WordPress 2.8 – Check Out the New Features

Aug 12, 2009

WordPress is becoming such a powerful piece of software, it’s hard to give a quick overview of its features.

Here’s the best overview of the new features in WordPress 2.8 that I have found.

WordPress 2.8 – Introducing New Features

WordPress version 2.8 introduces a ton of great new capabilities, in many cases incorporating things you used to have to install plugins to do. In version 2.7, it became possible to install plugins using the Dashboard – no more FTP required. Now in 2.8, you can browse and install themes the same way: directly from the Dashboard.

In both cases, you need to be using the “full”, “WordPress.org” version of WordPress on a third-party host. (You can’t add plugins or themes to WordPress.com sites.) And, to my knowledge, it’s not possible to install premium themes using the Dashboard. You still have to use FTP for those.

There are many more great features in 2.8. It is truly amazing that this software is free, and you can customize it any way you want.

One of the coolest features of WordPress version 2.8 is that you can now have more than one instance of the same type of widget in different sidebars. This makes widgets even more versatile than before. In fact, the possibilities are almost unlimited.

What do I mean? Well, as a simple example, consider the fact that you used to be able to add the “Blogroll” widget (now called the “Links” widget) only one time, into one sidebar. You could create multiple link categories and custom links for each category, but you could only have a single instance of those links in your sidebar, which displayed all the categories together. I have tutorials that show how to do this:
How to Make Menus of Links Using the Blogroll
How to Make Menus of Links Using the Blogroll – PART TWO
(These tutorials use an older version of WordPress – the now outdated v 2.3 – but the technique is still the same.)

Now in version 2.8, you’ll notice that you can drag the Links widget into the same sidebar more than once, and then select a different category for each instance. You can also put a Links widget into your second sidebar (if you have more than one sidebar), and if you have a theme that allows for different sidebars on different pages, you can have different custom links on every page! This is huge. (If you wanted to do this before v 2.8, you had to hack the PHP for your theme!) I need to do a video tutorial to show you how all this works, but if you try it, you will quickly see how powerful it is.

And that’s just one example using the Links widget. You can have multiple instances of any widget, not just Links.

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