WordPress 2.7 is the Real Deal

For all the excitement about WordPress 2.5 with its pretty new design, WordPress didn’t change all that much for me.

The layout was different, the design (provided by hot-shot consulting firm, Happy Cog) was a lot more user-friendly but WordPress continued to be WordPress. By that, I didn’t do much with it other than install a few plugins – after getting used to the new widget system. Most important, I continued to ignore WordPress’ publishing tool; using Ecto as my publishing tool.

But judging by what I saw yesterday at WordCamp Toronto, that could all change with WordPress 2.7, which Matt Mullenweg announced will be released next month. In particular, the dashboard and the writing tool are going to be overhauled in a major way that I think are going to be a lot more interesting and exciting than WordPress 2.5.

This most noticeable change in 2.7 will be the navigation bar being moved to the left-hand side of the page. Within the writing tool, there will be drag-and-drog functionality so you can configureit how you want, and the ability to collapse widgets to create a lot more writing room). It will also be easier to add media – photos, images, videos.

When Mullenweg provided an overview yesterday at WordCamp Toronto, the reaction from the audience was extremely positive – sort of like the kids being told the candy store was going to be selling bigger and better chocolate bars.

For me, WordPress 2.7 could be an Ecto-killer. Ecto is a great way to write and manage multiple blogs but it’s pretty no-frills, and there’s little way to pimp it with plug-ins. It is, however, a user-friendly tool, particularly the ability to insert and size images.

That said, WordPress 2.7 is taking major leaps forward in usability, although I’d like to see the gallery become even more-user friendly. When the new WordPress comes out next month, I’m looking forward to using it to write posts.

As from the 2.7′s bells and whistles, Mullenweg said Automattic is working on making upgrades easier to implement. Over time, the goal will be to put the upgrade functionality into the core so WordPress upgrades – which are slated to happen every three months – will work much like how Firefox does now.

For the curious, here are the WordPress 2.7 wireframes. You can also get a really good overview by checking weblog tools collection.

More: WordCamp Toronto was really good – a good mix of speakers, lots of new and interesting ideas, and an enthusiastic audience. In terms of constructive criticism, the venue was a long way from downtown Toronto, and it probably should have been a one-day event with two tracks rather than two days.

Update: Here’s a video featuring Mullenweg talking about the state of WordPress.

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