I recently downloaded and installed the WordPress 2.1 alpha on a production blog. There are a few changes that are quickly noticed by me, but nothing too crazy, despite what some people might be hoping. Things seem a little more slick, and I swear it runs a bit faster, and so thus far I have been happy. I find it works just as well as the current 2.0.4, for my needs anyways.
The first thing that I noticed is that the log in screen has been updated to the new graphics. I love the new Shuttle graphics and hope they continue to push forward the much more slick design.
Once you log in you’ll notice that the feeds look odd. All the fonts are too big, and that trend of big fonts carries over all over the place.
The tabbed based look for the main navigation looks great. Much better than the light blue highlight that WordPress 2.0.4.
Everything just looks a little more like they spent time on the presentation, and just flows better. One of my new favorite features/pages in the admin panel is under manage -> uploads. It is better than having it in the write post area in a little slot as is the case with 2.0.4. Which shows all the images I have uploaded in reverse chronological order.
One noticeable change is that Links has become Blogroll, and what I don’t like is that blogroll is now a category which shows up on basically all the themes I have tried by default. Very strange to have it be linked, managed and merged like that. This gets rid of the link categories menu and control structure, but I don’t like how they went about doing it.
Clicking Users does not bring you to your user profile any longer, it brings you to the list of users by default. I don’t know if I like this better or worse. On single user blogs, seeing the list of users first will be annoying, but if I am managing a blog with many usres, it would be annoying to see my profile by default all the time. I guess it does not really matter, but it is one of those small usability things that you notice, as it will either save you time, or cost you time.
The last thing that I want to not about the 2.1 alpha is that the fonts are all too big. Is the person that changed the size of the fonts blind? I know its the Web 2.0 thing to have all the fonts too big, but it makes what would otherwise be a slick update to the design look jagged and awkward.
Other than the little things I have noticed on the negative side. I have enjoyed using the alpha. I haven’t put it through the paces with plugins and strange themes and whatnot, but for the site I am testing it on, I don’t kneed to. As things continue to move forward, I might try a later 2.1 release with plugins and whatnot to see how useable 2.1 actually is (even before its final release).