Looking forward to WordPress 2.9

The release of WordPress 2.9 is still a little way off. However, there’s already enough to get excited about. I’ve seen some of the media stuff, which allows you to crop and rotate images when you upload them, and it’s brilliant. It’s still a little rough around the edges, but it’s not finished yet so that’s to be expected. They’ve also updated TinyMCE to the latest version. Since the visual editor continues to be the bane of my existence, I’m always happy to see improvements to it. However, I’m a plugin author and programmer, so these front end changes aren’t what I’m most excited about.

They have changed how contact methods in a user’s profile are handled. Now, thanks to Joost they are completely filterable. You can add and remove contact fields as you please, making your user info exactly what you want it to be. For example, if you don’t use Yahoo Messenger but you do use Twitter, you can simply do this:

function twitterNotYim( $contactmethods ) {
	// Add Twitter
	$contactmethods['twitter'] = 'Twitter';

	// Remove Yahoo IM
	unset($contactmethods['yim']);

	return $contactmethods;
}

add_filter('user_contactmethods','twitterNotYim');

They’ve also added PUT support to the WP_Http class. Ever since the class was added in 2.7, I’ve been enjoying the ease and reliability it offers for making HTTP requests. It’s finally fleshing out to be a full featured API, and I use it in everything from Twitter Widget Pro to my PayPal Framework.

Lastly, and the most exciting thing in my opinion, is the new JSON class. JSON, short for JavaScript Object Notation, is a lightweight computer data interchange format. It is a text-based, human-readable format for representing simple data structures and associative arrays (called objects). It has quickly become a standard for both AJAX calls as well as transferring data between sites. Popular sites like Twitter, Flickr, and del.icio.us all offer JSON versions of their APIs which allow for faster applications due to the reduced transfer. Twitter Widget Pro now uses this class (I packaged it with the plugin for those not using 2.9 yet).

About Aaron D. Campbell

Owner and lead developer at BlueDog, Aaron has 10+ years of web development experience, it a regular core contributor to the WordPress project, and has released many WordPress plugins.
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