WordPress 3

Most of the new sites we build use WordPress. It’s a fast and flexible system meeting the needs of 90% of our clients whether it’s a user-generated-content site or a client’s main web site. The templating system is joy to work with turning the most difficult of client ‘requests’ into a few lines of code.

WordPress lacks the document management and workflow functionality that enterprise CMSs boast but these features aren’t necessary for most of our clients.

WordPress 3 Release Candidate is now available boasting a couple of features we’re going to find very useful:

  • Custom post types
  • Custom menus

The single site and multi site versions of WordPress have also been merged. I doubt this will have  a big effect – we’re not suddenly going to change single site installations to multi-site installations.

Custom Post Types

It’s straight forward to add extra fields to a post or page. What happens, though, is that we add a field for every possible eventuality leaving a nightmare for the poor editor to figure out which field to use for what purpose. Custom post types mean that we can define some posts just to be podcasts – containing, say, the podcast and a title; another type to be a World Cup fixture with two teams, a date, commentary and betting odds and so on. For our retail clients we can have post types that are product pages with photos, descriptions, fields for specifications, dynamic stock level, and so on. This feature is going to halve the number of custom builds we do.

Custom Menus

There are times, when reviewing a WordPress site with one of my developers, we get to the menus and I feel like closing my eyes and humming a tune to myself to block out the potential disasters this round of menu hacks could cause.  The client wants pretty customised menus, we deliver, and just hope they don’t change the Greek translation of a category without updating the menus. Again. This is based on Woothemes custom menus which have been incorporated into the WordPress core. Kudos to Woothemes for allowing this. We’ve bought more than a few themes from Woothemes: they’re excellent value, very well designed and perfect for some of our smaller projects. Custom menus allow you to add selected categories, posts and pages into the menu. There’s even a widget to add menus to the sidebar.

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