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WordPress 2.8 had been released at 10th June 2009. There are a lot of add on features and improvements in this version. It is good for WordPress users to upgrade to the latest version. Today, we are going to summarize some of the important features and also something that you should read/consider before you upgrade to the latest version.

Before you upgrade

There are two criteria that you need to consider before you upgrade your WordPress to the latest version.

1. Plugins Compatibility

This is the most important thing that you need to consider before upgrade your WordPress to 2.8 version. We use a lot of plugins for our WordPress blog. At least some plugin to improve our SEO, right? If your plugins are not compatible with WordPress 2.8, it may crash the whole blog! WordPress 2.8 Codex does provide us a checklist that list out plugins that have been tested for compatibility with WordPress 2.8.

Besides the WordPress codex, BraveNewCode also provide us a WordPress Plugin Compatibility Checker that has more details about the requirements for each plugin. Currently, the list contains around 5040 plugins. Below is the screenshot for the list.

wordpress-plugin-compatibility-checker-checklist

If your plugins are not listed in the list, you better contact the plugin author before upgrade your WordPress.

2. Themes Compatibility

After make sure your plugins are working fine, you can then proceed to check your theme whether it is compatible with WordPress 2.8. Most probably your theme will be compatible with WordPress 2.8, except it comes with a lot of features that use wordpress action hooks and filters extensively. You can proceed to check your theme compatibility by visiting the WordPress Codex.

For those who are using premium/custom theme, you may need to consult the theme author.

After you upgrade

If you had already make sure your plugins and theme are compatible with WordPress 2.8, then you should upgrade your WordPress and start enjoying the cool features that it brings to us. Below we will look into 8 main improvements of WordPress 2.8.

1. Theme Installer

WordPress 2.7 adds Plugin Installer, which make installing plugins very quick and easy. In WordPress 2.8, this feature come to Theme Installer.

theme-installer

You can find a theme base on its specific features such as colors, columns and width. You can upload your custom theme through the built-in uploader or browse the theme gallery from the new Theme Installer. WordPress 2.8 also adds the ability to install themes with a single click.

2. Better Themes Management

In the previous version, you have to click on the particular theme’s screenshot and then the “activate” link in order to activate the theme. That means, you have to preview the theme before you activate it. However, the preview sometimes get stuck because of plugin not found or incompatible, which makes activating the theme impossible!

Now, with the brand new Themes Management System, you can easily activate/preview/delete the theme by using the links provided.

better-themes-management

3. Better Theme/Plugin Editor with functions lookup and syntax highlighting

If you had been using the previous built-in code editor, then you will know how much improvements had been done to it. Take a look at the new code editor before we proceed:

wordpress-28-code-editor

As you can see from the screenshot above, we have syntax highlighting and functions lookup now. The functions lookup will point you to the WordPress documentation. ( not WordPress codex!)

4. Edit Comments In Individual Post Section

edit-comments-in-individual-post-section

In WordPress 2.8, we are able to view and edit comments while we are editing the post. The comments are placed in a separate box, which by default is under the Discussion box. You can easily approve, unapprove, spam, delete. edit. and reply the comment without leaving your post.

5. Better Tags Management System

better-tags-management-system

WordPress 2.8 has a better Tags Management System. Just like the Categories Management, you can add/edit the Tag name, Tag slug, and Tag description. The main difference within 2.8 and previous version is the add-in Tag description, which make it acts like a category.

6. Improved Widgets Management UI

improved-widgets-management-ui

There are not much changes on the widgets management. The first thing that it impressed me is the new UI. Now, the widgets management will list out all the sidebars, where the previous version require us to select from the drop-down list. It is better in terms of user-friendly and usability

Besides this, the new widgets management also adds a box called Inactive Widgets, which is the place where we put our widgets aside, but still want to keep their settings for future use.

7. Timezone selection and Daylight Savings Time

timezone-selection

In the previous version, you have to manually update your timezone for Daylight Savings Time. In the new version, you just have to select the city in the same timezone with you, and WordPress will automatic update the DST for you. This feature require PHP 5.1.0.

8. Finally, a better Screen Options

better-screen-options

The new screen options adds a layout selection, which you can choose number of columns that you want to be shown.

Some Resources for Theme/Plugin Developer

Below are few links which maybe helpful for theme/plugin developer: