Automattic has just released version 2.0 of Jetpack for WordPress and the new functionality that it brings to their ubiquitous blogging platform is enough to make anyone running a self hosted WP installation weep tears of joy.
So what is Jetpack?
Once upon a time, if you wanted to run WordPress, you had to manually install it and host it on your own server. Then Automattic introduced WordPress.com, which made it easy for anyone without a server or domain name to run a WordPress blog.
Although WordPress.com initially offered the same functionality as self hosted installations, as it grew, it started to offer some very appealing extras that made those of us hosting our own blogs a little jealous, so Automattic introduced Jetpack, an uber plug-in that added these extras to self hosted WordPress installations.
Since it was first released, Jetpack has been steadily growing in both popularity (with over 3 million downloads) and functionality (this latest version offers 23 different configurable options including everything from site stats, to contact forms).
So what’s new in Jetpack 2.0?
Publicize to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr
Jetpack 2.0’s headline feature is ‘Publicize’, which enables you to connect your blog to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Yahoo accounts, then automatically ping them whenever it is updated, ensuring that no one who is a part of your social networks misses your posts.
At the moment there are some restrictions. Networks such as Google Plus & MySpace, blogging sites such as Posterous, Blogger and, ironically, WordPress.com are not supported. Neither are multiple connections to the same account, which means you can’t update both a Facebook page and the account to which it is connected. Nevertheless, this is a huge step forwards in terms of WordPress’ sociability and the undoubted removal of these restrictions and addition of more social networks and blogging sites in future versions makes this a must have!
Post by Email
‘Post by Email’ allows you to set up a secret email address. Anything you send to this email address, from simple text to rich media, is automatically laid out and blogged, bringing instant sharing from mobile devices that’s Facebook easy. In short, have smartphone, will blog.
‘Photon’ improves load times for the photos on your blog and lightens the load on your server, by using the WordPress.com cloud to make your images fully dynamic. Whilst this is great news for practically everyone, it will give photo bloggers in particular a reason to rejoice.
Currently WordPress lets you specify how many posts to display on your blog and when users scroll to the bottom of these posts, they must click a link to navigate to the next/previous set of posts. ‘Infinite Scroll’ (when used with themes that support it) removes these navigation links, allowing users to instead automatically and continuously scroll through posts. It is an elegant solution hat just works. Scroll through the posts on this blog if you want to see it in action,
I have been running Jetpack on this blog since it was first released. Whilst I have always found it to be ultra reliable and have been happy with the extra functionality it brings, it has frustrated me no end that I have had to rely upon painful to set up and temperamental to use, third party plug-ins to post to social networks, so I’m delighted to see the introduction of ‘Publicize’, which I’m sure will go from strength to strength. ‘Photon’ is a very welcome introduction and although I have yet to see ‘Post by Email’ in action, I suspect its impact will be significant. As for infinite Scroll, I love it! In the words of The Human League, this is the year of the Jetpacks.
© 2012, Paul D. All rights reserved.