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Oh my!

It’s that time of year again, when the folks over at WordPress.org start putting the finishing touches on the next version of WordPress (in this case, version 3.1), and the lucky users of WordPress.com are automatically included in the beta testing, giving you all access to new features about a month before they are officially released. This is awesome, because you get early access, and your feedback can help us make even more improvements. I’m personally pretty excited about the new features you’ll be seeing around here starting later tonight, as they are additions I’ve been wanting for a long time. Here are the new things you can expect to see the next time you’re in your dashboard:

Easier Internal Linking

Yay. Finally. Literally. Seriously. What?! I know, right? :)

You’re writing a post (or a page) in WordPress. You mention something you’ve written about before, and think to yourself, “I’m going to link to that last post!” What do you do? You might open a new tab and search for the older content in your dashboard’s list of posts, or you might go to your live blog and find it. Either way, you have to find that content and get the URL, so that when you click on the link button in the post editor, you’ll have it ready. Right? What’s that, 5-8 steps, depending on which way you do it? No more!

Internal linking preview

Existing posts and pages can be found and linked to using dynamic search.

With our sexy new internal linking feature, you can now enter any URL to create a link just like you used to, OR you can search your existing posts and pages right there in the link popup. A combination of pre-loading, autocomplete, and some ajaxy goodness make the new link creation tool a joy to use (and man, that popup is so much faster!). We hope this addition spurs you to make more connections between pieces of content on your site, which will make it easier for your visitors to find more related content from you. One more time, all together now: Yay! (Right?)

Column Sorting

Column sorting previewWhen you’re in your dashboard and you click to the Posts section (or Pages, Media, any screen with one of those listing tables), do you ever wish you could click a column header to change the display, like to sort things by date, alphabetically, by author, or other criteria? I know I wish for it all the time. And now we have it! This feature is a product of a successful Google Summer of Code student project, proof that the program is a great way to get involved with WordPress development. The little arrow next to the column heading (in my example screenshot, the Date column) shows you which column is determining the sort order, and if it’s ascending or descending. Just click on the column header to sort by that column, or to reverse the order.

Better Pagination

Preview of new pagination styleIf you have a lot of content, you may have run into a mildly annoying experience at some point when paging through screens in the dashboard that list your posts, media files, etc. Clicking forward and back is easy enough, as is skipping to the first or last couple of screens, but what about the middle? Say you had 23 screens worth of post listings, you’re on screen #6, and based on the dates, you think the one you’re looking for might be around page 15 or so. You would have had to click several times to advance a few screens at a time until you reached the screen you wanted. No more! With our new pagination style, those quick forward/back and first/last links are still there, but now you can jump right to any screen by just changing the editable number shown in the pagination area (and hitting enter). Sweet!

Ajax Search Results

Reviewing search results will be faster and no longer require screen refreshes in the dashboard, thanks to the addition of ajax to the search results screen. Go Speed Racer!

Revised Blue Color Scheme

In the personal options in your profile, you have a choice between gray and blue dashboard color schemes (the default is gray). We updated the gray color scheme a while back, but didn’t update the blue one at the same time. (Remember when we moved from the dark header to the lighter header? Good times.) The new blue color scheme is lighter, cleaner, and based on the same shadings as the gray color scheme but with a blue hue so that your focus can remain firmly on your content creation, without distraction. If you’ve never tried the blue color scheme, now would be a great time to give it a whirl and see how you like it! Are there other colors you’d like to have as options? Let us know in the comments!

Improved IE9 Support

If you’ve had any trouble using drag and drop features in the dashboard or have had any problems with the Visual editor on the post creation screen when using Internet Explorer 9, sorry! Improvements have been made to make these features work smoothly in the latest Microsoft browser.

Good stuff, yeah? Things to bear in mind: these are new features, and though they’ve been worked on and tested for some time, you may find a bug we missed. If one of these features gives you any trouble, please let us know. You can leave a comment on this post within the next two weeks, talk about it in the forums, or contact support through the usual channels.

I hope you enjoy these additions as much as we enjoyed making them for you. Happy blogging!

Update: November 20, 2010 11:30am

Thanks to your reports we’ve been able to find and fix a couple of bugs that we didn’t encounter in our own advance testing.

  • We fixed a conflict with the CSS plugin wordpress.com uses (the incompatibility did weird things to content in the editor), so reported problems like content being all underlined or bolded unexpectedly should no longer be happening.
  • We fixed an issue with IE8 for internal linking. We are still working on issues with IE7. (But seriously, using outdated browsers is generally not a good idea. Update your browser!)

If you are still encountering issues with the new features, when you leave a comment or contact support, please state what operating system and browser you are using so we can troubleshoot faster. Examples: “I’m using Firefox 3.9 on Mac OSX 10.5.”  ”I’m using Google Chrome on Windows 7.”

Thanks!