There is no doubt about it, WordPress 3.0 represents significant step forward for WordPress with merging with WPMU adding custom post types and many more minor elements that you will notices as soon as you install it. But I feel that this major releases is rushed.
First important improvement that I was interested in was the fact that WP 3.0 requires less resources than WP 2.9. WP 3.0 Beta 1 uses some 20% less memory than WP 2.9. Speed has not really improved much, and some pages are faster while others are slower, but it’s good to see that after WP 2.7, 2.8 and 2.9 that constantly needed more resources, we finally see an improvement.
For last few years I work exclusively for WordPress, and I don’t plan to change platforms any time soon. All my plugins are either fully WP 3.0 compatible, or will be so before WP 3.0 is released (GD Press Tools 3.2 and GD Custom Posts And Taxonomies Tools 1.6 will be released soon).
Adding support for custom post types is the most important addition for WordPress. It allows you new level of freedom to create content for the website and not to make complicated queries to determine what posts are for what using custom fields or categories.
In the last few days I have expanded GD Taxonomies Tools to support custom post types (to be released in a day or two), and I am already building new section on this website for centralized documentation using custom types and my plugin. For the most part, it’s implemented OK, but there are some inconsistencies and some overlapping with custom taxonomies that should be ironed out (assigning custom post types to taxonomies and assigning taxonomies to custom posts, incomplete and confusing edit link feature), but overall, this is the most important thing WP got with 3.0.
Network / Multi site
Merging with WPMU is long overdue, and it works really good. I had no problems with it so far, and I hope that people who have to migrate their WPMU website to new WP3 will be able to do it without loosing data. Right now I have noticed problems with bbPress and deep integration in WP3 when network mode is on, and I expect too see new bbPress soon that will fix compatibility issues.
New default Theme
OK, I don’t know about you, but I simply hate new theme. I know that simplicity should be main thing for default theme, but there are many much better simple themes that could be included and improved to new WP3 standards and functionalities. When I have seen this new theme for the first time, old Kubrick started to look real good again.
I am not going through all the features added in WP 3.0, there are plenty of articles all over the Internet praising new version (and don’t get me wrong, WP 3.0 is very good, much better than previous releases), but I found none that actually points out what’s really wrong with WordPress, not only with this version, but wrong for a long time.
It’s fine if you have 15 categories and few hundred posts tops. But, what to do if you have 500 or more (deeply nested) categories and several thousands posts? Assigning categories to posts, changing things is so painful with current interface, at times almost impossible to do. We need some integrated management that will show all relevant elements on one screen (minimized if not used, widgets panel is good example of the organization we need), with drag’n’drop support.
But, that’s not only problem. WordPress is getting exponentially slower when number of posts start to grow. Some of the post update functions when used on large number of posts in the same time will likely crash your WP or eat up all available resources. Number of queries executed with any operation working with posts is huge, and works fine only if you work with post at the time.
I work on very large website for a client with now over 12.000 posts, and with 1000 new added each month, and every few days I have to write new code that will work on these posts with direct SQL queries, because using WP functions fails every time when things need to be updated. And website is on very fast VPS server.
Complete content management interface, and that includes post/pages/custom_post_types editors, taxonomies editors MUST be rewritten soon to allow flexibility and speed in management operations.
None of the WP grids (posts, categories, users…) don’t allow sorting!!! Too make things worse if you activate networks in WP 3.0, Site Admin grids are sortable, since they are moved here from WPMU. So, the code exists for that, but regular WP can’t use it. Rendering code for grids is not consistent, and it can’t be used for plugins, so if you are making plugin you need to copy table structure to make it look right. All the standard elements used need to be standardized and public so that plugin authors can simply extend base grid class and get own grid. Some WP elements are now turned into classes and Widget class is great example of that, but interface must be standardized.
I am working on GD Star Rating 2.0 right now, and I have made class for rendering data grid that is easy to use and reduces code needed and makes your code cleaner. And many plugin authors had to do this on their own.
Either make it right or remove it. They can be used if you have plugin with few files, all in root folder. But if you need to edit more complex plugin there is no way you can do that. Finding file to edit is almost impossible, and you need to manually type file paths in URL to get what you need, and that doesn’t guarantee that editor will allow you to edit that file. In WP 3.0 I even think that editor is more confusing than before.
I really expected that some of these things will be part of WP 3.0, and I think that WP 3.0 would be better off delayed until end of 2010, and to have enough time for these elements to be done properly. I don’t know what is planned for WP 3.1/3.2, but nothing is more pressing than adding proper content management. Without that WP will never get rid of the blog label, and people are not going to accept it as real CMS. Right now WP is stuck somewhere in between these two and much needs to be done for WP to realize it’s full potential, and just saying that WordPress is full CMS, is not making it so, there are still ways to go before that gets to be true.
Anyway, I am looking forward to official release of WP 3.0, and I will use as much of new things as I can, and I am still hoping that we are going to see real and radical changes to some very outdated WP features.