While I was at the Surrey Writer’s Conference last Friday, WordPress snuck up and released its newest version, 3.7. I was disappointed to be out of the loop for a day since I’d been waiting for the release since posting WordPress 3.7 and All That Jazz Naming in which I criticized the WordPress company, Automattic for dissing jazz women. I sent the gist of that post to WordPress central and was tickled to receive this email reply on October 24 from founder Matt Mullenweg.
“Thank you for the suggestions, will keep them in mind. I actually just saw Diana Krall day before yesterday.”
I thought, he listened! Would he act immediately or was the 3.7 jazz name set in stone? It’s not as if anything goes to the printer at WordPress. They could turn on a nickel if they wanted. So, on Saturday, I felt a strange disappointment to learn that WordPress 3.7 was named for Count Basie.
Don’t get me wrong, Count Basie is jazz royalty right up there with Duke Ellington as an influential bandleader who came up in the time of big bands and swing. Billy Holiday sang with his band and in 1938 engaged in a “battle of the bands” against Chick Webb’s band, fronted by Ella Fitzgerald. Webb’s band came on hard and fast, while Basie eased through cooly, “musically scientifically,” and ultimately won the “battle.”
Count Basie had a less-is-more style of piano playing, considered “spare” and “economical.” He was a master of negative space, using the rests to create a rhythmic quality unique to the big band sound, and perhaps that’s what makes him the right jazz master for WordPress 3.7. The beauty lives in what you don’t see.
The biggest part of 3.7 is the stuff you might not notice otherwise. 3.7 will update while you sleep, make password recommendations more demanding, give better support for languages and offer more relevant search results.
Today I upgraded my flagship site, Tasting Room Confidential, as an experiment with 3.7 and most of the differences had to be found to be appreciated.
To start with, in its dashboard welcome message, 3.7 informed me that my site could not be updated automatically. From what I’ve read, it may be due to a ftp issue I need to address. Ok, whatever. I’m not so keen on this feature anyway.
My password is already long and complicated, forming as it does a full sentence describing my cat. So I’m not worried about that.
Languages, meh. English works for me.
As for search results, now this is different. I did an experiment on my wine site to see what results rose to the top by entering the words, “liquor board,” referring to the provincial liquor system here in British Columbia.
In WordPress 3.6.1, here is what I got. It’s topped by the most recent story, which includes the words, “liquor board” in the content. A story about the Liquor Board follows, with three stories with passing reference to the Liquor Board after that.
Compare that with the 3.7 results. Two stories about the Liquor Board rise to the top and others that mention the search phrase follow in chronological order. This, my friends is how Search should work. Relevance first!
All That Jazz Naming
So, getting back to my point about WordPress being run by a bunch of man-centric audiophiles who happen to have very good taste in jazz, maybe this wasn’t the right version to name after Billy Holiday or Diana Krall after all. Those versions should be more flashy, more lyrical, and more functionally dynamic than this one. This spare, economical WordPress version is rather suited for Count Basie, since that is how he played.
Possibly for 3.8, due in December, Matt Mullenweg will do more than just keeping the women in mind.
What do you think of WordPress 3.7? Have you noticed its differences? Did it make you want to do the One O’Clock Jump?