What’s New With WordPress 3.1?

WordPressWordPress 3.1 will most likely be released in the next few weeks, and it brings with it a few major changes. If you’re a regular WordPress user, you might not immediately notice many of the updates; but if you are a WordPress Multi Site user, or you are a plugin developer, the changes will most likely seem somewhat revolutionary.

The major change for WordPress Multi Site is the isolation of the Network Administration area. The Super Admin menu is going away, and being replaced with an entirely new admin dashboard for Super Admin users. Developers that initially made their plugins compatible with WordPress MU or WordPress Multi Site will need to make some minor modifications in order to make their plugins compatible with WordPress 3.1.

WordPress Multi-Site: Switching Blogs

WordPressEarlier today, I was working on a new plug-in for one of my WordPress Multi-Site networks. I wanted to pull a list of top-level pages from each site/blog within the network, but I didn’t want the overhead of using the switch_to_blog() function. All I really wanted to do was to query the appropriate tables within the database, but, with WordPress Multi-Site’s implementation of table prefixes, there was no reliable way to attempt to ascertain the correct table name.

It took me a while to figure out how to do this, but I finally did figure it out.

WordPress 3.0 Released

So, the big news yesterday was the fact that WordPress 3.0 (codenamed “Thelonious”) was released. For me, the major milestone from this release is the fact that WordPressMU no longer exists as a separate project. Instead, WordPressMU has been merged with the standard version of WordPress, making it possible and easy for all WordPress owners to manage multiple blogs/websites from a single control panel.

This release also implements a brand new default theme that was built specifically to showcase some of the really nice new template features built into WordPress. Widget control has been improved and expanded; menus are now fully customizable from within the admin center (no more hacking theme files to get a custom menu) and more.

Writing a WordPressMU Widget

While working on a new website today, I found myself needing a widget that would show the archive list from one blog on another blog within my WordPressMU installation. Unfortunately, after a bit of Googling, I couldn’t find any that already existed. It was then that I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I started searching for tutorials on building WordPress widgets. I found some decent tutorials, and was able to put the widget together pretty quickly. However, I then realized that I needed to be able to use multiple instances of the widget, as I have more than one sidebar set up (one or the other is shown, depending on which page the visitor is viewing). Then, it was basically back to the drawing board.

Enable Theme Editor in WPMU

Anyone who’s used WordPressMu for a while has probably noticed that the standard WordPress theme editor (and the plug-in editor, for that matter) isn’t available in the administration area. There are some very valid security reasons for disabling the theme and plug-in editors by default, but, for those of us who keep pretty tight reigns on the admin area, the disadvantages of not being able to edit themes from within WordPress outweigh the security advantages of having the editor disabled.

For those people, there is a plug-in available that re-enables both editors. Simply download the plug-in, unzip it and upload the “enable-theme-and-plugin-editor.php” file to your mu-plugins directory. Once you’ve done that, the theme editor and plug-in editor will both be available from the admin menu again.

WordPress MU 2.8.5 Released

wordpress-mu-logoFor those of you that may not have noticed, yet, WordPress MU has updated to version 2.8.5. Recently, WordPress MU has been making great progress in following closely behind WordPress in its release schedule. If you are running WordPress MU on your site, please make sure to upgrade to the new version.

With WordPress MU, you can easily login to your administrative control panel and update all of your blogs with a few simple clicks of the mouse. Once you login, you’ll see a notification at the top of the screen informing you that WordPress MU is available, along with a link to update your installation.

Once you have backed up your WPMU database and all of your WPMU files, you can simply click “Upgrade Automatically” button to quickly and easily update your WPMU installation.