For years, I’ve used two of the paid upgrades offered at WordPress.com: domain mapping and custom CSS. Domain mapping is the reason this is changingway.org, as well as changingway.wordpress.com. Custom CSS is the reason you see the date under the post title in small type, rather than large type, and the reason that the category names in the sidebar aren’t separated from each other by lines.
Those two upgrades came up fore renewal a few days ago. I renewed domain mapping, but not custom CSS. The main reason I didn’t renew custom CSS is that it no longer exists. It is part of the custom design upgrade, which also includes custom fonts, and is twice the price that custom CSS used to be.
I regret the passing of custom CSS, but there are a couple of reasons why the regret isn’t strong. One is that I understand that Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com, seem to be moving toward a simpler and more profitable menu of upgrades. The other is that my custom CSS is still in effect as of now. Perhaps it’ll stay in place as long as I don’t try to make further CSS changes. If so, I’m not sure whether that is by accident or design. Either way, I’ll take it for as long as it lasts, but may seek another (clean) theme if it goes away.
WordPress 3.0 is a major release due to features such as multisite networks, custom post types, a new default theme, and menu management options.
That said, I’m hoping that you’ll be able to upgrade to it without noticing much difference. To refer back to the four features mentioned above:
- Multisite, and hence the Super Admin stuff, is off by default, with edits to files such as wp-config required to turn it on.
- Custom post types appear as an option right at the foot of the admin menu sidebar, so they don’t get in the way, and might remain unnoticed.
- The new default theme applies to new blogs/sites, so you won’t see it if you’re just upgrading an existing install.
- Menu management, like custom post types, isn’t an obtrusive part of the admin interface.
It seems as though you’ll be able to upgrade to 3.0 without bumping into the new stuff, unless you want to. Put another way, WordPress 3.0 will let you shoot yourself in the foot, but you’ll have to take explicit steps to load the guns.
A few months ago, there was a topic in the WordPress.com forums in which the nature of the CSS Upgrade was clarified. The question was: what happens if you decide not to renew the upgrade?
To illustrate it using this blog: I purchased the CSS upgrade about a year ago, for $15. I had to decide whether to renew it. I learned from the above-linked forum topic that, if I didn’t renew the upgrade, my existing CSS edits would stay in place, but I wouldn’t be able to make further CSS edits without the upgrade.
What I learned then now turns out to be wrong. What actually happens is that although the CSS is ‘retained’ in the system… it is no longer displayed on your blog.
So: “Purchasing the upgrade entitles you to use Custom CSS on one blog for one year.” That’s what the Custom CSS page currently tells us. It used to tell us that “Purchasing the upgrade entitles you to edit CSS on one blog for one year.” The emphasis is mine. The old quote comes via Mark of Automattic.
I’m disappointed. That’s not because I feel forced to purchase the upgrade for another year. I purchased it before seeing that the rules have changed. I was thinking of making a few more tweaks to my custom CSS and then giving up the upgrade, but decided that I’ll probably want to make a few more in the coming year, and that it’s only $15.
No, I’m disappointed that we clarified the policy, were pleased with both the policy and the clarity, and now find that the policy is less favorable to users than we thought it was.