Sometimes it’s fun to watch an online platform take hold of popular imagination, and move from relative obscurity to a market leader. Only two years ago WordPress languished in the midst of a myriad of blogging services and software, with Google’s Blogspot having the majority of users, then they made a smart move – offering the code as open source to developers; providing a straightforward method to create compatible Themes and Plugins, and turning it into a full content management system.
The users, designers, content managers, and developers who have since contributed to the code, Themes and add-ons have ownership – they like to showcase their contributions, share with others and collaborate on what is a worldwide, communal effort. Free, open source and non-profit can equal success.
Since then the self hosted WordPress program has moved from version 1.8 to the current 2.92, and now all of us eagerly await the full release of 3.0! For those who can’t wait the Beta release of WP 3.0 is now available for download and the features look promising.
So what’s the Buzz with 3.0?
The most interesting leap will be combining the current single website WordPress (one theme, one blog etc.) with WordPress MU, or multi-user. This could have a profound effect on how WP is utilized, especially for organizations such as schools, government bodies and groups who can benefit from a single administration interface supporting multiple subjects and individually themed websites.
A simple example is this blog cum website. I put www.wrightresult.com on WordPress as a showcase for clients, and also to blog about subjects of interest – which are many. However, thematically it would be better to post about local politics and news under a different style or even blog title, and keep the main website for topics such as design, marketing etc. With WP MU it should be possible to run multiple blogs, with individual styles, without having to set up a new website.
Another feature I look forward to playing with is Custom Post Types.This could get very interesting in the future if selected featured and fully compatible plugins are incorporated into the base interface. We normally think of a blog as being written articles – often with graphics: but there are users who podcast, video blog, and photostream (or all the mentioned styles). As Konstantin puts it in his kovshenin.com blog:
Why would we want to play around with custom fields, or add stupid meta boxes in the Edit Posts page and then teach our clients and/or content managers to use them? Why not just get rid of all those stuff and have them seperately in your main menu, and the meta boxes are customized to match the exact needs of certain post types…
So what else could be done with WordPress’ Custom Post Types? Well, basically anything. Say you run an online store which of course has some static Pages (such as Contact, About, etc), some blog Posts, cause we’re so 2.0, remember? And Products, which would be a custom post type that contains the product name, description, product price, stock availability, and could even contain inquiries in forms of user comments!
If you have server space (maybe a test domain) to play with WordPress 3.0 Beta you can download the .ZIP file and have some fun.
The fully functional 3.0 release is expected for early May – so get ready to update!