Hot Off the (Word)Presses

Three news items about WordPress together seem to justify a post, especially given my intention to increase the quantity (and yes, quality) of posts here in 2011.

The first is about, which hosts this and millions of other blogs. The stats helper monkeys emailed me a summary of 2010 at Changing Way. They did the same for many others. Michael at TechCrunch and Constantine at Collateral Damage each hit the handy “Post this summary to my blog” button.

I’m wondering if every stats summary sent out showed reported that “The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.” Each of the links in the previous paragraph leads to a “Wow.” That doesn’t surprise me about TC or about CD, but it does surprise me about CW. I note that two of my five most viewed posts were about Lala, although only one of them was posted in 2010.

The other two items are about self-hosted WordPress. Version 3.1, Release Candidate 2, has just been, well, released. I should install it at one of my many blogs (how many do I have? I don’t know, but probably should) even though the new features seem more worthy than exciting.

Finally, if you’re running WordPress 3.0, you should install 3.0.4, a critical security release. Hey, that means I should go and do that very thing right now…

WordPress 3.0: Major Unobtrusiveness?

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.

WordPress 3.0: Twenty Ten as Default Theme

As I noted in January, WordPress is getting a new default theme: Twenty Ten. Over at WordPlay, where I’m playing with WordPress 3.0, I set up a blog to explore the new theme.

I just posted about how Twenty Ten does header images: IMHO, it does them right. I’ll soon add other posts on other features of Twenty Ten to that test blog.

I’ll also add more posts to this series on WordPress 3.0 here at Changing Way. Changing Way lives at, and so gets the 3.0 features as, when, and if they are folded into

Twenty Ten is biggish news for It’ll take over as default theme sometime soon, and it’s a significant improvement.

WordPress 3.0: Custom Post Types

In WordPress right now, a post is a post (which is different from a page). Version 3.0 allows the creation of custom post types. For example, if I want to use a WordPress blog to manage a course I’m teaching, I might have Lessons, Quizzes, and so on. In V3, I could create Lesson as a custom post type.

An excellent account of custom post types is provided by Konstantin Kovshenin. He makes the point that custom post types are about organization, rather than about functionality. I could, using WordPress 2.x, post lessons to a course blog, but I can organize things rather more neatly using the custom post types.

I have indeed added the custom post type Lesson to one of my test sites. I then added a lesson, and a regular post about what I had to do and some things that came up along the custom post road.

Most bloggers will never create a custom post type. The feature is interesting for the Thing Management Systems that can be built with it. For example, my lesson post type might be a step toward a Course Management System built on WordPress.

To get at custom post types from the dashboard, you have to install a plugin, and to really work with custom post types, you have to edit the WordPress PHP code. I’m not sure what plans are in place to make the feature more easily accessible.

Neither am I sure how custom post types will show up in My guess is that, if the feature shows up at all this year, it will be in the form of a few new post types (video, etc.), rather than as a dashboard option to add and manage new post types.

If you have better information, or any kind of different perspective on this, feel free to share in the comments. Next up in this series of posts on WordPress 3.0 will be something I’m sure will be in soon: the new default theme.

WordPress 3.0: Multisite Networks

WordPress 3.0 is due in May (i.e. next month) according to the roadmap at The Codex entry for 3.0 lists highlights, starting with new menu management.

This posts focuses on the highlights that come at the end of the list: “WordPress and WPMU code merged” and “Configure a Network (multisite/WPMU).” What does that mean? Well, right now, installing WordPress and creating a blog are pretty much the same thing. If you want another blog, you install WordPress again. If you have lots of blogs, you have lots of installations to maintain.

That’s where WPMU comes in. You can run multiple blogs from a single installation of WPMU. The MU stands for multi-user. I’ve always found that rather confusing, because you can have multiple users on a single WordPress blog.

So, starting with WordPress 3.0, you’ll be able to run multiple blogs from a single install of WordPress. Actually, in the terms introduced in 3.0, you’ll be able to run multiple sites, and the collection of sites is called a network. (If you want to read more about the change in terminology, see Dougal Campbell’s post.)

I just tried out the multisite network feature at First, I installed WordPress 3.0, beta 1. That didn’t give WordPlay the multisite capability. By default, and I think it’s the right default, a 3.0 installation supports exactly one blog. Enabling the multisite network feature is a distinct step, involving the editing of wp-config.php and other files.

It was then easy to create a second blog running off the same install. I now get to be… Super Admin! No, that doesn’t involve a costume. It means that I am the admin for the whole network, and am able to make changes to the whole network of blogs (I should rather say network of sites).

I can create new users for the network, assigning roles per user/blog combination. For example, the user watson is an admin for blog #2 in the network, but only a subscriber for blog #1. Similarly, themes can be enabled on a site by site basis.

Multisite networks is, for me, the most interesting new feature of WordPress 3.0, and the best reason for this release to get a new integer (i.e. 3.0 rather than That’s partly because I’ve always been interested in WPMU, and indeed used to blog about WPMU.

That said, I don’t think that the multisite feature of 3.0 will make much difference to, which is where lives. currently runs WPMU to host millions of blogs: now that’s multisite!

I’ll try out, and post here about, other features of 3.0. Next up will probably be custom post types.

WanderNote Launches, Seeks Pioneers

Once I found Evernote on my Android to be an excellent notebook, I started thinking about publishing some of the notes and snapshots I take with it. Publishing made me think of WordPress.

WanderNote is a web service for publishing… you guessed it, content from Evernote. Here’s my WanderNote blog. And here’s the main WanderNote About page, with content also provided by me.

Some of that content is an invitation to contact me about becoming one of the elite band of WanderNote Pioneers. Take a look, have a think, let me know if you want to get in to this early beta.

Dropbox Beta

The email I received earlier today said, “We’re excited to let you know you’ve been selected for the Dropbox Beta. Thanks for your patience (it’s been a long wait!)” It has been a long enough wait that I’d forgotten about Dropbox. It turns out that its the online storage and sharing service that got a lot of favorable coverage (e.g., at GigaOm) in April.

So I signed up, found that I have 10 beta invites to give out, and started looking at what Dropbox has to offer. If you want one of those invites, leave a comment here.

Since I thinking of starting a podcast series, I wondered it it was possible to share streaming MP3s via Dropbox. A search of the forum told me that the feature had been 2-3 months away 2 months ago; I just asked how far away it is now. I meant no offense to the Dropbox guys in asking that. Whatever the answer, Dropbox looks cool and useful to me.