WordPress 3.1 New Features

Parshuram receives his mystical axe from Shiva for having mastered the art of combat

WordPress is one of the biggest success stories of both the open source and CMS world. In part this is thanks to their very active development schedule that has resulted in a steady stream of improvements, bug-fixes, security updates and new features, which have kept the community of its users satisfied and growing.

Over the past few years WordPress has maintained a fairly regular release schedule of a couple of major releases per year. In 2010, they released the long awaited version 3.0 which finally integrated the multi-blog fork of WordPress into the regular version and introduced the new default theme Twenty Ten, along with many improvements to do with custom post types. Having done that, they decided to take one release cycle off to work on community building and the WordPress forums, theme repository and other ancillary bits. So needless to say, the next major release, version WordPress 3.1, was enthusiastically awaited.

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Running a WordPress Food Review Blog

Shabari offers fruit to Rama & Lakshmana at the Matanga ashram

Food is the new art, because it is an art most of us can truly enjoy consuming. So, it isn’t surprising that food culture and the need to eat and experience new flavours and cuisines is a very popular interest throughout the world’s urban centres. Like movies before it, it is fast becoming that common interest that a large number of people get to share and identify with. It was inevitable that as the interest grew, more people would want to talk about it. Food related sites and blogs are ever growing in popularity, and food and restaurant review blogs are a large part of that movement.

Esther Tseng gave a presentation at WordCamp L.A. 2010 titled Food Blogging in WordPress. It was a good introduction to the field, with tips and insights into how best to go about it from someone who has been food blogging for a while. The video of her presentation is below to be watched (audio quality is quite bad). My notes and links to related and resources follow, for those who prefer text, and to read my own additions.

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How to Make a Sticky Post in WordPress

The Vetala, a spirit being, is lead away from its tree abode by King Vikram against a moon-lit night sky.

Stories and posts arranged in a decreasing order of freshness has been a model followed by many networked information sites since the fledgling days of public computer networks. BBSs and discussion forums worked on that model and blogs inherited it. In forums, where new posts could be added every few minutes by a large membership, it became clear the administrators needed a way to keep important posts displayed on top of the list permanently, not being displaced by newer content. So they invented the sticky post.

WordPress needed plugins to produce a similar effect of marking a post as sticky until version 2.7, which had a the feature built-in. This is how it works.

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New Features in the Drupal 7 Release

Seven stars of the Saptarshi constellation (Ursa Major) in the night sky

For me, Drupal is one of the granddaddies of the open source CMS world. While it might not be the oldest by any means, it is the first one I tried, and loved. Even at the time, I heard a lot of complaints about how impossibly difficult it was to get to grips with. While I never shared that sentiment, and setup a reasonably active blog-like site for myself and some friends, which served us well for a few years, this accusation of unfriendliness towards the average user has continued to plague Drupal. So, it came as no surprise that when they set out to plan and design a whole new major version of the software over 3 years ago, they made the usability their main mission.

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