WordPress 2.7 coming tomorrow
It's a bit behind schedule, but WordPress 2.7 is due out tomorrow evening. Automattic, the company behind the popular blogging platform put out the first release candidate version of WordPress 2.7 just a few days ago, but a beta version has been available for the last few months.
WordPress 2.7 represents a huge shift away from earlier versions of WordPress - at least in the administration area. Most of the changes will be visible to bloggers, but not blog readers. But the changes in the admin area are huge. First, the navigation menus have all been moved to the left side of the screen, giving you more room at the top of the page. The submenus are all also collapsible, which allows you to navigate the administration interface without reloading the page as often.
You can also customize the admin area by dragging, dropping, adding, or deleting widgets like the Right Now screen which gives you an overview of your blog stats or the QuickPress widget which lets you create a post using a stripped down WYSIWYG editor right from the start page.
WordPress 2.7 also lets you search for and install plugins without leaving the admin area. And for the first time, an automatic upgrade tool is included in WordPress so you can upgrade to WordPress 2.7.1 or 2.8 or whatever new versions are on the horizon without having to fire up an FTP client.
The upgrade tool also means that if you just can't wait until tomorrow to try out the new version of WordPress you can install the release candidate today and initiate an automatic upgrade tomorrow. For some reason WordPress still does not provide a simple way to backup your database before upgrading though, so you may want to install a third party plugin to backup your data before upgrading just in case something goes wrong.