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WordPress 2.6 – Mixed feelings

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If you keep up to date on WordPress releases like I do, you probably already heard about the latest version of this popular blogging software, WordPress 2.6. Released on July 14th, 2008, this new version is not meant to address newly-discovered security issues and vulnerabilities. Instead, WordPress 2.6 introduces a few new features that some may find useful.

One feature that I find very useful is the support for Google Gears which allows you to run Javascript in the background while you are using WordPress to speed up response and performance. As you may know, WordPress utilizes quite a bit of Javascript, especially within the dashboard such as within TinyMCE. Once you have Google Gears installed (click on the ‘Turbo’ link on the top-left of your Dashboard panel) you should notice that a few Dashboard tasks are sped up. Another useful feature I like is the ability to delete plugin files directly from your WordPress Plugins panel instead of manually doing so from an FTP client. Additionally, active plugins are separated from inactive plugins which makes for better organization.

However, that is probably as far as the major useful features go for me. My little peeve with WordPress 2.6 came about when I discovered (after already upgrading from WordPress 2.5.1) that this new version was not compatible with bbPress since new cookie-handling within WordPress 2.6 prevented proper synchronization with this forum software. [You may have noticed that before you upgrade you have to enter a few additional key statements (excluding the secret key) within your wp-config.php file.] This was very disappointing because my previous WordPress 2.5.1 had a perfect and working login integration with bbPress I was told that I could downgrade to WordPress 2.5.1, but I had given up by then since I was becoming impatient trying to create a custom theme for bbPress that matched the rest of the website. I just removed bbPress altogether.

Nevertheless, something good did come out of all this: I was forced to look for a forum alternative. I was looking for something light-weight but at the same time feature-rich and simple. I found WP-Forum, a forum plugin for WordPress which I had never heard about before. However, that and a few others had discontinued updating or had major security vulnerabilities that were left unpatched. I stumbled upon Simple Forum and after installing it, I must say that I am impressed! Why couldn’t bbPress be as easy to integrate? What also impressed me is that the latest version of Simple Forum works just fine under WordPress 2.6. Once activated and installed Simple Forum inserts itself as a separate page on your website that integrates quite well with the rest of your theme. One downside, however, is that since a lot more functions are being loaded for this integrated installation, a bit of a slowdown may be experienced. I hope this is not that major of an issue that it is quite noticeable.

So, WordPress 2.6 may have had a few unexpected and interfering features (note that some plugins will break), but it ended up leading me to search for something that I really needed. What are your responses to the new WordPress 2.6? Did you upgrade or are you staying with version 2.5.1?


Written by falcon1986

20 July, 2008 at 2:38 PM

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