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The official blog post about the launch starts: “Arm your vuvuzelas: WordPress 3.0, the thirteenth major release of WordPress and the culmination of half a year of work by 218 contributors, is now available for download.”
The Vuvuzela mention is in reference to the love-hate, noisy instrument of the Fifa Soccer world Cup in South Africa that has attracted rapid, world-wide attention.
According to WordPress founding developer Matt Mullenweg, the 3.0 release also includes a “sexy new” default theme called Twenty Ten.
“Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies,” he says.
WordPress says the Twenty Ten theme shows all this new functionality off.
Mullenweg will be jetting into South Africa in August this year to no doubt speak more about WordPress 3.0 in person at the upcoming Tech4Africa conference in Johannesburg.
He says a key development of the new WordPress release is the “long-awaited merge” of two major WordPress versions, a multi-user version and single-user version.
This creates new multi-site functionality which makes it “possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation”.
There’s a new “lighter interface” and contextual help on every screen. The new release also comes with 1 217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so that users can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click.
According to Mullenweg, the growth of the WordPress community has been “breathtaking”, including over 10.3-million downloads of WordPress version 2.9, the version before 3.0.
He says that over the next three months the WordPress team are “going to split into ninja/pirate teams focused on different areas of the around-WordPress experience, including the showcase, Codex, forums, profiles, update and compatibility APIs, theme directory, plugin directory, mailing lists, core plugins, wordcamp.org… the possibilities are endless.”
For more in-depth coverage about the new WordPress features, read: WordPress 3.0: Unpacking the features