WordPress 3 review

WordPress 3 also takes a major step forward with its Custom Menu handling. The platform has offered support for static web pages since 2005, but creating website navigation based on them was a challenge. Now you can quickly create multiple custom menus complete with page, post, category, tag and external links directly within your Dashboard and simply drag-and-drop items to control ordering.

The resulting menus can be displayed as sidebar widgets or, with supporting themes such as Twenty Ten, as an attractive horizontal site menu complete with drop-down and fly-out submenus. Chronological, post-based blogs remain the default but, thanks to custom menu handling, WordPress 3 makes it almost as easy to create traditional page-based websites.

In a further move away from its personal publishing roots, WordPress 3 rolls in multi-site, multi-user (MU) support. Previously, WordPress MU was a separate project, but now it’s built into core. Sensibly, you have to make some tweaks to unlock the new power so users who don’t need the capability aren’t exposed to the extra complexity.

WordPress 3 - new default theme

However, it’s generally straightforward to turn on MU handling and with it you can run multiple individual blogs from the same installation. If you need fine control over users and permissions you’d be better off with Joomla or Drupal, but MU is the same system that WordPress.com is built on so it certainly scales well.

Along similar lines, WordPress 3 is now able to boast advanced content management system (CMS) capabilities. You can create custom post types to move beyond the default post and page-based handling, to create dedicated entries for a movie database, for example. You can also set up custom taxonomies to move beyond WordPress’ default category and tag-based handling.

The potential of custom post types and custom taxonomies is enormous and it will be interesting to see what WordPress and its plugins deliver in future. For the moment, however, the new capabilities break away from the general WordPress principle of Dashboard-based handling to require hands-on PHP coding and, even then, fail to deliver serious control. If your planned project needs such advanced content handling, you’d be better off getting to grips with Drupal and its excellent CCK and Views extensions.

WordPress 3 isn’t the most powerful CMS available, then, but it does provide the simplest and quickest way to get up and running. In fact, it can also take you a surprisingly long way before you hit its limits, making it the best choice not just for personal blogs but also for many websites. Forget about buying Dreamweaver or hiring a web designer; with WordPress 3 you can almost certainly do it yourself.


Software subcategory Web development

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? yes
Operating system Mac OS X supported? yes

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