A few days ago, WordPress 3.5 was released and I originally planned to write the typical "what is new in WordPress" article similar to what I've done in the past for CMS Report. However, I thought this time around I would also discuss how I'm using WordPress to support the website of one of my favorite photographers, Karen Ruby of Dakota Imagery. Certainly, in this article there is no cause for you to suspect my opinions are biased with regard to her photography skills despite the fact we've been married for 11 years and she is the mother of my child. In this article, my goal is to not only provide WordPress and CMS users something interesting to read but also to point photographers to a WordPress package that my wife and I have found works quite nicely to support her photography business.
As I'm writing this article, I'm currently in the process of updating my wife's WordPress website from WordPress 3.4 to WordPress 3.5. My wife is a photographer that over the years has evolved from amateur status to professional. When it was time to build her a new website (she had been using a SaaS site heavily weighed in Flash) we decided to keep it simple and use WordPress. Updating WordPress to the latest version only takes a click of the "Update Now" button and you're good to go. The process is generally painless and she usually doesn't require my assistance, but this time around we needed to wait on the availability of a newer version of Photocrati compatible with WP 3.5 before updating.
Photocrati is one of the most popular WordPress themes for photographers but Photocrati is also more than just a theme. When you purchase Photocrati you are also provided with the necessary plugins and configuration needed for an all-in-one website solution with homepage, gallery management, blogging, Ecommerce, iPhone/iPad compatibility, strong copyright protection, and lots of customization possibilities (no coding needed). I could have gone the "free route" and rounded up the necessary plugins, themes, and time to put the site together myself but saving me from these headaches was well worth Photocrati's asking price (currently $89). When push comes to shove, admittedly my wife is also more comfortable to using a site designed by and for other photographers than what her highly IT skilled but camera challenged husband would have provided her left to his own devices.
Yesterday evening we received an email notifying us that a newer version of Photocrati, 4.5 is available and compatible with WordPress 3.5. Hence, I spent my Saturday morning backing up the website and getting ready for the update. Whenever we update the software there is only about a fifty-fifty chance that my wife will appreciate the new features and changes provided by the upgrade. Like a lot of small business owners, she prefers consistency in her workflow over change unless the changes provide are significant improvements. This time around, I'm not sure the new features and changes in WordPress and Photocrati provide a significant improvement for her to notice. Regardless of her wishes, as an IT guy sensitive to security and the need for bug fixes she gets the upgrades whether she likes it or not. In the past, I've found the consequences of not upgrading to be more severe than not doing the upgrade at all.
With regards to Photocrati, the upgrade from 4.4 to 4.5 is rather minor and mainly resolves compatibility and bug issues. Here is what's new in Photocrati 4.5:
I'm a big believer that small business and home-business owners alike choose a CMS they can manage themselves and allows them to rely minimally on others. Paying for a costly website that is difficult to manage and requires you to constantly call IT support is going to eat away at your profits. While I could provide free IT support to my wife, she runs the site as if she was on her own. For the most part, she alone is the one that has chosen the layout of her site, provide personal customization of her site, manages her photo galleries, and provides her customers with Ecommerce (shopping cart) options. She still gets frustrated from time to time with administering the website, but overall she's found that WordPress and Photocrati is the solution that works for her as a photographer.
But alas, this article isn't just about Photocrati but also the new features and changes found in WordPress 3.5. Probably the the most dramatic new change WordPress users will notice is a completely re-imagined flow for uploading photos and creating galleries. Attached below, I've provided some of the highlights of changes in Wordpress 3.5 since WordPress 3.4 was released. For those that prefer to wait until the "movie" comes out, I've also embedded the video found in the WordPress 3.5 release announcement.
Highlights of the new features and improvements found in WordPress 3.5 include:
New Default Theme - Twenty Twelve
- Simple, flexible, elegant
- Mobile-first, responsive design
- Gorgeous Open Sans typeface
- Uses the latest Theme Features
- Beautiful interface: A streamlined, all-new experience
- Create galleries faster with drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls
- Insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click
- New Welcome Screen
- Retina-Ready (HiDPI) Admin
- Hide Link Manager for new installs
- Better accessibility for screenreaders, touch devices, and keyboard users
- More polish on admin screens, including a new color picker
- WP_Comment_Query and WP_User_Query accept now meta queries just like WP_Query
- Meta queries now support querying for objects without a particular meta key
- Post objects are now instances of a WP_Post class, which improves performance and caching
- Multisite's switch_to_blog() is now significantly faster and more reliable
- TinyMCE, jQuery, jQuery UI, and SimplePie have all been updated to the latest versions
- Image Editing API for cropping, scaling, etc., that uses ImageMagick as well as GD
- XML-RPC: Now always enabled and supports fetching users, managing post revisions, searching
- New "show_admin_column" parameter for register_taxonomy() allows automatic creation of taxonomy columns on associated post-types. [more info]
Bryan Ruby is the owner and editor for CMS Report. He founded CMSReport.com in 2006 on the belief that information technologists, website owners, and web developers desired visiting sites where they could learn about content management systems without the sales pitch. Besides this site, you can follow Bryan at Google+ and Twitter.