I’ve been using it! Okay, so I’m not going to talk about all the great stuff coming up in 2.9, all the bugs they’ve fixed, all the features they’ve added, no. I’d just like to tell you about my experience running a step ahead of everybody else. When WordPress has made the switch from 2.7 to 2.8 I’ve decided to risk it and take the 2.9 path. I’m not sure why everybody’s talking about that new beta testers plugin being released, but I bet that a “beta tester” or at least somebody who wants a ride at the 2.9 branch do know how to use their FTP client. More advanced “testers” do this via shell. Oh come on, I mean how difficult could it be to locate one single file, download it, edit and upload back to your server? I could bet $20 that it’s way faster than installing that plugin.
Anyways, back to my WordPress 2.9. Nightly updates are being released every day, I make sure to update at least once every two weeks. And everytime I felt the blog apocalypse coming, although I do have daily server backups, but downtime to me is so crucial. The best part of it is that I’ve never seen anything crash, really, all the plugins are working like a charm, my theme has (almost) never been broken, so I hope it stays that way. In case you’re experiencing any problems, make sure you report to the plugins and themes authors, and do state you’re running a development version, I’m sure they’ll note it down and get back at you a few weeks before the release ;)
So what’s the big deal about running ahead? Well, if you’re a WordPress plugin developer then you know what the big deal is. Whenever an update comes out you see your plugins crashing and malfunctioning and “a few weeks” may not be enough sometimes, though WordPress warns about checking all the plugins compatibility before upgrading, theme compatibility, blah blah blah. Users don’t do that. They upgrade and that’s it. If your plugin stopped working, they go find themselves one that’s okay. There, you’ve just lost a client.
When running a step ahead you’ve got all the time to test and debug your work and get it ready for the upgrade. But why not locally? Motivation, motivation, motivation. Whenever something doesn’t work locally, you go have a snack, lie on the couch, watch some tv, play some video games.. I could go on. When your online blog stops working, you sit all night and fix it. Well at least that’s what I do ;) but be careful not to forget about back compatibility, as you don’t want to be stuck at 2.9 while it hasn’t yet been released, and everybody running 2.8 get those nasty error messages! Also be careful playing with the new features and try to stick to the current stable release as much as possible.
One more interesting thing about using a higher branch than the stable, is that when the WordPress guys find out a critical bug in the current stable (just like in 2.8.3 for instance) there’ll be loads of people searching for 2.8.3 blogs and trying to hack them of whatever, but yours wouldn’t count ;) perhaps breaking a development version would be too easy for them “hackers” ;)
Anyways, I hope the testing goes well, 2.9 is released and I’ll finally be able to make my switch to 3.0, which is already marked in the WordPress Core Trac Roadmap. I’ve tried switching the branch to 3.0 today but with no luck, back to 2.9-rare after the nightly upgrade.
So, good luck may the power of WordPress be with you! ;)