WordPress 3.0 “Thelonious” Available Now

One of the most eagerly anticipated WordPress releases in recent memory is now available for download (or just 1-click upgrade from within your dashboard).

So what’s new ?

Major new features in this release include a sexy new default theme called Twenty Ten.

Theme developers have new APIs that allow them to easily implement custom backgrounds, headers, shortlinks, menus (no more file editing), post types, and taxonomies. (Twenty Ten theme shows all of that off.) Developers and network admins will appreciate the long-awaited merge of MU and WordPress, creating the new multi-site functionality which makes it possible to run one blog or ten million from the same installation.

As a user, you will love the new lighter interface, the contextual help on every screen, the 1,217 bug fixes and feature enhancements, bulk updates so you can upgrade 15 plugins at once with a single click, and blah blah blah just watch the video. (In HD, if you can, so you can catch the Easter eggs.)

[ official announcement post on wordpress.org ]

Levi’s Selects WordPress for Pioneer Sessions

Exciting news that Levi’s has just launched a new site, Pioneer Sessions, using WordPress to showcase “pioneering musicians from rock, pop, soul, and rap to re-craft the classic songs that inspired their sound”:
http://www.levispioneersessions.com/

Conceived by Cornerstone and designed by Wieden+Kennedy, this site is definitely worth checking-out.

[ Visit levispioneersessions.com ]

Mashable on WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features

Good summary post from Brian Casel on Mashable today regarding WordPress 3.0: The 5 Most Important New Features:

WordPress has long been known as a dedicated blogging platform, giving users the tools they need to publish their message and interact with readers. However, with the official release of version 3.0, set to drop this month, the platform will be much closer, if not well within the territory of a content management system (CMS).

The list of new features in WordPress 3.0 isn’t very long in comparison to previous releases. However, the changes that are coming will certainly have a significant impact, particularly if you use WordPress as a CMS. Here is a rundown of the most important new features arriving in version 3.0.

Continue reading the full article.

Introducing VaultPress

We’re excited to announce the beta program for VaultPress, Automattic’s new service for protecting your WordPress-powered blogs and sites. Learn more about VaultPress and apply for the private beta at VaultPress.com.

Here’s more about the vision behind VaultPress from Matt Mullenweg’s announcement post:

The vision of VaultPress is to ensure that blogs and sites under its care are always completely secure, regardless of what happens. Today, this means every bit of content will be safe, from plugins and themes to the smallest comment or post revision, with WordPress-aware, real-time, multi-cloud backups. This is some of the most advanced technology I’ve seen interact with WordPress.

In the future, if your site is tampered with in any way, we’ll know within minutes and can take appropriate steps. The VaultPress core engine will be able to protect you against zero-day security vulnerabilities by updating your blog with hot-fixes, even while you sleep.

We built VaultPress to take the worry out of managing WordPress. We hope you’ll check out the beta and let us know what you think.

Relaunch of WordPress.com VIP Site and new VIP Support Options

As many of you know, the VIP program that we run provides two services. The first is exclusive bullet-proof hosting on our WordPress.com grid for high-profile and high-traffic sites. And the second is a program open to all where we provide developer-to-developer support on scaling and development projects for self-hosted WordPress sites.

Here’s a short video explaining the program:

We previously had separate sites for these two services, and recently decided to simplify the sites, and combine them into one, vip.wordpress.com .

For WordPress VIP Support, we also introduced new levels of support based on the feedback we’ve received this past year, including a top tier with a much requested on-site visit option.

What’s Next:
We have some exciting plans for the VIP program in 2010. First up, we will introduce a dedicated VIP Hosting portal for WordPress.com VIPs in the coming weeks, with documentation of all the special functions, lots of theme and system info, and best practice coding guidelines for WordPress.com. A bit further out we plan to streamline the support and ticketing system to provide a more complete 360 view of activity across multiple sites.

For VIP Support, expect new features and improvements to the private forum which will make finding answers more efficient and provide our team clearer information that will make the interactions better. And starting this year, we now include support for BuddyPress as part of VIP Support, and we are already seeing that become a bigger part of many of the larger WordPress powered sites.

[ For more information, please visit vip.wordpress.com ]

WordPress and Windows Azure

This week I had a unique opportunity to appear at Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference in Los Angeles, to demo four open source technologies — WordPress, Apache, MySQL, PHP — running on Microsoft’s new EC2 competitor called Azure.

WordPress and Windows Azure probably aren’t the first two things you’d think of together. WordPress has been free and open source software from the very beginning, Windows not so much, but we’ve always supported as many platforms as possible and for at least 4 years now you could run WP on Windows and IIS (Internet Information Services).

Choice and competition are great for spurring innovation and better for users and I believe open source software is a good thing even if it’s on a proprietary platform. (Just like we have an open source iPhone application, or encourage people to use Firefox on Windows.)

If you’re interested, check out the full transcript of the keynote from PDC or watch the video of the keynote.

We also created this FAQ in case you had more questions about what was announced.

What did you announce about WordPress at Microsoft PDC 09?
As part of the introduction of the Windows Azure platform, we announced that self-hosted WordPress can be run in an Azure environment on an open source stack of Apache, MySQL, and PHP. Showing MySQL in particular at a Microsoft conference was unusual.

Are you moving WordPress.com to Azure?
No. WordPress.com, which is Automattic’s hosted blogging service, is going to stay on its existing infrastructure. Martin Cron from the Cheezburger Network launched a new blog Oddly Specific on Azure, which some people confused with Automattic.

Do you use Azure at all?
Yes, we’ve been testing out their blob storage as an alternative to Amazon S3 and Rackspace Cloudfiles. We don’t currently use it in production.

Doesn’t this conflict with your open source orientation?
No. We actually think it’s going to help the spread of open source to have the Free and open Web stack get more support and deployment through Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure, which they’re investing quite a bit in. Besides, as I like to say, once you get a taste of Freedom it’s hard to go back. :)

WordCamp NYC 2009

WordCamp NYC will be held this weekend, November 14th and 15th. It’s a great get together for the New York, and the extended, community of WordPress-loving bloggers and developers:
wordcamp-nyc-2009

With an amazing lineup of speakers, over 525 people already registered, and 8 session tracks – there is something for everyone.

Myself and several colleagues from Automattic are flying in for this event, and I’m personally excited to see the track devoted to CMS use featuring case studies of current publishers.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s $45 for both days, or just $25 for Sunday. More details available on 2009.newyork.wordcamp.org.

[ Visit WordCamp NYC 2009 and WordCamp.org for other WordCamps happening all over the world ]

2009 Open Source CMS Report Released

WordPress was one of three leaders in both rate of adoption and brand strength as measured in the 2009 Open Source Content Management System Market Share Report. The second edition of this report, authored by water&stone and CMSWire, was released today and concludes that three brands – WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal – are dominating today’s market for open source CMS. The report looks at download rates, evaluation and trial usage, and third party support to estimate adoption. Brand strength is evaluated by assessing search engine rankings, Google PageRank, mindshare, social media prominence and reputation.

We’re happy to see WordPress recognized again as a strong CMS option for publishers. The free 96-page report is available at CMSWire.

Source: 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report, water&stone and CMSWire (2009)

Source: 2009 Open Source CMS Market Share Report, water&stone and CMSWire (2009)

After the Deadline

After the Deadline, an amazing next-generation contextual spelling and grammar checker, is now part of Automattic and the service is live on WordPress.com. For self-hosted WordPress publishers, grab the plugin at WordPress.org.

Here is a brief video overview showing how it works:

WordPress for BlackBerry Beta Available Now

The beta version of WordPress for Blackberry, a native application, is now available for download.

Details about the beta and how to get involved in this Open Source project are available on the blackberry.wordpress.org site.

Below is also a quick video overview of the app:

[ Visit blackberry.wordpress.org ]