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