A few months ago, I wrote an article on the “new” WordPress 2.6 release which had just come out.  I listed all of the features of the release, and gave some reasons to upgrade to it.  Now, five months later, WordPress 2.7 – a really great version – has been released.

While we were all just getting used to 2.6 (and getting frustrated at some of its problems), the WordPress team was working hard at improving their product even more.  The result?  WordPress 2.7.  I have to admit that of all of their releases, the WordPress team has really outdone themselves with this one.  Not only do I love the new sleek interface, but the usability has been improved so much from the previous version that everything just seems to “work” how it should.

Below I have listed and described some of this great release’s best features, in the hopes that all of you WordPress users out there will see the light and upgrade their installations.

1. Sleek New Interface

As I said before, this version has a sleek new interface that makes it extremely easy to use for the average Joe.  Not only does it look really awesome, but it gives users the ability to customize almost all of its elements.  For example, on the new dashboard, if you don’t like having the “Recent Drafts” box on the top of the page, you can just click and drag it around to a different place.  Or, if you want to get rid of it completely, you can click on the “Screen Options” tab and unselect the “Recent Drafts” check box to delete it.

That’s just a small taste of the new interface, and there’s a host of other features that I haven’t talked about, but if you want to see them all then you’ll have to install it and check it out yourself.

2. One-click Plugin Installation

Before this version, whenever you wanted to install a new plugin on your blog, you would have to go to the WordPress plugin database, download the plugin, unzip it to your computer, upload it to the server, and finally activate it on your site’s admin.  Now that has all changed.  To install a new plugin in the new version, just go to the “Add Plugin” page in your WordPress admin, find the plugin that you want to install, and press the “Install” button.  That’s it!  No more hassle with downloading/unzipping/uploading to the server.

3. Quickpress

Quickpress makes it easy for you to write a basic post right from your dashboard.  You can still have all of the necessities in the post – title, text, tags, and media – but it’s a lost easier to post a short article in a few minutes instead of writing a full-fledged article with all of the other things on the “Add New Post” page to distract you.

4. Keyboard Shortcuts

Moderating comments has never been easier.  Now, on the new comments page, you can edit your blog’s comments with just the press of a key – literally!  Press J and K to select the next/previous comment, press A to approve, S to spam, and D to delete the selected comment, and finally press U to unapprove, Q to “Quick Edit” a comment, and R to reply to a comment all from the same page.  You can also bulk edit comments by using the checkboxes next to each of them and pressing Shift+A to approve, Shift+S to spam, Shift+D to delete, and Shift+U to unapprove the checked comments.

5. Comment Threading

Comment threading is a more advanced way of keeping track of replies to other comments.  For example, say you went to your website and saw that someone had posted a question at comment #7, and that there were 60 other comments after it.  If you wanted to answer the question in that comment, normally you would have to just post a new comment after all of those other comments, and hope that the person who wrote the question would sort through all of the comments and find your answer.  That’s a pain, isn’t it?  Enter comment threading.  Now, instead of having your comment come after all of those 60 other comments, you can simply press the “reply to this comment” button on comment #7, and type in your answer.  Your comment will be posted right after the question, and the asker can just find his own comment again and see the answer right after it.

6. Automatic Upgrader

Another big hassle with previous versions of WordPress was upgrading to a new release of the platform.  You would have to go to http://www.wordpress.org/download/, download the new release, unzip it, and then follow the instructions at the Upgrading WordPress.  If everything went right (which, often, it doesn’t), then you would have the new version installed on your site.  Again, that is a big hassle, and the WordPress team knows that.  So they decided to make everything easier for everyone, and add an “Automatic Upgrader” feature to version 2.7.  So now, when future releases come out, all you need to do is click the “stay updated” link at the bottom of your admin page, and WordPress will do all the dirty work of unzipping/uploading the new release for you.  Pretty nice!

7. Lots of more new and cool features…

Here are some of the smaller features that I didn’t get to mention in more detail above:

  • Sticky Posts lets you make a post “stick” to the front page in front of all the other posts for a while (until you tell it to stop).
  • Theme Update API tells you when there is a new version of one of your themes, just like the Plugin API does.
  • Comment Paging so that you don’t have to have a super-long list of comments on a post.
  • Batch and Inline Editing is a feature that got left out of the previous version, but got put into 2.7.  It lets you edit posts/pages right from the edit page, without having to actually enter the “edit page/post” page.
  • Post Box Hiding for when you’re editing a post/page.

There are a few more features, but these are the best ones from my perspective.

I hope that after reading this article, you will strongly consider upgrading your WordPress installation to the new, sleek, cool, functional version 2.7.  And if you upgrade before January 4th of 2009, you will even have the option of getting in the Winter mood and having snow fall over all of your pages for a few weeks!  Now you have to upgrade.