Semiologic Pro users with an up to date site will not be seeing it in their dashboard, since I’ve been modifying the way that upgrades are handled in recent months. But 6.0 has finally been released — fully 10 months after 5.7.1.
The key highlights for old time users who haven’t upgraded in a year… (Those who did will find today’s earlier post on Version Checker more interesting.)
The first and most important change is a new theme. The legacy theme has lived its time and is now officially deprecated. I’ll keep maintaining it until something major breaks. It won’t happen in WP 2.9, but it might in WP 3.0. Thus, please do yourself a favor if you’re still using it, and switch to the new Semiologic theme — code-named Semiologic Reloaded while it was being developed.
The new theme has a whole bunch of skins (nearly 60 as I write); new layouts; a custom CSS editor; it upgrades from the WP admin interface without losing your custom.css files; and many more toys that users are have been playing with since its initial alpha last year.
Migrating from the old theme to the new one is a three step process: activate the new theme, pick a new skin, and re-upload your header if necessary (the new widgets are 950px, 750px and 620px).
The second important change is Version Checker v.2. Version Checker re-invents the way installs and upgrades are conducted, allowing to eliminate the need to upgrade everything at once. This should make the software-development process much more dynamic than it has been in the past three years. As a bonus, it works without a hiccup on every host we’ve tried it on.
While we’re on the topic, I’d like to stress that there will be no public Semiologic Pro 6.1 announcement: the theme and the plugins can all be upgraded independently, so there isn’t much point in giving a version number to the package as a whole — except for internal use.
The third noteworthy change is Mediacaster v.2. It includes the unbranded FLV Player from Long Tail Video, and comes complete with Video Ad Support. The media files are now uploaded straight through WP, and the video player allows for on-the-fly snapshot creation.
Google Analytics v.4 is certainly worth a mention as well. It automatically tracks ads inserted using the Ad Manager plugin, media usage when combined with Mediacaster, newsletter subscriptions when used with the Newsletter Manager plugin, and more.
Search Reloaded v.4 deserves a note too: it’s now leveraging Yahoo’s build your own search engine web service. As does Nav Menus v.2, which has merged the functionality of the old Silo Pages widget — the remaining Silo widgets remain around, with new functionality. Or Related Widgets v.3, which got a significant performance increase. Or Fancy Excerpt v.3, which now keeps media files in excerpts.
Come to think of it, much about every plugin in Semiologic Pro has been updated in a way or another.
The road ahead… is for me to take a year off. :-) Joke aside, I’ve a new back-end plugin in the works, and I’d like to give the Semiologic Cache plugin a big update. I’ll be on those two once the dust settles. I hope we’ll be using both on this site by the end of the year.
Once those are done, we’ll look into using those newly introduced WP 2.9 thumbnails all over the place, and adding new functionality to Google Analytics.