Not quite hot off the wire, but WordPress version 2.6 was released two weeks ago. Given I reviewed version 2.5 for the Enterprise Social Software Report 2008, I was eager to find the answers to three questions and took my time to run it through its paces. First of all, did they finally manage to make the upgrade a painless process? And secondly, would it affirm the sense I got that blog software keeps moving toward fully-fledged WCM software?
As for that upgrade: I'm happy to report that when testing this, it was pretty flawless. In the past, it has often been a painful process, usually because of incompatibilities in either plugins or templates. Of course, this upgrade was relatively minor, but all of my plugins still worked and my templates weren't broken (though there are some possible issues, especially with the changed configuration files). I still haven't managed to get the automatic upgrading of plugins through the interface to work, though.
The second question: is blog software becoming more like "regular" WCM software? Well, WordPress has certainly come a long way since the original b2 that got the project started. As with other pure-play blog software, such as Movable Type, an increasing number of the features we tend to see in WCM software are creeping into these products. Both, for instance, now contain some rudimentary DAM functionality (enough to upload, resize, and reuse images, at least). And in 2.6, WordPress now outdoes both Movable Type and Blogger: it's the first to offer versioning. It's still pretty basic stuff, but at least you can now revert to an older version of your post or page if need be, and they've managed to keep it as easy to use as most other features in the product. I think that using WordPress as a real WCMS is still a bit too clunky, though, probably as much using a WCMS (or SharePoint) to blog. There's a serious risk WordPress might evolve into a mediocre WCMS in the future, instead of the purposeful blog software it is now.
Oh, and yes, I said three questions in that first paragraph, not just two: is Blogger ever going to catch up? In our social software report, I mentioned development of Google's blogging service has been slow. As I check the Blogger Buzz, I can't help but notice its most recent improvement has been adding Malay to the supported languages. That's nice, but if Google isn't careful, the main reason for users to stick around will be that they are stuck to their blogspot.com URL...