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WordPress 3.0, Our Thoughts

WordPress 3.0 was released yesterday and with it a number of features that put it at the top of the list for CMS platforms. Below are a few of the big features that have been implemented and our thoughts on each.

Custom Menus

Something that has been lacking from WordPress for a long, long time, custom menus are now fully integrated into the platform, allowing users to implement any number of menus with custom-defined sets of menu items. The best part is the ability to use menus inside a new WordPress widget called “Custom Menus.” This makes it very easy to drop a set of links or full-blown menu with drop-downs (if styled with the appropriate CSS) in any widgetized area.

Custom Post Types

Another huge new feature, Custom Post Types allow users to add custom content types like products, video posts, music, or even baseball cards! By simply creating custom post types inside your themes and plugins, you can avoid using custom post meta values, custom post templates, custom write panels, etc. By default, custom post types are separated from your standard WordPress RSS feed but can easily be added, if desired. In addition, WP 3.0 adds support for post type templates – no plugins required.

Custom Taxonomy API

If you don’t know what taxonomy means, it essentially is a way to group things together. No doubt taking a cue from Drupal with its ability to create custom taxonomies, WordPress finally has added support for theme and plugin developers to work with custom taxonomies more simply. Working hand-in-hand with custom post types, the new taxonomy API makes developers lives much easier. There is a great post on custom taxonomies on Nettuts that provides an in-depth explanation.

Putting It All Together

I think one of the best examples of what you can do with these new features (along with the other new features and enhancements littered throughout WordPress 3.0) is building an e-commerce site by combining custom post types and custom taxonomies.

The first problem with building an e-commerce site with previous versions of WordPress is that it was quite difficult to create products with varying metadata, then display them using different post templates within a theme. The second problem is that it was very difficult to add additional taxonomies to group products by similar features. Now, with the new custom taxonomies API, we can more easily define those common attributes and assign them to products, allowing us greater flexibility in searching filtering products. We are currently working on an example of this for our upcoming theme, SimpleCart Pro.

What are your thoughts on 3.0? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Avatar
    Evan Mullins says:

    I’m stoked about the new release! But haven’t custom taxonomies been around for a while? 2.8 I’m thinking, and the capabilities/API since 2.4 or so? Don’t get me wrong I like them, but I’ve been using them for a while now…
    Very excited about the menu and custom types though! FTW

    • Avatar

      Evan, you are correct, Custom Taxonomies have actually been around since 2.3 with an improved system in 2.8 but 3.0 brings a new API for developers to work with them more easily. I have updated the post to be more exact with my language regarding taxonomies in 3.0.

  2. Avatar
    paul says:

    it’s pretty exciting that it’s now possible to create an ecommerce website with default WordPress functionality.
    Matt Mullenweg did mention that the wp ecommerce plugin would only use WP tables instead of external table as in previous versions.

    • Avatar

      I agree. With 3.0, anything is truly possible. I still think as a CMS, WordPress isn’t perfect. Drupal absolutely blows it away with it’s ability to build full-blown web applications without touching a single line of code, but WordPress has a huge advantage from the user experience perspective. Drupal 6 and previous versions are pretty terrible in that regard.

  3. Pingback: Wordpress 3.0 now available!

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