A few weeks ago in Washington, DC, WordPress.com VIP hosted a half-day workshop focusing on WordPress in Government, which was co-sponsored by our friends at GovLoop.com. The workshop was a huge success and I wanted to take just a few moments to share with you some highlights from the day’s events.
First off, why government? WordPress powers close to 19% of the top 10 million websites on the planet and we’re seeing major growth in all areas. The government sector, from federal to the state level and all the way down to local cities and towns, is experiencing some major technology shifts which have led to big changes in the way average citizens relate to and get information from their government. It’s an exciting time to be a technologist or developer at any level of government and it’s leading to some really interesting opportunities for WordPress, as there’s real interest on the part of government to move towards open source software and the availability of responsive platforms that help deliver on-demand information and government services.
We wanted to showcase some of the innovation that’s happening with WordPress for the government sector, so we hosted a workshop at the District Architecture Center in Washington, DC. We gathered over 115 key technologists and decision makers who work inside and outside of the government to network and to hear some presentations about some innovative things happening with WordPress in government. The attendees represented a big cross-section of agencies and organizations and many discussions centered on what they’re currently doing with WordPress and how they plan to scale their platforms.
We had attendees from:
Department of State
Food and Drug Administration
Millennium/Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)
National Cancer Institute
Northrop Grumman Corporation
U.S. Postal Service
Patent and Trademark Office
Department of Health and Human Services
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Defense
Department of Commerce
We’ve gotten some great feedback so far on the content of the event, and over the next few weeks we’ll be posting various presentations from the workshop here on VIP News so that you can learn more what’s happening with WordPress in government.
Here are some of the presentations from the event (we’ll be adding more as they become available):
You can read through some of the tweets and real-time reaction that was taking place through the event on Twitter (see below). #WPGov tweets can be found here, and thanks again to GovLoop.com for partnering with us on the event.
We’ve been posting about the development of WordPress 3.6 over the past few months, and while the target launch is coming up later this month, many of these features are already available to WordPress.com users. Here’s a quick overview of the new editorial features.
Working in a multi-author environment? Post Locking lets you see at a glance who’s editing a post, and prevents authors from overwriting each other.
See Who Is Editing What Post
If you navigate to All Posts in your dashboard, you will be able to see who is editing what post.
Prevent Editors from Overwriting Each Other If you click on a post that another editor is working on, you will have three options to choose from: Go back, Preview, and Take over.
Know If Someone Else Is In Your Post If you are working on a post and someone takes over, this screen will prevent you from continuing to work on the post.
Log Out Notification
If for some reason you are logged out of WordPress while still in the dashboard (or editing a post), a pop-up notification will appear and allow you to log in right on the page, so that you won’t lose any work. Once you’ve logged back in, the pop-up will disappear and you will be right back where you left off.
The newly revamped Autosave takes advantage of your web browser’s storage to ensure that you never lose your work again, despite a wonky internet connection. If you are editing a post and suddenly get disconnected from the internet, you won’t lose your work. When you get reconnected, you’ll be able to restore the backup and the browser-stored content will simply pop up into your text editor.
WordPress 3.6 gives revisions an update, making it easy to scan through previous revisions and see edits or updates.
Avatars with Revisions
See at a quick glance on your “Edit Post” page who has previously edited a post.
See Changes Easily The new revisions page includes a slider that lets you move forward or backward through revisions, and colors additions in green and deletions in red.
Compare Revisions The “Compare Revisions” tool allows you to drag the slider to two different revisions and compare the differences.
New Look for Post Formats
Note: This feature is still in development. Post Formats got an updated look, which allows you to quickly toggle between different formats (i.e. quote, video, image) using a new bar at the top of “Edit Post.”
To switch to a different post format, simply click the icon at the top.
Manage Menus with Ease
If your theme supports Custom Menus, the interface to create anad manage these menus has been updated. Now, “Edit Menus” and “Manage Locations” are split into separate tabs. Step-by-step instructions on how to use Custom Menus can be found here.
On the WordPress.com Blog, we recently published a post on Search Engine Optimization for WordPress.com. It has a ton of great information relevant to authors on WordPress.com VIP, so please check it out and feel free to forward it to your colleagues.
Make sure to use short, easy-to-read post slugs that accurately describe what your posts are about. On WordPress.com, the post slug is the last part of your post title, which you can edit to be anything you like. For example, the slug “/buying-sailboats” is better than “/how-to-buy-a-beautiful-inexpensive-sailboat-on-Craigslist” or “/354.”
By the time Beta 1 rolls around, the core team will have the feature set complete, which means the time for bug testing 3.6 against your themes and plugins will have arrived. According to the 3.6 project schedule, the target date for 3.6 launch is April 29.
Autosave and Post Locking: The main goal of this update is so that users never lose a post. This is done by leveraging browser-level storage in modern browsers for situations where users lose their internet connections or their browsers crash. With this enhancement, edits are stored locally and synced back to WordPress at the next possible opportunity. If you are logged out while on an admin page, you will be notified and allowed to log in straight on the page so that you won’t lose your work. As for post locking, if you arrive on a page that is currently being edited, you will be given the option to “take over” or go back.
Revisions: The UI for comparing previous revisions of a post has been significantly updated, including a scrubber bar that allows the user to move forward or back in revisions, and colored text to indicate content that has been added or removed. Take a look at a rough mockup here.
Editorial Flow: This feature has been removed from the 3.6 cycle, but the team is planning to tackle it in future releases.
Menus: The UI for creating custom menus has been significantly cleaned up, with new checkboxes to select where the menu will be displayed in the theme, accordion styling to menu items (being tested), new help text and keyboard accessibility for rearranging menu items.
If you’re not familiar with Make WordPress Core, it’s a good blog to visit. It tracks the open-source development of WordPress, and is the homebase of much of the development discussion.
How do I get involved?
Want to help make WordPress better? Take a peek at the Core Contributor Handbook, or sit in on the weekly developer chat. They will need a lot of help with bug testing and squashing in the coming weeks. Lots of members of the VIP community contribute to core, so you’ll see familiar faces.
When is 3.6 coming to WordPress.com VIP?
Shortly prior to the release of 3.6 on WordPress.org, the 3.6 features will be merged into WordPress.com VIP. This will most likely happen in April, and we will be posting updates here in the weeks before to notify you. If you aren’t already, at that point you’ll need to be testing against trunk, getting the latest nightly build or even better, using an SVN checkout of trunk to test how your sites work on 3.6. You can also use the Beta Tester plugin to easily update beta releases and test.
No more screenshots or messy embed codes. Easy peasy.
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