After the release of WordPress 2.7 (you can read my review of that here), with the sleek new interface and one-click plugin installation,  you would think that WordPress couldn’t get any better.

It just did.

Say hello to WordPress 2.8, or version “Baker” as they call it, named after noted trumpet player and vocalist Chet Baker.  Living up to WordPress standards, there are many new features in this version, as well as over 790 bug fixes from the previous version.

Inline Theme Installation

In WordPress 2.7, a great new feature was released called “One-Click Plugin Installation”.  Now this same idea has come to the themes section!  No more do you need to download a theme, unzip it, upload it to your site, and activate it.  Now you simply browse the theme gallery right from the dashboard, pick the theme you want, and press the “install” button.  Bam – it’s up and running on your server!  No hassle with zip files or uploading.

Syntax Highlighting

Editing template files (via the file editor in the dashboard) used to be dull black and white.  Now, with the new CodePress editor, it comes to life with colorful syntax highlighting.

Widgets Improvement

Previously, editing widgets was a pretty big hassle.  If you had multiple sidebars, there was no easy way to get one widget from one sidebar to the other, and if you deleted a widget, you’d love all of its settings.  If you wanted to use that same widget again, you’d have to reenter all of the settings that you had before.

WordPress 2.8 fixes both of these issues.  Now you can see all of your sidebars on the same page (no need to edit, save, switch sidebars, edit, save) and drag and drop widgets between them.  Also, if you set up a widget just the way you like it, and want to save it for later use, you can drag it to the “Inactive Widgets” area.  If you need it again in the future, just drag it out from that area and into one of your sidebars.

Screen Options

The great new interface that was added in WordPress 2.7 gave you the option to drag and drop sections in the dashboard to suit your needs.  Now, WordPress 2.8 gives you many more options for customization.  Here are a few of them:

  • You can specify if you want 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns on the dashboard.
  • In the Posts and Pages sections, you can specify what info you want to be displayed, such as Author, Categories, Tags, etc.
  • Also in the Posts and Pages sections, you can specify how many items you want to display per page.

Speed Optimization

According to the WordPress.org blog, WordPress 2.8 is even faster than 2.7 due to optimized javascript and behind-the-scenes tweaks.  This means that the everyday actions such as approving comments, switching pages, and editing posts are even faster than before.

Conclusion

Taking into account the new features in WordPress 2.8 Baker, I would strongly encourage you to download it and give it a spin yourself.  If you already have 2.7, it’s as easy as pressing “Automatic Upgrade” in the admin.

As always, if you’re looking for information on the next version of WordPress (version 2.9), you can simply change the URL of the documentation from http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_2.8 to http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_2.9.  There’s not much there yet, but there will be pretty soon!

And be good, find the best hosting for your needs. I love 1&1 but there’s something for everyone.