WordPress 3.1 Features

What are the new features in WordPress 3.1? Many of you have read the WP 3.1 release and some have upgraded but don’t know what the big fuss is about. Let’s go over some of the really neat features introduced in WordPress 3.1.

Post Formats

This will be the most talked about feature in the WP 3.1 release. Post Formats support definitely takes WordPress to a new level of CMS capabilities, and we’re quite excited about it here at Gabfire Themes. In short, Post Formats allow you to choose a format that determines how the post is displayed. In concept, it is similar to Page Templates, however there is a standardized set of options that can be used. Available formats can be found on the WordPress Codex here and are shown below:

  • aside – Typically styled without a title. Similar to a Facebook note update.
  • gallery – A gallery of images. Post will likely contain a gallery shortcode and will have image attachments.
  • link – A link to another site. Themes may wish to use the first <a href= tag in the post content as the external link for that post. An alternative approach could be if the post consists only of a URL, then that will be the URL and the title (post_title) will be the name attached to the anchor for it.
  • image – A single image. The first <img /> tag in the post could be considered the image. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL, that will be the image URL and the title of the post (post_title) will be the title attribute for the image.
  • quote – A quotation. Probably will contain a blockquote holding the quote content. Alternatively, the quote may be just the content, with the source/author being the title.
  • status – A short status update, similar to a Twitter status update.
  • video – A single video. The first <video /> tag or object/embed in the post content could be considered the video. Alternatively, if the post consists only of a URL, that will be the video URL. May also contain the video as an attachment to the post, if video support is enabled on the blog (like via a plugin).
  • audio – An audio file. Could be used for Podcasting.
  • chat – A chat transcript, like so:

WordPress Admin Bar

The one feature you’ll notice right away after upgrading to WP 3.1 is the new Admin Bar at the top of your site. See a screenshot of my admin bar below:

This is a great enhancement which lets you access all the most used functions in the dashboard. The administration bar gives you one-click access to adding new posts or pages, to Menus, or to your comments. I’m already using it quite extensively, and you’ll certainly find it speeds up publishing of posts and basic administration of site content.

Easy Internal Linking

Ever spent time tracking down the URL to a previous post on your blog? We all have, including me. Luckily, this handy feature gives us quick and easy access to internal links so we can better navigate our readers. Simply search for a term and select the corresponding post or page you wish to internally link. What’s more is that internal linking helps your site from a SEO perspective as well. We’re sure this is certainly going to be well-received by everyone. See below for a screenshot:

Less Panels in Write Mode

You may be wondering where certain panels have gone from your Edit Post screen. Less frequently used panels have been hidden from the screen so you can focus more on writing good content. But if you want them back, just click on Screen Options at the top right and check off the panels to be shown. Here’s a screenshot of the Screen Options drop-panel where you can select the panels you want displayed:

Advanced Taxonomy Queries

The average user will not care much about this, but advanced taxonomies will allow greater flexibility to developers for running complex queries using custom fields, tags, or any combination of data points.


The team at WordPress.org did a fantastic job on this release. We congratulate them on the accomplishment and look forward to what they have in store for WP 3.2. Until then, there are several more great features not discussed here and you can read about them over at the WordPress Codex. In the meantime, we at Gabfire Themes will be thinking up creative ways to incorporate these features into future themes.

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