WordPress 3.0 Guide

wordpress_logoTechnoSailor‘s Aaron Brazell has published the long-awaited “10 Things You Need to Know About WordPress 3.0” post.  The author of the recently-released The WordPress Bible — and, full disclosure, someone who has done extensive development work for me — is a true WordPress insider and his “10 Things You Need to Know” posts on each new release are widely considered the definitive thumbnail guide.

The main change in 3.0 — and the reason for leaving the 2.x series — is the merger of WordPress and WordPress Multi-site (formerly, WordPress Multi-user, aka, WordPress MU). Apparently, according to Aaron, seamlessly.  I’ll almost certainly be taking advantage of this — with Aaron’s help — in an upcoming redesign of the site, merging OTB, Gone Hollywood, OTB Sports and some other sites into a single install to (hopefully) improve performance and efficiency.

Other improvements that will be of obvious benefit to me:

  • “WordPress as a content management system (CMS): For the first time, we don’t have to simply pretend that WordPress is a CMS…. it can have all the CMS qualities of a Drupal or Joomla.“  This will be of some benefit to me in OTB, especially in more efficiently networking the “OTB Media” suite of sites.  And it may prompt me to move the Atlantic Council sites from Drupal to WordPress on the next major redesign.
  • “Compose any menu with any hierarchy out of category archives, pages and custom links.” OTB has been around since January 2003 and the backend organization is a mess, since these taxonomies didn’t exist and categories, tags, and whatnot developed haphazardly.  I’ve done some cleanup over the years, organizing the site into maybe eight categories, and having those easily accessible via a top navigation menu.   Tags will remain for further organization, of course.   All of that’s possible now.  But I’m intrigued by the idea of custom dropdown menus to further the user experience and functionality of the site:  “Dropdowns are automatically created and semantic CSS markup allows style modifications easily. You can also create multiple menus (let’s say, a secondary navigation piece) and use them as sidebar widgets or hardcode them directly into a theme.”
  • The end of default themes and introduction of parent/child themes:  “As changes go into twentyten [the new non-default/default parent theme/non-theme], your child theme will inherit those changes. “ This is simply huge.   One of the key performance issues with OTB is that, despite a professional redesign in 2007, there’s still plenty of hacks in the theme based on legacy decisions going back to 2003.   And, even without those, I’d be stuck with the site as it was developed in 2007 — a lifetime ago in the evolution of WordPress.

Since it’s the weekend and we’re on the subject of the OTB redesign, I’d welcome feature suggestions in the comments below.   Specifically, what from the current configuration do you like and dislike?  What features have you seen on other blogs that you’d like to see here?  Conversely, what trends are you seeing in blog site design that you’d like to see avoided here?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Triumph says:

    You should get ths thing going “community”-style–like Daily Kos where users can do their own blogs.

    I would totally start a “tell-it-like-it-is” blog at OTB.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I wouldn’t be interesting in opening to all comers but I’ll give some thought to allowing known commenters and others to have sub-blogs. Not sure how hard that is to pull off in 3.0.