There have been a number of recent developments at WordPress which have proven that the company is as dynamic and fluid as it has ever been. Firstly, Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, announced the formal handing over of the WordPress trademark from Automattic (a for-profit company) to the WordPress Foundation, a non-profit organisation “dedicated to promoting and ensuring access to WordPress and related open source projects in perpetuity”.
This is in line with the ethos behind the WordPress brand of being an open and expressive community. The official WordPress blog announced that, “moving forward, the Foundation will be responsible for safeguarding the trademarked name and logo from misuse toward the end of protecting WordPress and preventing confusion among people trying to figure out if a resource is ‘official’ or not”.
In addition to the trademark handover, discussions have begun around the development of the next WordPress release, version 3.1, scheduled for December 2010.
Following the packed and impressive feature list released in version 3.0, WordPress die-hards have been eagerly waiting to see what’s coming next.
Judging from the discussions on the WordPress Development P2 blog, these are some of the features that are likely to appear in WordPress 3.1.
When linking to a page or a post within WordPress, you are able to simply type “/pagename” and, internally, the system will be able to find your page. This feature will, as I understand it, enable easy linking between internal content (eg: from one page to another, or a page to a blog post) without the need for a full URL to be inserted as the link. Talk amongst developers indicates that this is a favourite new feature for release in WordPress 3.1.
Improved integration between custom post types and taxonomies will take WordPress a step further towards becoming a fully-fledged content management system.
AJAX-ified Admin Screens
Perhaps no longer a buzz term, “AJAX” has become an almost de-facto standard in many Rich Internet Applications used today. So it makes sense to include it in the WordPress administration screens. While there are subtle areas where this has been done (comment moderation, for example), having all the screens functioning via AJAX would greatly speed up working within the system and could make for an overall richer user experience, as the screen would, essentially, not refresh.
The WordPress admin bar creates easy access links to areas of the administration (for example, the “New Post” screen) from within the website’s frontend, via a neat bar at the top of the window. While this could fall into the “plugin territory” category, it will most likely end up being an optional feature than can be enabled if desired.
Custom Post Type enhancements
The initial release of a new feature usually sparks off ideas for improvements. Now that the custom post types feature has been released, a list of possible enhancements is being compiled on the Development blog, to make the feature even better than it currently is. Ideas include opt-in archives for the post types as well as custom status values per post type. This has the potential to greatly expand the way data is stored and handled with these post types.
Advanced taxonomy queries
Advanced taxonomy querying is an area that has many developers in an excited frenzy. These queries could involve, for example, gathering all entries that are tied to a particular category and that aren’t tied to a specific post tag. While this is a relatively simple example, the possibilities become greatly increased as to the kinds of content relationships which can be created within WordPress (instead of posts which are simply tied to categories and tags, for example).
Post templates / Post styles
In the Twenty Ten theme, custom styles and layouts were introduced for blog posts listed in categories called “gallery” and “aside”. As I understand it, this was an attempt at creating different post styles and catering specifically for those types. Like Tumblr does it, custom post styles would eliminate the need for the “aside” and “gallery” categories, allowing posts to be treated according to style, rather than what category they are in.
QuickPress template tag
The QuickPress widget has become especially popular for posting short and quick posts directly from your blog’s dashboard. Why not move this form wherever you want it? The QuickPress template tag will allow developers to include the QuickPress form anywhere in WordPress, with a simple call of a function. Pretty self-explanatory, but very exciting for regular users of QuickPress, as well as users who are looking into themes that post from the front-end, like the popular P2 theme.
The above features have, as mentioned above, been pitched on the official WordPress Development Blog and are by no means set in stone. Which means there could be many other features and enhancements added to this release. As with every release, we can expect loads of careful attention being paid to the user interface, the user experience and the code maintenance. Then keep your eyes pealed for version 3.2, folks. That’s when the big additions will arrive.
For more in-depth reading on the above-listed features, read Jane’s post on the official WordPress Development Blog