For those of you who love to be on the cutting edge, you’ll be happy to learn that the new version of WordPress 2.8 is now available for download and has packed in a lot more user friendliness than before. According to WordPress – version 2.8 represents a nice fit and finish release for WordPress with improvements to themes, widgets, taxonomies, and overall speed.

The Beta 1 and Beta 2 release of this version happened around this time last month and had been getting a lot of positive response.

So what is new here?

It seems that lot of functions. There are close to 180 upgrades, changes, options and improvements in the core WP codex. And almost 170 bugs fixes from the previous version which was 2.7.1. WordPress had gained considerable ground in usability and design with WP 2.7 so the overall admin interface still remains the same.

Some of the major changes that I noted include:

  • New Theme Installer routines
  • Add CodePress syntax highlighting to Theme and Plug-in editors
  • Make tags accessible without JavaScript on the edit screen
  • Improved Widget user interface
  • Support more than one gallery on the same page
  • Overhaul of LiveJournal importer

The major parts of the upgrade are basically three. Firstly, WordPress will be faster thanks to script compression and concatenation in the admin section. The other 2 basically improve usability in terms of site design and maintenance (Themes and Widgets management).

You can now browse the entire theme directory and install a theme with one click from the comfort of your WordPress dashboard. This was a feature introduced for plug-ins in the last major upgrade and is now available for themes. For those bloggers who are mad about changing their blog’s looks more often than content this is mighty useful. The third of course is better widget management -you can now edit widgets on the fly, have multiple copies of the same widget, drag and drop widgets between sidebars, etc.

To those who are interested in putting WordPress 2.8 to the test, you can download it here.

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