There are a number of third-party hosted blogging solutions out there, but relying on an outside company can be costly. Even when the basic software is free, advanced features, such as password protection for individual posts, can incur a charge.
WordPress, by comparison, is open source, highly configurable and completely free. You just download the software from the WordPress website, change a few lines in a file so it knows how to access your MySQL database, then upload everything to your server. Importing entries from another blog is also very simple.
For this major new release of WordPress the developers have focused their efforts on the area you’ll spend most of your time in — the writing interface.
Particularly impressive is the ability to cut and paste text from other web pages. WordPress manages to keep all the original HTML formatting so that, for example, all the links work just as they did on the source page.
Unfortunately, because Safari and older versions of Opera are not capable of properly supporting the new text editor, the facility is disabled in those browsers.
You can still enter HTML tags manually but, if you want the new, user-friendly text editing you’ll have to use a different browser, such as Firefox or Camino.
Previewing posts has also been improved. Rather than being displayed as plain text below the editor, the post is now displayed in an embedded frame, using all of the layout and CSS that is normally applied to your site.
Many of the other changes in WordPress 2.0 are under the hood, however changes that make it easier for developers to create plug-ins should result in some powerful new extensions available on the web soon. The downside is that many of the older plug-ins and templates for previous versions of WordPress won’t be compatible with version 2.0.
WordPress is one of the best blogging solutions on the market. It’s highly configurable, gives you complete control over your blog and best of all it’s totally free. The new text-editing tools make it well worth upgrading.