What are the important parts of the new 2.2 WordPress release coming to a blog near you? Aaron has the rundown in his post: “10 Things You Should Know About WordPress 2.2”. The newest version of WordPress 2.2 is available for download today!
I spoke to my editor last week and even though I submitted my final chapters for WordPress for Dummies a month ago, I will be getting the entire book back within the next week, or two, and get to see how much they’ve edited,
slaughtered cut, re-arranged and corrected in the 19 chapters that I submitted, overall. Plus, I get the chance to update the information provided in the book to make sure that it is as up to date as possible when it does finally go to print. I have to give a big shout out to Aaron Brazell for helping me keep up to date on all the latest and greatest development pieces. While writing the chapters – – it was difficult to juggle all of the information . . . and every once in a while, Aaron would put a small bug in my ear about new functionalities, bells and whistles planned for the next release of the WordPress platform. For this, I will buy him a beer (or 4) whenever I happen to run into him.
It’s funny, though – with a program like WordPress, I think it’s virtually impossible to have a book that is 100% up to date with every single little bit of functionality included because WordPress is on a 120-day release schedule. A new book would have to be written and released every 120 days to keep up with the flow of development!
In the very beginning of this book project, this stressed me just a bit. I was very worried about the relevancy of the book once it hit the shelves. Would the book I wrote look anything at all like the software I wrote about once it was published and on the shelves?? Will the book be completely obsolete on its print date? Will the readers get frustrated with the lack of information regarding the new bells and whistles that WordPress has to offer? All legitimate questions – and ones that kept me up at night in the first few months of writing it.
During the entire process, however, it finally dawned on me. It’s a Dummies book. Ya think I would have known that from the title, eh? I needed to rearrange my thinking when it came to WordPress. This is not a book for developers. This is a book for people who are new to WordPress and want to use it to set up and create a blog for themselves. This book looks at WordPress purely from a user standpoint. In it the reader will explore the three different versions of WordPress – the hosted WordPress.Com, the single-user WordPress.Org and the multi-user WordPress MU.
A brief summary of the useful information contained in the book:
- Setting up your new blog on WordPress.Com; Downloading and installing the single-user version from WordPress.Org (an all the necessary tools and technologies you need to accomplish that); Downloading, installing, configuring and managing a multi-user WordPress MU community (including the specific hosting needs; using plugins and themes, etc).
- How to migrate your blog from your current platform (i.e. Blogger, Typepad, Movable Type) to WordPress
- How to create and manage posts, blogrolls, categories, users and comments;
- It dips into template tags and building your own custom WordPress theme – and how to manage themes, find free themes and how to install and edit them… even a section on how to use WordPress as a full blown content management system to build your entire website, even if you don’t have a need to run a blog on the site;
- Exploring the installation, activation, set up and management of plugins – where to find them, how to obtain them and how to decide which ones are best for what you really want to do with your blog;
- Entire sections devoted to some of the great WordPress plugins, themes, blogs and insider tips and resources available to any WordPress user;
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tips and techniques for WordPress users
- Practical advice surrounding the use of open source software;
- How, where and when to find user end documentation, assistance and online references
- And it does discuss the aggressive development schedule and the pros and cons of using a platform that changes and evolves as quickly as WordPress does.
There is much development being done to the backend of the software code.. ‘under the hood’ optimization – – most of these things are not things that the end user is necessarily aware of.. or even needs to be aware of, for that matter — end users who are new (or moderately experienced) with WordPress want to know why they should use WordPress over other platforms available, basic information on how it works and what they can do to further customize WordPress to suit their specific needs through the use of various options, template tags, CSS, plugins and themes.
I think the fact remains that no book on WordPress is going to have it all 100% covered, due to the development schedule. I can tell you that I have put in overtime, negotiated just a bit more time with my publisher and pushed them to the absolute final hour to allow me the time to make sure that it is as updated as it possibly can be when it goes to print. As the software updates and evolves – so shall WordPress for Dummies with future editions already planned and in the works. The book, much like the software, is a constant work in progress. I do plan on being involved with the ongoing updates and revisions of the book – from now and until I cannot continue to maintain the project (for whatever reason) … it would then be handed off to another knowledgeable soul who can pick up where I left off and run with it and the ongoing development of the WordPress project.
Some folks do get frustrated with the pace at which WordPress releases updates and new versions. This is understandable – – for example, if you pay for upgrades to your WordPress blog; or if you don’t want to update your software all the time.
On the other hand, the aggressive development is a shining example of how dedicated the WordPress folks are at providing the best possible content management system / blogging platform that money can buy….. wait a minute… you don’t need money in order to use WordPress! With each new version of WordPress comes new and exciting bits of functionality to make your blogging experience easier, more fun and exciting.
There were 1.4 million downloads of WordPress 2.1 in the four months it was available! That’s a pretty impressive number. What I like so much about using WordPress is the sense of community surrounding the project. This isn’t just a piece of software being rolled out by a few geeks behind computers. It’s a community project filled with people hoping to make WordPress a better product with each and every single new release — from the developers to the hundreds of testers, to plugin developers and free theme designers, to the people in the WordPress support forums helping other community members find their way around the workings of the WordPress blogging platform…it’s a group project – and that group is mighty big! Matt Mullenweg offers some some ways that you can get involved in the WordPress project, if you’re interested in helping out:
The most valuable thing you can give back to WordPress is your time â€” the time to help a friend discover the joy of blogging, the time to help a stanger (a friend you havenâ€™t met yet) on the support forums, or the time to help make WordPress a better product.
Matts interview with CNet are interesting to watch and listen to – Matt Mullenweg: Wizard of WordPress Part I and Wizard of WordPress Part II: When Open-Source Fails – both are def. worth viewing. It gives you a peek into the brain behind WordPress, Automattic and Akismet – have a watch if you get the chance!
As the release date for the book looms closer and closer – I admit to becoming a bit more nervous. Excited! But nervous. I have received some excellent feedback from my editing team – so that is very encouraging! It is so hard to be objective about it — and hard to really anticipate how it will be received when the only one reading it, at this point, is me — so the feedback has been a tremendous help. I think the thought of people actually reading it puts me a little on edge, to be honest – – but it’s an exciting edge to be on and I’m really looking forward to going to my local Barnes and Nobles and seeing it on the shelves this summer!