WordPress 2.0 Duke

Although it has been available for a few days now, WordPress 2.0 ‘Duke’ is now official.

In fact has already had been downloaded more than 33,000 times as I write this! You can download it from the revamped WordPress.org web site.

There is a lot of new code in this release, most of which is concerned with either the Administration interface, especially the WYSIWYG write interface, or under the hood stuff which will benefit plugin and theme developers. There are a whole bunch of bug fixes too.

There are some very compelling reasons to upgrade to this new version, but there are a whole bunch of reasons to hold off too:

The biggest bug-bear for me is that the Write Post page is no longer usable if you cannot use a mouse. At least, out of the box it isn’t usable (you cannot tab out of the text area for the post). If you cannot use a mouse and have to use the keyboard for input, then you need to turn off the WYSIWYG editor. Tab to the Users page, uncheck the “Use the visual rich editor when writing” checkbox, and update your profile.

Once you have done that you can at least write and publish plain posts. Alas you still cannot upload images or other media with the new interface. That still requires the use of a mouse.

I’m a strong believer in accessibility in applications, be they web- or desktop-based. I think computers, and especially computers in combination with the Internet, are a great leveller. Disabled people who perhaps cannot function too well in the physical world have a much more level playing field in the online world. Or at least that’s the theory.

WordPress 1.5.2 is a reasonably accessible application (albeit not too user friendly for those who cannot use a mouse). More by virtue of it being pretty standards compliant than by design. WordPress 2.0 is no longer accessible.

By adding a JavaScript based Visual Editor and a bunch of sexy looking draggable, expandable controls, the application has been rendered unusable in its single most important function: posting to your blog!

It’s a real shame, because the improvements in WordPress 2.0 are many, and some of them, like the post preview now using your theme, are killer. The new user roles and capabilities too are a great new idea and will lead to some good functionality for multi-author and community blogs.

The way uploaded images and other media are handled is much more sophisticated now: they are sub posts and can thus be displayed separately from the post which contains them and have their own comments.

Another reason to be cautious about upgrading is that some of your plugins may no longer be compatible. There are a whole bunch that have been checked against 2.0, but there are a whole lot more which haven’t.

In conclusion, if you are thinking about upgrading to 2.0, make sure you create a backup first. Turn off all your plugins, and even switch back to the default theme. Then upgrade and turn on your plugins one at a time. Checking nothing breaks after each one. Finally switch back to your theme and have a final check.

20 thoughts on “WordPress 2.0 Duke

  1. That’s true. Accessibility plays a big role. However WordPress 2.0 is much improved over 1.5.2. Most plugins that I have are still usable.

  2. I am disabled (blind) myself so this post is not really encouraging to me. I still did upgrade though but have not tried posting anything yet. I might let people know if it is really that unaccessibl as you write (considering, in the case of blind users, most screen reading software packages offer something like a mouse replacement). Still I would be glad if someone could see if there is a way to re-improove this great application’s accessibility. As for me, I am probably not enough of a PHP hacker to do it myself :-(

  3. lemme know how the new one turns out
    i will check in out in after the holidays when i know most bugs are completed
    the last thing i want is the blog to crash out like my gallery just did (two weeks of utter bs to fix it hehe)
    anyways hope the holidays are good buddie
    ps take a peek, the kittens are getting huge :D
    cheers

  4. Raven,
    You are right there are many compelling reasons to upgrade to version 2.0
    I’m just cautious that disabled users might now actually be excluded, which is a big concern to me.

  5. René
    I will be most eager to find out your results. I don’t have a screen reader installed, and my testing (such as it is) is based purely on keyboard access.

    One of the developers, who has taken lots of my complaints on board and done much to improve the accessibility of this version, said that the final problems will be addressed in the next version (though not necessarily the next release).

    Feel free to write to me privately if you wish.

    Mike

  6. Di,
    unless you have any unusual plugins, I would expect the upgrade to go swimmingly. Make sure you have a backup and let me know if you have any problems.

    The kittens are looking great! I love this picture!

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  9. Hi Ivyblog

    The WordPress.com FAQ has this to say on the subject of backups:

    …In the future you’ll also be able to download a personal XML backup of your data, but we don’t have a timeline on that quite yet.

    Follow the link for the rest.

  10. What a mistake, I upgraded and I am now regretting it. I lost a whole bunch of useful features, specially in managing pictures and this updates really did not give me any additional useful features. Now with the task of going back to my last version.

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  13. Hi Mike:

    I am a blind user of WP, and I have in fact found several accessibility problems with 2.0.
    The major one is the wysiwyg interface.
    I’m glad the old editor wasn’t scrapped, because if it had, I wouldn’t be using 2.0.
    I’m hoping this problem gets fixed.

  14. Amanda,
    Thanks for your info, I’m hoping that these issues get fixed in the next release. There has already been quite few fixes submitted for various issues with this version.
    Mike

  15. The WYSIWYG editor sux! Think I will follow your advice for turning it off!

    My upgrade went really well, I obviously had to replace some files because of a manual upgrade, but thats where using your own server pays off!

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  18. The biggest bug-bear for me is that the Write Post page is no longer usable if you cannot use a mouse. At least, out of the box it isn’t usable (you cannot tab out of the text area for the post). If you cannot use a mouse and have to use the keyboard for input, then you need to turn off the WYSIWYG editor. Tab to the Users page, uncheck the “Use the visual rich editor when writing” checkbox, and update your profile

    nice blog

    Regards
    Timothy

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