It won’t be available ‘til August this year, but some WordPress 2.6 features in development seem to be pretty nifty and worth the wait. If you want to catch a glimpse of the future, head on over to Chris Johnston’s demo site. The username is admin and the password is demo. Briefly, here’s what you can expect:
Gears. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Gears support. Some people expect that this means WordPress 2.6 will enable users to do offline blogging. However, it’s really there more to facilitating faster blogging by downloading static page content (like CSS, icons, etc) to the user’s computer. Since they will be locally available, there will be less server requests, which is great for people with slow connections.
Identicons. Administrators will have the ability to assign a default avatar from a wider range of choices, along with other options. One cool new addition is Identicons, a way to generate unique geometric avatars based on a commenter’s IP address. Let’s face it, even though Gravatars are fun, the vast majority of Internet users don’t have them, and having Identicons is a fantastic idea to bridge the gap. Look at the comments section of creator Don Park’s blog for samples.
wp-config.php. Soon, you’ll be able to move around wp-config.php up to one level above the WordPress installation. This fueled speculation that you may do multiple WP install using just wp-config.php file. We shall see.
“Press This” bookmarklet. This useful but under-utilized feature disappeared from WordPress with version 2.5, but it’s set to make a comeback in a big way. This bookmarklet can be used to “insta-blog” existing content on the Internet to make publishing faster and easier. Like if you saw a funny video on YouTube, a quick click on “Press This” will automatically configure a blog post with the embedded video. The same can apply to text and pictures. It will be interesting to see it in action, and it’s especially useful for live bloggers.
Post revisions. I tend to edit posts a lot, sometimes even long after they’re published (either because of typos, new updates, SEO tweaking, or just random stylistic revisions). If you’re anything like me, you’ll be happy about the upcoming post revisions management. And if you made a boo-boo accidentally deleting some parts, well, this feature can act like System Restore does in Windows. More details and screen caps here.
Word count. WordPress.com’s blogs enjoy the benefit of having a word count at the bottom of the post editor. It’s very useful for bloggers who have a word count quota to meet, or over-zealous ones that tend to ramble a bit (which happens to everyone at one point or another, I’m sure). This might just be added into the self-hosted WP 2.6 as well.
Checkbox selection. A nice usability improvement will be the ability to use Shift-Click in selecting/deselecting checkboxes for easier post, category, tag, page, comments and media management. Similar to Gmail in concept, choosing portions of a list for bulk editing becomes much faster. I’m thinking this will especially come in handy with comment spam, and thank goodness for that.
Of course, other than these, we’re all hoping for better security and closure with bug fixes. For a list of other things you can expect in this upcoming version, you can visit the WordPress Codex. At the current rate of 9% completion, it’s still a long way to go. Thankfully, I’m patient.