I just downloaded the preview version of WordPress 2.5 and have been playing around with it this afternoon. It’s a major upgrade and I’m really pleased to see all the new features.
The backend has been really streamlined and is a lot more user-friendly.
Aside from the UI reorganization and improvements, my favorite new feature … the code is not mangled anymore in HTML mode! Finally div’s are preserved. This is huge for me since I always hated how WP stripped out and replaced div tags.
The same goes for embedding YouTube videos. Now you don’t need any special plugins or mods since WordPress seems to work fine with the YouTube embed code (even if you edit the post later) & I imagine the same probably goes for other types of embedding (js, etc.).
The one downside I see is that a lot of existing plugins will probably be broken due to these dramatic changes (I know mine is). These things will be patched eventually I’m sure, but it will take some time for some of them to be updated.
One cool new feature of WordPress 2.5 is the integration of native gravatar support. I used to have gravatars enabled a while back but uninstalled them since it would slow down the blog load time considerably. Now that Gravatar is owned by Automattic (WordPress) I’m sure downtime and lag time won’t be an issue.
Overall I give Matt & crew an enthusiastic thumbs up for WP 2.5 – great work!
If you want to play with a live version yourself, you can do so at this site. If you want to know more about the changes you can also check out Technosailor for 10 things you should know about WP 2.5.