I guess I’ve been a little too optimistic when I first said version 3.0 wouldn’t take that long to come out, considering how time flew since the initial announcement. Alpha1 was meant to be solid ground for version 3.0, consisting in an updated movie editor and more objet-oriented coding, while Alpha2 would focus on the frontend, leaving Alpha3 to implement the remaining features, including the importer. But more than 18 months later, WordPress evolved so much that it took an incredible effort to put together this Alpha2.
As announced an eternity ago, Grids are now a much more powerful tool than they used to be, handled by a new dedicated custom post type. This is very similar to what most sliders plugins do, and gives a lot more possibilities to show lists of movies, actors, genres and collections than simple shortcodes did. Grids are pretty limited at the moment when it comes to customization, but that will be improved as time goes to feature new themes and sorting options. Thanks to the REST API now being part of WordPress Core all grids are fully powered by Ajax, solving days of headaches caused by the v2.x grid URLs system.
The existing actor, genre and collection taxonomies now support custom featured images, and therefore can be displayed in grids just like movies. I also added cool default images for each taxonomy that I hope you’ll like. If not, add your own! This opens the way for more advanced features like dedicated people posts, customized templates…
Archive pages have been implemented. While version 2.x handled archive pages as a setting, version 3 is switching the logic, handling archive as pages with a specific purpose. Rather than selecting archive pages in the settings panel, you can now define any page as an archive pages directly from the page editor.
Permalinks settings have been implemented. Just like archives pages, no need to browse the settings panel, all permalink-related settings are editable in the standard Permalinks dashboard page, including URL structures and default archives pages permalinks. Support for custom tag is limited at the moment, but is subject to updates in future releases.
The default Headbox has been updated, along with the version 2.x Headboxes (Allociné and IMDb). The plugin now ships with 6 Headbox themes: Allocine, Allocine v2, IMDb, IMDb v2, Vintage, Default and Extended.
Shortcodes have been implemented. Most of what you’ve been used to has been imported, although some Shortcodes have been removed or altered to reflect new features, mostly grids. We’ll talk more about this later.
Butterbeans and haricots
The plugin now includes two more dependencies : the ButterBean and Haricot frameworks. ButterBean is a neat, simple and efficient Metabox framework developed by Justin Tadlock too build beautiful tabbed custom fields metaboxes. It only supports posts meta, so I built Haricot, a fork of ButterBean for terms meta. This is what allows version 3.0 to features custom taxonomies images, and possibly other useful data in later releases.
Grids extensively use the REST API introduced in WordPress 4.7; Alpha3 will extend that usage to the Movie Editor and the brand new Importer.
Where do we go from here?
Alpha3! The final step before the beta version. This should mostly concern the removal of the existing settings panel, the implementation of the plugin’s custom dashboard and the update of the existing movie editor to use the REST API rather than more complex –and less efficient– internal code.
Side-note: Decisions, not Options
I’m very aware of the fact a lot of options aren’t available anymore, and it’s not going to get better with Alpha3 since plans are to completely remove the v2.x settings panels and provide much less apparent freedom to customize the plugin. There are very good reasons to this choice that, after all, reflects the WordPress philosophy: decisions, not options. But don’t worry, we’ll talk more about this later too. For now, have fun with that long-awaited, probably-cool release!