Here are a few words I’ve picked up from around the wordpress.com press – in other words, from the wordpress.com, WordPress, and WordPressMU developers and the WordPress Community, including news on the status and development of WordPress 1.6, the anxiously awaited new version of WordPress.
New Dashboard for the wordpress.com Community
Matt first announced new changes on the WordPressMU Dashboard, and Donncha showed off a screen shot of it. The code behind it was redesigned by Andy Skelton to feature the top blogs with the highest traffic from within the wordpress.com community, and the top posts from wordpress.com, again, the posts with the most traffic and probably some other criteria. We’re still waiting for details.
The technology that drives the new Dashboard score card is based upon Andy’s Blogs of the Day, software that collects and evaluates member websites to determine their traffic and rate them compared to other member sites.
Incoming links on the WordPress 1.6 / WordPressMU Administration Dashboard panel used to come from Technorati, but the time delay for culling those incoming links was slow. Matt announced that incoming links to the Dashboard will now be from the brand new Google Blog Search, which should improve things. Ah, by the way, incoming links are links to your site that may or may not show up in your trackbacks. It shows who is linking to your site.
A new administration bar was added a couple weeks ago which adds a narrow blue bar to your wordpress.com site when you are logged into your site. No matter which site you visit on wordpress.com, as long as you are logged in, the bar is there for you to access your Dashboard, Add a Post, and logout. It also helps you to recognize when you are visiting a wordpress.com community site, since you will see the bar at the top of the page you are visited. This is a nice feature and I hope it improves. I’ll be commenting on a few improvements I’d like to see in an upcoming post about the Administration Panels and Dashboard.
Improvements in WordPress 1.6 and WordPressMU
Donncha, the leading developer behind WordPressMU, reports wordpress.com image caching has been improved so images will load faster and if you try to load an image that is already there, it won’t let you. I hope the ability to see what you have on file already will be coming soon.
As mentioned in What You Need to Know to Design WordPress Themes for WordPressMU, there are a lot of holes in the WordPress Themes wordpress.com users have to choose from. Donncha explains that some of the missing elements, like the search form, have been added to the Themes that were missing them. I’m still waiting for common CSS elements like OL and DL to be added since these are not styled in many of the Themes.
In WordPress 1.5 and older, trackbacks were often short, only a line or two. I don’t know what changes have been made, but I’m finding the trackback “summaries” in the comments to be longer, giving more information around the link to explain what the person is writing about regarding your post. This is extremely helpful. Kudos on the improvements!
There were some bugs in the Feedster Feed for wordpress.com, but most of those seem to be fixed up and this is a great way to keep up with what is happening with users on wordpress.com.
A lot of work is going on behind the scenes to improve the import feature on WordPress to help people make the transition from whatever blogging service they have to WordPress. Word is trickling out that WordPress 1.6 will feature a built-in import content feature and Andy Skelton announces he’s added the “One Click Blogger Importer” to the next changeset of WordPress 1.6, another sign that faster and easier importing to WordPress is on the way.
Invites for wordpress.com are still being handed out, but only to a few lucky people a day. If you have signed up on the main page, then be patience. You will get your turn but it’s first come, first serve, with a little randomness probably thrown in for fun. Begging on other people’s sites for one of their invites may sound like a good idea, but they only get one
Volunteer and Help the WordPress Community
If you volunteer or are interested in volunteering to help WordPress grow, volunteers with extensive experience with WordPress, PHP, and CSS and Theme design are needed on the WordPress Support Forum. Information on getting involved and how to sign up are on the WordPress Codex.
The WordPress Codex will be soon undergoing some drastic improvements both in look and in form, as will the Forums. Already changes are underway, so stay tuned. Volunteers with good writing skills and familiarity with WordPress technology are needed to help fill in some gaps in the online manual. There is a list of things to do on the Codex and how to contribute to the WordPress Codex, and you can sign up by reading the guidelines and just registering and starting to dig in, and get even more involved with what happens on the Codex by signing up for the mailing list.
Hottest wordpress.com Post – More Server Porn
Oh, and let’s not forget that one of the hottest posts on wordpress.com is Matt’s post on More Server Porn, showing off the new Dell servers that will be helping WordPress sites like wordpress.com, WordPress Org, and others run solidly and securely. Just some porn for the techno server geek to tantalize.
The question of whether or not WordPress and wordpress.com will beat Typepad, MT, Blogger, and all the rest is still up for grabs. The competition is heating up as WordPress 1.6 driven wordpress.com improves on a daily basis, both visibly and behind the scenes. More fantastic things are coming our way. Just stay tuned and watched. Soon, all the top blogs on the web might be running the powerful WordPress under their skin.
Oh, and don’t forget, the contest is still on for a chance to be interviewed about your wordpress.com site by me on this site, helping to publicize your site and what you do with it. Spread the word!