Exciting new features for developers in WordPress 2.8

Update: WordPress 2.8 is out now. Update at your earliest and enjoy :)

WordPress 2.8 is tentatively scheduled to be released on June 10. Even though there are no major new features, there are certain features that will be exciting for WordPress developers like me :) grey-l

I am listing out some of them below.

Custom Taxonomies

WordPress 2.8 is going to support custom taxonomies in addition to the three built-in taxonomies category, tag and link_category. I am very excited about this, because when a new taxonomy is added, WordPress 2.8 will automatically add meta boxes in the Write Post page and will also add new Admin menus to handle them. Justin Tadlock has written article where he describes custom Taxonomies in detail.

New Widget API

There is going to be a new and improved API for writing widgets in WordPress 2.8. Right now creating widgets, especially multi-instance widgets is complex.

In WordPress 2.8, there is going to be a new class called WP_Widget which will abstract most of the complexity involved in creating widgets. This new class supports both single and multi-instance widgets. Justin Tadlock has also written an excellent guide which explains how widgets can be created using the new widget API.

Enhanced code Editor

The Plugin and theme editors have been enhanced tremendously. They now have support for syntax highlighting and function lookup. Personally, this is a great news for me because I edit most my Plugins using this editor and syntax highlighting will surely help me to do it quickly.

wordpress-plugin-editor

Promotion to migrate to PHP 5

Even though WordPress 2.8 will continue to support PHP 4, the automatic upgrader will suggest those running PHP 4 to switch to PHP 5. It will also link to a Codex page describing how to switch for various hosts should be provided. At last there are symptoms of light at the end of the tunnel ;)

Authentication more pluggable

Even though the support for oAuth has been moved to 2.9, the initial steps towards the integration have been done and now the authentication code of WordPress is more pluggable.

SimplePie in core

SimplePie, the well know PHP library for RSS parsing is going to be included in the core. This is going to be great news because, this will make available the power of RSS parsing to all Plugins without installing the SimplePie core Plugin.

Loading JavaScript in footer

The high performance website rule states that we have to push JavaScript to the footer for better performance. WordPress 2.8 now makes it possible for Plugins to specify whether a script should be included in the header or in the footer. Isn’t that exciting? ;)

Other minor exciting features

In addition to the above major features, WordPress 2.8 also has the following features which may be of interest to developers.

  • Filters for AIM, Yahoo, and Jabber IM labels, in user profile, so that, they can be changed via Plugins.
  • New hook “after_db_upgrade”, which you can use to add upgrade functions for your Plugin.
  • Added support for blocking all outbound HTTP requests via Plugins.
  • Ability for a Plugin to control how many posts are displayed on edit pages.
  • Support for proxy. Helpful, if your installation is in an intranet.
  • Menus can be reordered via Plugin

Update libraries bundled with WordPress

The following are the libraries (with their version numbers) that are updated in WordPress 2.8

  • TinyMCE – 3.2.4.1
  • jQuery – 1.3.2
  • Jcrop – 0.9.8
  • pclzip – 2.8
  • PHPMailer – 2.0.4
  • SWFUpload – 2.2.0.1

I am pretty excited about WordPress 2.8 and eagerly waiting for it. If you want to get your hands dirty with it right now, you can try out WordPress 2.8 Release candidate 1.

Update: WordPress 2.8 is out now. Update at your earliest and enjoy :)

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