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WordPress 2.5 fun in April

Once again, a lovely time was had by all at the WordPress.dk meetup on April 6. The only essential item that did not live up to expectations was the sunshine. But what did we care about grey skies – we were indoors!

Jacob Bøtter, our host who graciously let us meet up at Wemind A/S, bid us welcome and talked a bit about corporate blogging. I thought he presented a lot of very interesting ideas. Jacob talked about contacting members who were set up to collaborate on a blog and encouraging them to comment on posts, for example. This is supposed to be contrary to blogging because the desire to blog and comment should be driven by a real interest and not because someone tells you to blog or comment. Jacob seems to be touching on the subject of change management more than blogging. I think anytime a new method or process is introduced to an established group (as is the case here), you will have a time of transition where people need to create or learn new habits or adjust to habits that may not please them. I think it is only sensible that there is a nurturing and supporting effort to make the transition as smooth as possible. Lots of food for thought there!

We introduced ourselves by passing around a tube of chocolate biscuits. If this is new to you, well, the person who holds the goodies can talk. That person introduces themselves and then passes the goodies along to the next person who then “has the floor”. Lisa Risager immortalized the biscuits on flickr. The tube was noticeably lighter when the introductions were over…

So then René, Jacob, Lene, Lene (yes, there were two), Sussi, Knud, Marianne, Lars, Kim, Karin, Thomas, Kristoffer (spelling?), Niels, Rune, Kenneth, Lisa, Jesper, Peter, and Anette got down to business. (Emme dropped by for a brief visit later in the afternoon.)

Some were creating their first blog or their first WordPress blog. Others were upgrading to version 2.5. A few unfortunates battled computer problems. It was lovely!

It was nearly 6 in the evening before the last hardy souls turned out the lights and left the building. (Hmmm. I am really late with this post – been blogging elsewhere. I was supposed to tell Jacob that the dishwasher needed salt, but I suppose someone discovered that ages ago!)

Webgrrls were well represented. 🙂 We may have even recruited a new member. I saw evidence of networking taking place, which is excellent, but expected in a group involved in a social networking tool like WordPress.

My own WordPress 2.5 upgrade had gone nicely the evening before this meetup. I could watch and learn more from the other participants’ experience so I could share upgrade tips with the amazing Web Diva for the AccessAbility SIG blog. (She has since upgraded that blog to 2.5, and even 2.5.1.)

My basic recipe for an upgrade is

  1. Check plugin status, possibility waiting until they are compatible with the new major version of WordPress.
  2. Make a backup of the blog.
  3. Deactive all plugins
  4. Upgrade – in this case, the one-click solution used by many hosting sites, such as my own, Dreamhost.
  5. Wait a few minutes for the upgrade to finish (completion usually announced by an email notification).
  6. Activate plugins.
  7. Blog!

I like WordPress 2.5

I first saw the new WordPress dashboard (where you manage your entire WordPress blog) on a wordpress.com site. I was blogging on the Webgrrls blog, and I was surprised by the brand-new look-and-feel because I had forgotten about the impending upgrade. The upgrade to new versions takes place automatically on the .com site. After I got over my surprise, I poked around a bit. I think they have arranged things sensibly so that frequently used items are displayed prominently and less frequently used items are displayed off to one side. This makes for less clutter and distraction. Hmmm. Did they apply usability best practices or feng shui best practices?

Oh, a very cool thing in WordPress 2.5 for people who use funny letters in their permalink (funny letters being characters outside the stream of A to Z in their alphabet)! When you write your Title and you use something like “søndag“, that would normally resolve to “s%c3%b8ndag” in the permalink address. That chunk that does not have A to Z or 0 to 9 gets highlighted – probably to point out a possible problem, and you can edit it to read, for example, “soendag“.

I also found inspiration on the bookshelf at Wemind A/S: a book called A Handbook of Problems. What a title! I just had to look at a book with that title. It was published in 2005 by the Design School in Kolding, Denmark and is basically about design and challenges with design. I see nothing about it on the school’s site, but I understand it can still be purchased. There’s always the library.

Now we wait until late summer for another cozy gathering of the WordPress meetup gang. The WordPress bug has a grip on me. When I am not blogging here, I am blogging for Webgrrls (Danish), Morgendagens Heltinder (Danish), or the AccessAbility SIG of STC.

Happy blogging!