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What You Can Expect From Future Versions Of WordPress

Posted on November 6 by in General News | 27 comments

What You Can Expect From Future Versions Of WordPress

Starting with version 3.7, WordPress began a new distributed development process that promises a faster and more nimble release schedule. New features are broken up into separate plugins and worked on individually until being integrated into core. This gives the community a unique opportunity to explore these updates in plugin form, and to participate and speculate about what features will be included in 3.8. In fact, you can download the plugins right now and play with them before the next WordPress release candidate has even been announced! I would not recommend installing these plugins on your production website. Below are the plugins that have been pitched for 3.8, and we can expect that most of them will make their way into future versions of WordPress in some form or another.

A Re-Designed Dashboard

mp6

The MP6 project, which has long been in development under the “top secret” MP6 plugin (No, it’s not really top secret!) introduces a complete overhaul of the WordPress Dashboard design. The plugin is a move towards modernity, the main goals of which are to improve readability, employ modern aesthetics, and replace out-dated technology with techniques that are future-forward. Unnecessary design elements have been removed. Images have been replaced with vector icons. The design is responsive and tired font set has been replaced with the modern Open Sans. What do you think of the new design? Is it an improvement over the current version in your opinion?

Widget Area Chooser Ditches Drag & Drop

widgets

The Widget Area Chooser seeks to solve various problems with the widget selection process. One of the main issues occurs when you have many widget ready areas and you are forced to drag a widget below the fold. The plugin solves this by ditching the drag & drop system in favor of a simple selection menu and button. This also makes widgets a lot easier to manage on mobile devices, for which the drag and drop system was not built for. Some of the author’s work has already been integrated into the MP6 plugin, while additional features are still under review. I think that often times, Drag & Drop techniques are employed when they are not entirely necessary. In this case, it’s clear that this modern layout-building technique actually hurts usability in certain situations.

Re-Imagining The Theme Section

themes

The THX38 plugin revamps the Appearances > Themes section of the WordPress Dashboard. The goal of this plugin is to replace a text-heavy page with something that is more appropriately visual. The plugin also brings focus to the Theme Customizer, which can be easy to overlook in the current design. For themes that support it, the customizer should be used as the main interface for managing it. Perhaps in the future, a version of the Customizer will become the unifying “theme options” page for all themes.

Global Admin Search

search

The OmniSearch plugins wants to remove the disparate search systems within the dashboard. In it’s current form, if you want to search comments then you first need to navigate to the comments tab. The same goes for posts, pages and media. The Omnisearch combines these results and makes it possible to search them all at once.

A New Dashboard Structure

dashboard

The WP-Dash plugin removes clutter and consolidates information to create a more streamlined and less-bloated greeting page when you log in to your WordPress Dashboard. It also makes the widgets on the first page responsive. It’s funny how much information is on the Dashboard’s homepage, but how rarely I actually use it. Perhaps by removing clutter, this “overview” of your website will be much more approachable. In almost every situation, removing clutter is a good thing, and I look forward to a cleaner Dashboard.

What Do You Think?

After reading through these proposed changes, what do you think about possibilities for WordPress 3.8? We would love to hear your opinions!

27 Comments

  1. I just ‘discovered’ the MP6 plugin and already I’m using it on every installation I get my hands on. It makes the admin so much cleaner! Using this plugin and some custom admin css, makes WP the streamlined backend CMS that I always wanted it to be!

    I hope they do fix some ‘major’ flaws in backend design, such as;
    – Always show right number of posts when a user can see only their own
    – Give every item and page a class/ID
    – Make everything evenly editable (for example; hiding/removing profile fields is way too complex – adding custom fields to post types is easy but adding them to taxonomies is a living hell)

    It would be nice if they steered towards a ‘real’ CMS overall. We all know WP isn’t “just a blog” anymore. Maybe they should make a “WP+” version. I’d pay licenses for that!!

    • Great thoughts. I’m with you Alex. It would be so great if WP would break away from some so many paradigms that keep emerging after each version update. Things like the totally unnecessary feeds that bloat the database, more inherent security with the platform, built-in brute force detection and stealth login, and a much more reliable visual editing system. TinyMce isn’t too impressive. I love the platform but it could be so much better…

    • What are the “custom admin css” that you do if you don’t mind me asking.

      Thanks

  2. Thank you for this post, Nick,

    These upcoming updates (I’m probably too lazy to check out those plugins right now) are great concepts that will improve WordPress functionality and flexibility. I’m excited to see how these concepts are executed and improved over time.

    Love WordPress, (and mad respect for Elegant Themes!)
    Musank

  3. Thanks for summarizing everything so nicely here! In all honestly, I don’t think the changes will affect me much. I am most excited about the new widget plugin, as I’ve been frustrated with the “below-the-fold” issues of adding widgets to sidebars in the past. The newly rendered “search” feature also sounds more intuitive, and less cumbersome, than it has been. And finally, I appreciate that the front page of the dashboard will be responsive. Thanks again :)

  4. I agree with Alex — it’s time for a “real” CMS version, without the blog “features”.

    • An additional thought — Why not make the blogging capability a plugin?

  5. Please LORD! When will WP address their paleolithic media folder structure? I love wp but some day I hope they figure out a way to allow us to structure our own media folder as we see fit. Trying to organize anything other than a blog in folders with date options only is sickeningly backwards.

    • Oh i thought it was just me! +1 for the media folder!

    • I was exactly thinking the same. To me, the media management is very frustating. After a few weeks working on a project I always end up having hundreds of files, some of them very similar, and this makes them difficult to find.

      We need a folder structure in the media section!

      I am a newbie using wordpress, so there are probably other tecnical needs before the media gets improved. I have to add that I LOVE wordpress… It has make things so easier to me since I discovered!.

      thanks to the people who created it and who keep it improving everyday.

    • +1 on the Media folder structure!

  6. Nick,

    Another great reason I subscribe to your site!!

    Nice to have a summary of what is to come, nice job on this post.

    I agree with Media filing system overhaul… LOL

    Thanks,

    Steve

  7. YES, having the power to organize your media library the way you want it… I’m in!

  8. I’m usually excited about new features but preach paranoid approach – I hope introducing new things doesn’t break anything :)

  9. What’s your opinion on the theme customizer vs theme options? I see you mainly use the theme customizer for colour customizations, do you think the theme customizer could be a good replacement for the theme options page? I started to build my theme using just the theme customizer as a replacement for the options page but half way through the development I decided the customizer got too busy so I created a separate options page. I try to add things that relate to the look of the site in the customizer and things that could be classed as “settings” in the options page, for example I may add the font and colour settings for a slide in the customizer but add a section to the options page to choose which page to link the slide to.
    Would just be nice to know what your opinion was on what developers should be adding to options pages and the theme customizer, weather they should use just one or both, and if both what sort of options do you think developers should be adding to the customizer? Just curious. Thanks :)

  10. All looks very interesting, especially the further integration with social media packages. can’t wait to try it out!

  11. Thanks for keeping me updated with latest WordPress development.

  12. It’s great to see WP is getting better and better … The new dashboard looks awesome and the widgets need re-factoring, so I think WP 3.8 will rock … can wait to see it, but I not update until 3.8.1 :)

  13. Sounds great! Do you think they have plans to release a mobile app so we can blog straight from our smartphones and tablets that’s completely fully functional?

  14. Going to download the MP6 plugin right now. Looks like an awesome improvement.

  15. Will be really glad to see the new widget area come into play, can be a real pain at the moment on projects with 30+ sidebars :)

  16. Thanks for sharing,
    It was great

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