File Under: Blog Publishing

In Walked Blog: WordPress Hits 3.0 With ‘Thelonious’

WordPress, one of the most popular blogging platforms on the web, reached a new milestone Thursday with its 3.0 release.

This one is nicknamed “Thelonious,” and you can run an update your own WordPress installation by clicking on the update link at the top of your blog dashboard. It’s also available for download.

The big news is that WordPress MU, a multisite tool that can be used to run a whole network of blogs, has become one of WordPress’ default features. You can now manage as many different blogs as you want from one single WordPress installation.

There are a number of updates to the user-facing part of WordPress. The admin has been redesigned: It’s been slimmed down and made easier to navigate with a more accessible layout and color scheme. Some of the menu choices have been renamed to be more descriptive.

There are also new contextual help tabs on every panel inside the admin, so it’s less likely you’ll be left wondering, “what’s this do?” For promoting your posts on Twitter, there’s a new tool that lets you generate a short URL for your post as you’re composing it.

The WordPress team has built a new default theme called “Twenty Ten” to show off all the new features in Thelonious. Much like Kubrick, the old default theme, Twenty Ten is pretty minimal, but it’s a good starting point for learning how to tweak and customize WordPress.

For theme developers and site administrators, WordPress 3.0 has a number of enhancements. The new MU integration is a big plus if you’re running a blog network, or even two different sites that share resources and authors. There’s also a new set of APIs you can use to make building custom headers, backgrounds, menus and custom post types easier. To see the full list of enhancements, see the list at the WordPress Codex.

Here’s a video tour of the new stuff:

Webmonkey’s entire website uses WordPress. Most of Wired.com, too. We’ve used several open source publishing platforms over the years, from home-cooked template solutions built with XSSI, to MediaWiki (which we still use on the How-To Wiki). But WordPress is the easiest we’ve found for managing a fast-moving, multi-author environment.

The name Thelonious is a tribute to the jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. The nickname also gives a nod to two other popular web platforms, “Rhythm-A-Ning” and “Ruby on Rails My Dear.” Any relation to Django and Ellington is purely coincidental.

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Monk photo courtesy Library and Archives Canada/CC/Wikimedia Commons