First Hands on Dexter: Playing with WordPress 2.3

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WordPress 2.3 Announcement

As Matt announced only a few hours ago, WordPress 2.3, Dexter (named after another famous jazz musician) is officially available. I’ve spent the past hour or so playing with it, and though I would post my thoughts (especially in following up to my earlier thoughts a couple days ago).

WordPress 2.3 Update Call to Action ImageFirst impression: What a weird image to represent 2.3. Am I alone?

I downloaded WordPress 2.3 and upgraded my personal blog at As I’m not yet familiar with all of the changes, I would rather try it out on a less important blog before bringing it here to the Playground. In any case, I also upgraded to a new theme (Simpla, for those who are interested) and will probably be blogging about that one some time soon.

I’m Happy About…

First of all, I’m very happy with the automatic redirection and smart reconstruction of URLs in WordPress 2.3. This new feature is beneficial in two ways:

  1. If someone visits my site without putting the www. in front WordPress corrects it in the browser window. This also works in reverse.
  2. It also smartly corrects and directs users to posts based on partial references. I tried it out; typing half of a post’s URL in would take me there. Now, the address bar wasn’t updated when this happened, but I can live with that.

The new update notifications for WordPress and Plugins seems to work real well. As soon as I had everything back up and running a modest little space opened up at the bottom of the Plugins page to notify me that there was a new version available for one of my Plugins (Search and Replace by Mark Cunningham). I like how it works; my only concern might be that update notifications are posted at the bottom of the page and not towards the top. I am glad it doesn’t pop up all over the place, but it might be a little too easy to overlook where it is now.

Finally, the advanced post workflow system almost lived up to my expectations. As I read the descriptions of it my head overflowed with ideas for various projects I’m a part of, and how this new feature could really benefit our needs. Unfortunately, it’s a little less than I expected.

WordPress 2.3 Pending Review DialogSeen here, you actually have to select under Post Status
that you want to save the post for review. Yuck.

I was hoping to be able to set it so that a certain user level could post but that they would be held up in order to be reviewed by the administrator of the blog (me). But setting posts for review is a manual process, and one that is tucked away nearly out of view. This one is a big disappointment for me, as I was hoping to use it right away on a new church site I’m finalizing.

Maybe someone else would know whether this is possible, to require a certain user level’s posts to be reviewed first. It seems that all the systems are in place, it should just be a matter of turning the key in the right direction. Right?

…However I’m Not Thrilled With…

The added tagging still doesn’t impress me much. I still don’ see the advantage over using categories. And maybe I’m just bitter over change (it’s happened before) I’m not looking forward to how this feature is going to be abused. Can you say tag clouds? Lots and lots of tag clouds.

Example of tags in action in WordPress 2.3The above image was taken from the WordPress Codex, specifically the page that describes the additions in this new version. The image links to the Codex page of interest.

I do have to say, though, that there may be a light at the end of the tag tunnel for me; the example the Codex gives does seem viable to me. But I’ll need to think about it more before I decide whether to get excited or not.

Final Thoughts

I’m very impressed with the additions, overall, in WordPress 2.3. It sounds like the new updating schedule is working very well (Matt’s happy with it) and I’m excited to see the community’s response to this consistency. And I have to say I’m glad I update my personal blog’s version. The others I run will follow soon after, I’m sure.

On a side note, if you would like me to upgrade your version of WordPress to 2.3 (or any other for that matter) feel free to use the contact page to get in touch with me. My rates are reasonable and I do a solid job.