graphic-14-wordpress-logo1One of the most anticipated releases of the Summer occurred recently. No, I’m not talking about Apple’s new iPhone 4G. I’m referring to WordPress 3.0. Many new and exciting features came with this release. I have spent some time reviewing these features and I cannot wait until I have the chance to really dive into them and start to experiment. For now, though, I would like to share some of the best new features available with WordPress 3.0, along with some resources to help you get started with them.

Custom Post Types

One of the biggest new features in WordPress 3.0 is the functionality called custom post types. This makes WP’s  ability to act as a CMS even more powerful and negates the need for vast numbers of custom fields and plug ins. Basically, it gives the WordPress site unlimited taxonomies for classifying blog posts, and allows the theme developer the ability to style each post type differently. Previously, WordPress’s lack of this functionality has made it inferior to other classic CMS platforms such as Joomla and Drupal.

More information on Custom Post Types:
Rock-Solid WordPress 3.0 Themes using Custom Post Types
Custom post types in WordPress

Post Editor Style

This functionality gives WordPress’s post editor the ability to style its contents exactly like the style on the blog post’s front end. Up until now, the only available font for the post editor was Georgia, making authors have to continuously save and preview their changes.

Custom Backgrounds

Now, with the proper coding, you can have the ability to change backgrounds (images and/or colors) from within the WordPress Admin Panel.

Custom Headers

This is not a totally new feature with WordPress, but version 3.0 has added functionality to allow users the ability to change header images on the fly.

Better Menu Management

With WordPress 3.0, creating and managing menus has gone from hard coding template files to drag and drop in the Admin Panel. Prior to 3.0, creating menus involved hard coding a mixture of page lists, category lists, and static links. This meant you had to change the hard code within the theme’s template files. This tedious process is no longer necessary as 3.0 introduces “drag and drop” functionality to menu creation, similar to the way in which WordPress handles sidebar widgets in the Admin Panel. As WordPress’s codex puts it, this new functionality “allows [the] creation of custom menus combining posts, pages, categories, tags, and links for use in theme menus or widgets.”

More information on Menu Management:
Goodbye, headaches. Hello, menus!
Everything you wanted to know about WordPress 3.0 Menu Management

Individual Author Templates

WordPress 3.0 now allows for author-specific templates, allowing each author’s page to be styled differently.

More information on Individual Author Templates:
Simple Guide to Creating Custom Author Templates With WordPress 3.0

Multi-Site Functionality

Before 3.0, if you wanted to run multiple WordPress sites on a single install, you would have to use WordPress MU. However, release 3.0 now gives you the ability to run multiple WordPress sites from a single install.

More information on Multi-Site Functionality:
WordPress 3.0: Multisite Domain Mapping Tutorial

Set Username and Password During Installation

Installing earlier versions of WordPress meant that a default username of  “admin”, and a dynamically-created password were created for the installer. Many WordPress users kept that default account, making their site more susceptible to hackers. With cracking programs generally available on the Internet an experienced hacker could get into your site within a maximum of 8 hours. Now, with 3.0, you are able to create your account upon installing the platform, making your site’s security even better.

New Default Theme

Twenty-Ten is the new default theme for WordPress 3.0. It is designed with many of the new features within 3.0, including menus, author templates, custom headers and backgrounds, and custom post types. So long, Kubrick!

For more information about WordPress 3.0, please visit the following sites:

WordPress Codex: Version 3.0
One Xtra Pixel: 8 New Exciting WordPress 3.0 Features
Mashable: Get Up-to-Date on WordPress 3.0

Will you be upgrading to WordPress 3.0?  Have you already?  Share your thoughts, experiences, and comments.