There are a couple of nice features that have been implemented in WordPress.com:
The wp.com dashboard feeds are now back, here’s a screenshot:
As you can see, the planet WordPress feeds are now gone, replaced by the top wp.com blogs and the latest wp.com posts.
Some other bugs have also been fixed now, including one that in my opinion could have gotten wp.com in real trouble.
Not that I’m going to tell you what it was.
Hopefully the ability to edit templates will be available soon, if not wp.com might just loose a good bunch of customers.
That’s about it for this week.
I’ve been a lucky wp.com (alpha?) user for a few days, and so far this has been my experience with WordPress.com:
The registration process went smoothly, specially because I didn’t even need an invite (thanks Flock).
Logging in is as simple as doing it in any WordPress Blog, and the remember me checkbox is really cool, because I now can choose either to have a sesion cookie, or a permanent one (great if you aren’t home and don’t want to waste a minute of your life deleting cookies after posting to your blog, you don’t even have to logout).
After logging in, you are redirected to the usual dashboard, and the first thing you will notice is that the same structure is being used, but now with more friendly colors, and the Feedback button (in it’s AJAXy goodness ) let’s you tell Matt and Donncha everything you want, ranging from support questions (of course wp.com related), to telling them how much you love wp.com, or how much you hate it?(highly unlikely).
In the Dashboard you can see the usual WordPress development blog’s feed, as well as the developers feed, and in my fisrt day of testing, a cool ‘recent wp.com posts’ section with links to the most recent posted entries in wp.com (duh!), the usual ‘What Blogs link here’ link is also available, but as expected, it depends highly on technorati’s server availability, which in the last time has becomed very unreliable, which makes the link not show most of the times.
[EDIT] Technorati’s servers seems to behave the way they should right now, the link is showing :).
Another of the new features is this WYSIWYG editor (I’m using it to post all my entries). It lets you choose the text alignment, add smilies, pictures, and a lot more.
The ‘Write Post’ area has had a major redesign, and now you can move all the toolbars (categories, post status, password, post slug, etc) to anywhere you want, and the text box for writing posts is resizeable, so now you can set it to whatever height you want without the pain of digging through the code.
Posting pictures has also become easier, thanks to the WYSIWYG editor, which let’s you add a picture, it’s description and the alignment without knowing a bit of HTML or CSS.
Some of the 1.5 features remain virtually untouched, like the Links section.
Since WordPress.com is powered by WordPress MU, there are of course some limitations:
A user can’t edit the templates, though this has a very logical explanation: security, letting unknown people add code that your server executes can cause havoc on any site, and could even bring the whole service down, though I’m sure that wp.com uses various servers and many databases.
All wp.com users get a 100 MB share (for images, mp3s and movies), more than enough if you only plan to upload a picture or two per post, but if you are looking for more space to host files, the 100MB (and the 1MB/file limit) just won’t do. If you need more space and control over the blog, you might want to go for the regular WordPress, which you can install by yourself and host it whereever you want, so posibilities are unlimited.
About the plugins: well there aren’t many, but some really needed ones are already being use, amongst them are (not sure if all of them are actually there, just guessing) Wp-Hashcash, Recent Referrers, Paginate, and some others, but still, some very useful plugins are missing:
subscribe to comments, recent comments, extended live archives, a contact form (maybe Intouch?), a grammar checking tool, a subscribe to blog plugin and some other that could help wp.com really become a blogs community, maybe a recent posts from other wp.com, a la dashboard but without the bugs (just kidding Donncha, I know you’ll fix them really soon ), and other community things like ‘other wp.com blogs that link here’.
After all, only time can show if wp.com is really going to make serious competition for Typepad, but if the wp.com development team (Matt and Donncha i guess..) continue doing things like now, updating the service and adding new features everyday, as well as answering support and feedback emails on a record time for people that I’m sure have a lot of other things to do, wp.com can easily beat Typepad.
Oh, and there’s the fact that it’s invite-only (remember Gmail.. ), and FREE (at least right now, and I think i read it will remain free, at least a ‘basic package’).