Yesterday I made an upgrade from WP 2.3.3 to WP 2.5 (with full backup of MySQL database and files before that, of course). Looks like everything works fine:)

First, about the good things in WP 2.5:

  1. Editing tags is now built-in feature, which is great;
  2. A better visual editor (Rich Text Editor) — I don’t use it, but they claim it’s better;
  3. Fixed an old bug, which didn’t allow you to specify a directory for uploading files, which is one or more levels higher than the current WP directory (I just had to dig in deep, just to find that you have to fill correctly both fields in Settings → Misc [“Store uploads in this folder…” & “Full URL path to files (optional)…”], or this won’t work);
  4. A better Image Uploader;
  5. Possibility to automatically update plugins, with just one click (nice!).

There a lot of others, but these I noticed at first glance.

And now some rant from my part:

I have very mixed feelings about the new Admin Interface, developed by The Happy Cog. Some things in it I like, others — no. I think, it’s a step forward and a step backward, at the same time.

There are a lot of improvements, but some other things are not so well thought.

Why, for example, the sidebar in the “Write” section is almost empty, in spite of the fact that computer screens become more and more wide? Instead of that, most of the settings — post slug, category, comments/pings, and others, are moved under the main post text field? And the buttons ‘Save’ & ‘Publish’ are moved to the right (?).

The change requires un-needed scrolling up and down, if, for example, I want to edit the post’s category. Before it was much easier — the title and the text of the post were located top left, just below them were the ‘Save’ & ‘Publish’ buttons, and to the right I could re-arrange all of the most important for me boxes, containing the post slug, date, category, etc. — and I was able to open and close them (setting was remembered), and also change their places in the way which best worked for me — re-arranging was simple drag & drop.

Now, re-arranging is no longer possible. Improvements? Nah… Who decided, that it’s better to move everything under the text field, and to remove the possibility for re-arrangement, and also to free the sidebar… so there’s empty space in it?

Other remarks:

To click ‘Save’, and then check in another tab, how looks my post in ‘Preview’ mode, I could, while writing, hit TAB once or twice, then ENTER. This moved the focus from the text field to the ‘Save’ button or ‘Save & Continue Editing’ button — very useful!

Now, instead, I have to reach for the mouse, so I can click on ‘Save’, because instead of one pressing of TAB, I would need at least 7 or 8, to reach it. Accessibility improvements? Nah… For people, who like to use the keyboard more than the mouse, these “improvements” are not welcome at all…

The design of the Admin is also quite changed visually. I didn’t like the new light shades of blue, so I used the option “hidden” in Users → Your Profile → Admin Color Scheme → (use 'Classic').

I also noticed more embedded scripts, AJAX, and even Flash, which make the interface load a bit slower. When uploading a photo, using the option ‘Add media: Add an Image’, the window, which shows the upload progress, uses Flash. It could be done maybe more elegantly (The WP-DB-Plugin, for example, uses a simple DIV, colored using CSS), instead Flash, but these are just details…

So now, after the upgrade, I am looking for a good WordPress Admin Interface hacker, who could guide me in the right direction of how I could create a plugin, which will restore for me at least parts of the useful functionality, which was available for me in the Admin Panel of WordPress 2.3.3:

1) Categories, Tags, Comments & Pings (in ‘Write’ page) to go in the sidebar (I wonder, if it is possible?).
2) Save & Publish buttons to go back under the text field; or, at least, when I press TAB once, the focus from the text field to shift to the ‘Save’ button.

As for the re-arranging of the panels, which were moved from the sidebar to the bottom of page, I’ve heard rumours that one of the next WP versions will “re-invent the wheel” and this functionality will be back. I can wait a little:)

I understand that Autommatic (to some extent) are following the latest trends in Web design, when they worked with Happy Cog on the new WP interface, but this is not an argument to change something well working, although simpler, to something more complicated (and not so convenient).

And about the ‘Write’ page, the move from the sidebar of all of the panels (which causes un-needed scrolling up and down), and the inability to re-arrange them, was noticed and not liked by a lot of other WP users, too. I wonder, what was that special survey, to which Happy Cog are referring, when supporting their design decision…

Of course, there are a lot of enthusiasts, which like the new WP Admin interface and the new WP version, including Mike Davidson. I am one of those ‘moderate’ enthusiasts. I love WordPress, I use it for more than a year now, but truth is, that I don’t like everything in 2.5, so I will just search for a way to get used with the changes, or to write myself a small plugin, which will change some things to be more “WP 2.3 Style”, which for me means ”ease of use”:)

Btw, in Mike’s post, which I cited, at one point bursts a very interesting discussion on the topic “WordPress vs. Movable Type”, and “Static display of content vs. Dynamic display of content”. The comments of Mike, Paul and Matt become a few miles long (literally!). If you didn’t drop recently on a good flame war discussions, especially dedicated to the topic “Which blog platform is the best?”, that’s your chance! A must-read! :-)

PS I expressed some of my thought on the new WP 2.5 Admin GUI in the wp-forum, too:)

2 thoughts on “WordPress 2.5: Give me back part of the 2.3 Classic interface, please!

  1. You really sum up most of the problems with the new WordPress 2.5 upgrade, but you left out all the problems with the ‘add media’.
    Mine doesn’t work at all. I’m also having problems with an older version on my other wordpress install at ReneODeay Online.
    Oh how I wish I had seen your blog and posts on the forum before I submitted to 2.5.

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