrade now (4 am), was tempted to move to 2.8beta.

    Thanks kim, for this detailed preview. I am glad that they finally did something about the widgets part.

    (Hope my 2.7.1 upgrade goes through :lol:)

    • says

      Hi Ajith – I hope your upgrade was successful too :-)

      It’s annoying to keep switching to the different sidebars so I’m really glad they are going to be on one screen.

  14. says

    Hey, Kim

    I never did upgrade to 2.7. Will his be a problem, as I’d really like to go to 2.8.

    and this…I ‘f someone can’t remember if their password has upper or lower case letters, then perhaps he shouldn’t be using WordPress or even a computer. ;-) ” lol !

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post – Another chance!

    • says

      Hi Jannie – No, it will be fine. You can skip versions when you do
      the upgrade. It’s only from some REALLY old versions that you have to
      do an in between upgrade. And hopefully no one is running a version of
      WordPress that is that old.

      You would not believe how much trouble I have getting the correct
      passwords from people ;-)

  15. says

    Cool. I’ll contact you about upgrading, best to leave it to the pro.

    And I am also wondering… you know how Barbara of Blogging Without A Blog has her blog set up so commenters who don’t yet have a Gravatar get her cute little default “books” image? I’m hoping I, as in YOU :) can set me up something like that? And I’ll supply the pic, of course, if we can do it. Whee-hoo!!


    Jannie Funster´s last blog post – Got Gravatar? No? It’s Easy!


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