I’m not a bleeding edge kind of guy. I don’t generally install new software right away. I wait for the bugs to be worked out. I let a couple minor revisions go by. Then, I upgrade, but only if there’s something that the new version has that I need.
So why am I so frustrated with WordPress? After all, it was less than a year ago that I was complaining that new releases of the blogging software were annoyingly frequent. A delay in the release of WordPress 2.5 shouldn’t be a big deal.
Here’s why it is, though: last year, I decided to skip every other upgrade for WordPress. Since their schedule called for new major releases every four months, that would mean that I’m upgrading the product every eight months. That’s a good pace. It keeps me from falling too far behind, and yet it means that I still have time to do other things, too. I have 70 blogs installed on my server, and upgrading them is a daunting task. Add to that the needs for retraining staff and re-writing the blog-auto-generation scripts that I use, and the every-other-release approach makes a lot of sense.
So last year, I upgraded WordPress in the spring when version 2.2 came out. I re-wrote the getting started guide, configured the blog-generation script to use the new versions, and made sure all of our plugins and themes work correctly. In the fall, then, I skipped version 2.3. It introduced tagging for the first time, and when it was released, it was supposed to be a transition between categories and tags. All of this was to be finalized in 2.4, when the transition to tags would be complete. Rather than confuse myself and my users with the tags vs. categories debate, I was happy to wait for 2.4 to be released in December. That way, I could spend some time getting used to it over break, and implement it when returning to school in January.
But 2.4 was canceled. The WordPress people realized that their schedule was a bit overly-ambitious, and they skipped 2.4 in favor of 2.5. No problem. I’ll just wait for 2.5. It’s scheduled for release on March 10. That gives me two weeks to play with it, and then over spring break I can install it for some of my teachers.
March 10 came and went. The release date was pushed back to the 17th, but that date has passed now, too. Officially, the release date is now March 21, but we’re starting to see how reliable these dates are.
Looking at the WordPress Trac (which manages the software development), there are still 374 active tickets for 2.5. That’s not a big deal. Many of these are minor problems or feature requests that will ultimately be pushed to the next version. What is a problem is that there are still nine high-priority defects at the moment, with new items being added all the time. We have also just begun to see release candidates. Translation: we’re probably not going to see 2.5 by Friday. I’d be very surprised to see it before April 1. Add to that the inevitable patches and security releases that follow a major update, and I probably won’t be comfortable using it on my blog before mid-April. Then, I can start figuring out which plugins are going to work, and how things are going to change for the teachers in my district using blogs. I’m also strongly considering a move to the multi-user version of WordPress, but I’ll have to investigate how that will affect the current blogs.
Hopefully, we’ll be switched over to the new system for new blogs before the end of the school year. That way, teachers starting new blogs over the summer won’t have to upgrade. In the meantime, if you want to play with the development version of WordPress 2.5, you can do so on Chris Johnston’s site.