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Wordpress Makes Great Strides Towards Being A Full Content Management System


I spent a large chunk of my day playing with Wordpress 3.0-beta. I must say that I am very impressed with the changes they have made. Doing a fresh install, I was very pleased with something I have wanted for years – the ability to chose your username and password at installation. I always considered the ‘admin’ username a security threat and would manually change the username in the database for any Wordpress sites I set up.

Something else I am very pleased with is the fact that Wordpress has finally folded the Wordpress-MU branch into core. I always wondered why it wasn’t done before. The difference between basic Wordpress and Wordpress-MU isn’t that major, so it seems like the right thing to do. Unfortunatley the multisite features of Wordpress 3.0 appear to be limited to either subdomains or paths, but there are Wordpress-MU plugins that work to handle custom domains.

Wordpress 3.0 will also have the ability to handle different content types. To me this was a missing key when it comes to Wordpress being considered a full-fledged CMS. In the past you could do some tricky stuff using categories as “post types”, but that wasn’t enough. If you wanted a content type that would handle extra fields or a different workflow, you were pretty much out of luck. This change should bring a lot of new plugins to handle the creation and management of different post types. I would almost expect plugins similar to Drupal’s Content Creation Kit and Views to come out in the near future.

So what’s missing? Well one thing that always bugged me with Wordpress was the missing ability to manage user permissions out of the box. There are some decent plugins out there that can handle this, but overall if Wordpress wants to compete in the full CMS market it needs better user management capabilities, including the ability to create new roles and change permissions right out of the box. With the new post type features, this really seems like a missing key. What if I want to create a “news” content type, but only let a couple of people post and/or manage the items in that post type? I would have to write a plugin to do that. Wordpress really needs the ability to handle this out of the box, and frankly, it could all be done by just adding one single page to the admin section.

I would also like to see a way for site administrators to set up allowable tags in the KSES input filter. Something along the line of Drupal’s input formats would be great and would go along great with the new post types feature. Imagine setting up a section of embedded videos you find on the internet. You could make a new content type, say ‘videos’ and assign an input format that allows the <embed> <object> and <param> tags. Yes there is a security risk with this, but if you aren’t allowing the whole world to post to this content type, then you would have no problem.

But putting those couple of missing items to the side, Wordpress has made great strides. It’s also a good thing for the world of open source content management systems, as the competition will provoke other CMS platforms like Joomla and Drupal to push the envelope that much more. The next couple of years should be very interesting for all the platforms out there.