WordPress users might be wondering whether they should upgrade to the new WP 2.5 release candidate. There are lots of assessments so far, and most seem to be either neutral or negative. I used it early this week at one client’s site, who immediately did an upgrade. First impression: dislike the admin panel. Then just to test, I installed WP 2.5 on one of my own sites this afternoon. I’ve spent the past few hours tonight, screaming with disappointment, scaring my cat. Here’s why:
These are some specific WP 2.5 issues that I’ve encountered tonight, while testing an installation.
- Admin panel. I really dislike the new admin panel. They took a familiar layout, changed it, and even changed the names of some of the most important links. Why? There’s absolutely no reason for this. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
- Manage panel. The Manage panel is now missing important post information, which is now all hidden. So if I want to publish a whole whack of posts in sequence, it’s a right pain in the behind. Actually, it’s worse – read on.
- Write panel. I despise the new Write panel. Not only has it been completely rearranged when it didn’t need to be ( and not very well), some of the features don’t work properly. It’s bad enough that the timestamp feature has been buried, but I also can’t seem to manually change the time stamp. I change and save the timestamp, but the Manage panel has buried timestamp info. When I mouse over the “x minutes ago” nonsense, I see the wrong timestamp. It gives me the real timestamp when I made the last edit. Again, they fixed something they shouldn’t have and made it worse.
- Write/ Save. If you publish a post then edit later, when you “Save”, the session does not close. They’ve removed the “Save and continue editing” button and changed the functionality of the “Save” button. Another huge mistake. If the functionality I want/need is still there, its not very evident. I figure that as an experienced WP user, it should be easier, not harder, for me to upgrade to a new version.
- Custom fields. I’ve wasted two hours on one project, thanks to the absolutely unreliable behavior of “create custom fields”. It’s taken me hours to enter fourteen posts, each of which has 6-20 custom fields. But every time I “Publish” a post after creating and entering all the custom field information, every single field expect the last one I created disappears into the ether. I can’t express how pissed off I am about this. I have another 200 posts to add, and now I have to uninstall WP 2.5, manually upload an older version, set it up, then start this project all over again.
- Drafts. Every time I create a new post, there are a multiple draft versions created, whose existence seem to have no relation to any activity on my part. What’s more, there are two types of drafts. I get one single draft that has the post title correct, but it’s in addition to my published post. Then there are anywhere from 3-5 drafts whose title is created from a timestamp. If this is happening automatically, there is hopefully a way to turn off this irritating behavior. I just haven’t found it yet. I just can’t fathom any reason for this useless feature. This is not the right way to do versioning. Now, I have to waste my time deleting multiple drafts for every single post I create.
These are general points about WP 2.5.
- Automattic fixed things (features, links) that really didn’t need fixing.
- An experienced user like myself has some expectation that the interface of the software I use daily doesn’t get chewed up and spit out in a completely unintuitive manner – and actually functions properly.
- Most of the other new user features don’t interest me, with the exception of multi-image upload and auto-update of plugins (provided that my hosts support the latter).
- I was excited about some of the developer features – such as shortcodes – but give the monstrous figurative headache WP 2.5 has given me, I have no intention of wasting my time. If I can’t expect simple features to work properly, why should I waste my time with advanced features?
Automattic, you seriously dropped the ball on this. WordPress 2.5 is an enormous disappointment in the simplest of features. As an experienced (but retired) programmer, I can say with confidence that you don’t release significant interface changes in mid-version software. People that are expecting minor fixes might be shocked. V2.5 should have been renumbered to V3.0. If it had, more people might think twice before making a “big jump” from 2.x to 3.0. I’m so glad that I didn’t install WP 2.5 on a production site, but I do have to use it on several client sites – something I don’t relish.
You’ve now lost one of your most active WordPress evangelists (see 28 Ways to Use WordPress Custom Fields and 48 Unique Ways to Use WordPress). (I’ll still continue to write about WP in general.) I’m a freelancer and time is money. There’s only so much time I have available to waste on new software that violates general development principles. It seems, then, that my several dozen sites will not be upgraded for a long, long time.
For those of you that have taken the plunge and upgraded to WP 2.5, what has been your experience so far?