WordPress 3.2 & New Default Theme

I love WordPress updates, they’re my favourite part of WordPress by far. Each major update brings all sorts of fun new goodies and brings the system just a little closer to perfection. I always feel a bit smug every time an awesome new update rolls out, because I know I picked the right platform to learn and recommend. WordPress 3.2 came out just a short while ago, and I’m pretty damn pleased.

The most noticeable change is a pretty dramatic one: a new admin panel design. The admin panel now looks a bit fresher and cleaner, but still very recognizable and familiar. With this update coming just a few days after Google started rolling out (more dramatic) interface changes, especially in Gmail and Google Calendar, I feel like my whole internet looks different, and I like it. I know a lot of people don’t like it when web apps change appearances (especially Facebook!) but personally I find it refreshing, most redesigns of major sites and apps are well thought out and for the better. With the notable exception of Gawker. I’m still mad about that.

My favourite new feature of WordPress 3.2 is the full-screen editing mode. In my other life as a Mac software reviewer, I’ve been seeing and reviewing a lot of these new ‘minimalistic’ writing apps, which are stripped down text editors with beautifully unobtrusive full-screen interfaces. I’ve hoped right on that bandwagon and do a lot of writing in Byword lately, and because it supports markdown, I’ve been using it to write my Appstorm reviews, then pasting them into WordPress.

Now that WordPress has a gorgeous full-screen (or full-browser) interface, I might have to switch to working right in the browser (once Appstorm updates to 3.2). Like the minimalist Mac apps, the toolbar is only there when you mouse over the top of the screen, and everything else fades away as you type. Very zen! It also has a handy keyboard shortcut cheat sheet thing, which is either new, or I only just noticed it. I love how WordPress uses common keyboard shortcuts like you’d use in desktop apps. My only complaint is that you can’t toggle the “kitchen sink” in full-screen mode.

New Default Theme: 2011

We’ve come a long way from Kubrik, the ubiquitous WordPress 2 default theme. I really like twenty-ten, and I’m enjoying using it while I develop my own theme. Twenty Eleven is similarly minimal and customizable, like Twenty Ten it also moves away from the obvious WordPress-ness of Kubrik.

Twenty Eleven is pretty wide, at 1000px, which I usually see as a bit of a ballsy move, but perhaps I’m still stuck in 2008. Still, that gives people with 1024px wide screens a scant 24px of breathing room!

Overall I really like the new theme, and it’s not a total replacement of Twenty Ten, which is still available as an option. I’m not sure what I think about the sans-serif font, I was just getting used to serifs! I don’t think I’ll update the theme on this blog, I don’t see the point since I plan on uploading my own theme pretty soon.

Hooray for pretty new things!

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