Review: WordPress 1.5

First of all I’d like to say congratulations to Matt and the rest of the WordPress development team on a fine job with WP 1.5. Earlier tonight I happened to be checking my email when a few changes came in to the CVS mailing list. The latest change had the log message of “*cough*” and I was curious. I scanned down the email message and saw “$wp_version = ‘1.5’;”. That made it official, although I don’t think they’ve made a formal announcement yet. I jumped on over to AIM and sent Matt a congratulations message. He quickly asked if I wanted to test out the first build. HELL YES!

What you see is what you get…and so much more. Currently the site is using the new default theme, which is Kubrick. Much better than the old theme. If you actually liked the old theme, it is included as a “classic” theme choice.

Ok, lets get on with it…

When I logged into the admin interface for WordPress 1.5 I have to admit that I barely recognized it. It has gone through a major overhaul. I’ll start my way from the left hand side of the admin menu.

  1. Dashboard

    This is a quick glance at some very useful information. The last 5 posts and the last 5 comments are displayed with links directly to them. Next are some stats about the number of posts, comments, and categories in your installation. After that comes a list of incoming links, pulled from Technorati.

    The bottom half of the dashboard contains the most recent posts from the WordPress development blog, a long list of items from WordPress Planet, and finally a list of your drafts at the bottom.

    *NoteThere aren’t actually two halfs like I had first though (old CSS was cached). The “first half” is actually off the the right side like a sidebar and the “bottom half” is the main content. Very nice!

    It’s a great addition to the admin interface and provides a lot of information quickly.

  2. Write

    The write section now has two options Write Post and Write Page. The first is just as you might expect and have always used in previous versions of WP. This is where you type out your posts. If you use the simple controls, I believe it’s very similar to how it previously was. The advanced controls option has gone through some changes though. Some of the items have moved down to a separate Advanced section of the page. I like it because everything is together now. In previous versions there were option items at the top and at the bottom. It was a bit confusing at times.

    So what is Write Page? This is a spanking new feature that WP 1.2.x never had. It allows you to create pages and manage them with WP. Now its easier than ever to have an about page, a contact page, a links page, etc. There are a few options when writing a page, but I’ll have to play around with it before I know what it all does. I’ll definitely be getting rid of my actual pages and setting them up through WP over the next few days.

  3. Manage

    This is where you can go in and edit posts, pages, categories, comments, and files. You also can take a quick look at any comments that are awaiting moderation. Pretty self-explanatory, but a nice way to access everything.

  4. Links

    This section pretty much speaks for itself again. Your options are Manage Links, Add Links, Link Categories, and Import Links. They all do just what you’d expect. I didn’t notice much different here.

  5. Presentation

    Now this section is new. I had never seen it before. Your main options are Themes or Theme Editor. From the Themes page you are told which is the current theme and you can switch to another theme. The Theme Editor allows you to modify any of the files in a theme, as long as you have given the files the correct permissions on your web server.

    So what is a theme? Themes are probably the most exciting addition to the new version of WP. Think of it as a template system. In previous versions of WP, there was an index.php file and wp-comments.php which was included when viewing a single post page. With themes, everything can be broken out into separate files. As an example here are the files included with the default theme:

    • 404.php
    • archive.php
    • archives.php
    • comments.php
    • comments-popup.php
    • footer.php
    • header.php
    • index.php
    • links.php
    • page.php
    • search.php
    • searchform.php
    • sidebar.php
    • single.php
    • style.css

    As you can see, WP is very customizable now. An archive page can look different from the main page. A single post page can be different than a page listing several posts. This feature is going to get a lot of use by everyone.

  6. Plugins

    The first option here is Plugins, which is a page detailing all of the plugins that you have installed. You can activate or deactivate them easily. The other option is Plugin Editor, allowing you to edit any plugin files that you’ve given the correct permissions to.

  7. Users

    Nothing too exciting here. You can access Your Profile or Authors & Users. In Your Profile you can update any of the settings pertaining to your WP user account. Authors & Users allows you to view all of the accounts and add new ones.

  8. Options

    This section is where you…well, uh set all of the options. The first choice is General, which includes such things as weblog title, tagline, URI, e-mail address, and the date/time. Next up is Writing with some choices for advanced/simple controls, blogging by email, update services, and a few other things. Third we have Reading which has a pretty basic set of options to set for blog pages and syndication feeds.

    The 4th choice is Discussion and is the most useful of the bunch. We’ve all been hit by comment and trackback spammers, so this is where we attempt to take back control of our blog. This set of options has some great new settings. Here you set the default discussion settings for a post (or article as the page calls it), whether to send e-mail about comments and when to moderate comments. In addition there is a place to put in words that you want to flag for automatic moderation. If WP finds one of these words in a comment, it won’t appear right away. Below that is a new Comment Blacklist section. “This is a list of words that you want completely blacklisted from your blog. Be very careful what you add here, because if a comment matches something here it will be completely nuked and there will be no notification. Remember that partial words can match, so if there is any chance something here might match it would be better to put it in the moderation box above.” Very cool, but also very dangerous.

    The last two options are Permalinks and Miscellaneous. Permalinks has gone through a few changes due to the fact that the option for pages has been added. The list of rules is much longer than it had been. This page also can write directly to your .htaccess file if you give it the correct permissions. The Miscellaneous section has your file upload settings along with options to track the update times of your link lists and to turn on support for the old my-hacks.php file.

  9. Upload

    This section is where you can upload images or other files for use in your posts. It doesn’t look like anything here has changed. One thing I would have liked to see here is when you upload a file and have a thumbnail created, it should return the code to use the thumbnail as an image linked to the full size image. Instead it gives you code for the full size image without any link.

  10. Logout

    Last but not least is your option to logout of the administration.

That’s the admin interface in WordPress 1.5. I haven’t really had a chance to look at the changes to the code yet, but I’ve been sneaking a peak here and there through the CVS mailing list. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:

  1. There are a lot more hooks and filters. Great for plugin creation and customization.
  2. The is_* functions. Also great for plugins and customization. These include such things as is_single, is_home, is_day, and is_category. Neat little functions to tell which type of page you are on.
  3. Many, many, many bugs have been squashed.
  4. Code cleanup galore.

I’ll have more as the days go by, especially after I get my feet wet. Over the next week or so I plan to update all of my plugins, come out with an archiving theme, and redesign MtDewVirus.

26 Replies to “Review: WordPress 1.5”

  1. Nice review. One thing I’d add is 1.5 offers the ability to confine all comments to registered users. If one cares to do that. The setting can be found in the Options -> General tab under Membership.

    Hooray for WordPress 1.5 … nice job!


  2. Wow! Very nice review you’ve written!! I’ve just installed 1.2.x a few days ago, but I’m thinking to upgrade to 1.5 soon. I like the PAGES function. I was actually thinking to use Xoops but WP 1.5 seems much easier to use. I’ll be looking forward the updates!!!


  3. @trendsurfer,

    Yes, you are right. I saw that option. A very nice addition. Personally I won’t use it because I believe it would prevent some legitimate people from leaving comments, but I bet quite a few people will use it.


  4. Hi there

    I used to use your ‘recent comments’ plug in, which I really liked. This appears to no longer update in WordPress 1.5. Do you have any plans to upgrade it at all?



  5. @petite

    I’m surprised it doesn’t work, but yes, I will be updating all of my plugins. I’m working on a new theme for my site and after that’s done I’ll be working on all of the plugins.


  6. Hi,

    Just wanted to let you know that mysteriously it did start working after I unticked a couple of boxes in the options/discussion page. However, as I am having more generalised problems with my comments (all comments appearing as anonymous, for example) I am probably not a very good test case for your plugin as I must have far deeper problems!



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