WordPress 2.5 is now available

WordPress 2.5 is now available to download and install. In addition, WordPress.Org was redesigned. It also looks pretty cool, so check it out too.
I’ll be working on upgrading later today. If you take the leap before me, let me know what you think.

According to the post, new features include:

Cleaner, faster, less cluttered dashboard — we’ve worked hard to take your feedback about what’s most important in the dashboard and organize things to allow you to focus on what’s important — your blog — and get out of your way. In collaboration with Happy Cog and the community we’ve taken the first major step forward in the WordPress interface since version 1.5.

Dashboard Widgets — the dashboard home page is now a serious of widgets, including ones to show you fun stats about your posting, latest comments, people linking to you, new and popular plugins, and of course WordPress news. You can customize any of the dashboard widgets to show, for example, news from your local paper instead of WP news. Plugins can also hook in, for example the WordPress.com stats widget adds a handy double-wide stats box.

Multi-file upload with progress bar — before when you would upload a large file you’d wait forever, never knowing how far along it was. And uploading more than one photo was an exercise in patience, as you could only do one at a time. Now you can select a whole of folder images or music or videos at once and it’ll show you the progress of each upload.

Bonus: EXIF extraction — if you upload JPEG files with EXIF metadata like camera make and model, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, et al. WordPress will extract all the data into custom fields you can use in your template. If you use the EXIF title fields or similar those will be put into their equivalent fields in WP. Most modern digital cameras generate EXIF data.

Search posts and pages — search used to cover just posts, now it includes pages too, a great boon for thoe using WordPress as a CMS. New themes can style or sort pages differently in results.

Tag management — you can now add, rename, delete, and do whatever else you like to tags from inside WordPress, no plugins needed.

Password strength meter — when you change your password on your profile it’ll tell you how strong your password is to help you pick a good one.

Concurrent editing protection — for those of you on multi-author blogs, have you ever opened a post while someone was already editing it, and your auto-saves kept overwriting each other, irrecoverably losing hours of work? I bet that added a few words to your vocabulary. Now if you open a post that someone else is editing, WordPress magically locks it and prevents you from saving until the other person is done. You’ll see a message like below.

Few-click plugin upgrades — if the plugins you use are part of the plugin directory since 2.3 we’ve told you when they have an update available. Now we take that to the next logical step — downloading and installing the upgrade for you. This is dependent a little bit on your host setup, and it may ask you for your FTP password much like OS X or Windows will ask you for a password, but it works well on majority of hosts we were able to test, your mileage may very, plugins in mirror may be larger than they appear.

Friendlier visual post editor — I’m not sure how to articulate this improvement except to say “it doesn’t mess with your code anymore.” We’re now using version 3.0 of TinyMCE, which means better compatibility with Safari, and we’ve paid particular attention this release to its integration and interaction with complex HTML. It also now has a “no-distractions” mode which is like Writeroom for your browser.

Built-in galleries — when you take advantage of multi-file upload to upload a bunch of photos, we have a new shortcode that lets you to easily embed galleries by just putting [ gallery] (without the space) in your post. It’ll display all your thumbnails and captions and each will link each to a page where people can comment on the individual photos. I’ve been using this feature on my blog and have already uploaded over 1,200 pictures into 23 galleries. The shortcode has some hidden options too, check out this documentation.

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