Last night I installed WordPress 3.2 RC2 onto my laptop to test offline. I’m pleased with quite a few changes (some nice modifications in the Dashboard/Admin Panel, for example) and was happy to have the opportunity to play around with the brand new default theme, Twenty Eleven, in the comfort of my apartment.
Twenty Eleven includes a number of custom settings in a deceptively simple interface. Some features don’t show up at all until you’ve added something. Once I’d uploaded a second header, for instance, the option to use random images appeared. This is one feature I love about Suffusion and other premium themes — in my last redesign of the Phuket Bookworm blog I had over 700 images in the rotating header folder, which basically told the story of my six-plus years on the island. While I don’t plan on repeating that bit of craziness on Asian Meanderings (yet!), I was inspired enough to design three simple banners to appear randomly.
The Twenty Eleven theme also gives the option of having a dark or light theme (I prefer white lettering on black), left or right sidebars (or none at all — in fact, the no-sidebars template is actually the default on pages). Let’s not forget being able to add a custom background.
The administration back-end of WordPress 3.2 features a much cleaner look. The “add new post” page has removed a lot of the clutter so that the focus is on writing without distractions. You can collapse the side menu to gain some more monitor real estate. A few additional links have been added to the admin toolbar as well which will negate some of the reliance on the side menu. I’ve read that everything has been redesigned with speed of loading in mind. I haven’t noticed that using my local server installation but I’m looking forward to testing it online sometime.
While I’m still upset that I can’t use some of my beloved plugins online while I’m being hosted by WordPress.com, I’m very pleased overall with the upgrade. I have to admit I was quite frustrated with the whole process of blogging yesterday but now that I’ve found out that I can exercise my primitive design skills using the new default theme I’m really looking forward to customizing the live blog.
The second (and final) release candidate of WordPress 3.2 is available for download right now. I don’t recommend testing it on your online installation; there still might be some bugs so try it on a locally-installed version of your site. Of course, you can just wait until the final build is released to the public, mostly likely tomorrow.
Daily Writing Totals:
This Article – 436 words
Total Today — 436 words