Will WordPress 2.2 kill the UTW plugin?

The next major upgrade to WordPress which is version 2.2 is just less than two weeks from being released for all WP bloggers to enjoy and tinker around with.

This new version has some interesting new features and upgrades:

New User Features

  • Tagging support
  • Permalink redirection
  • Improved comment editing

Developer / Power User Stuff

  • Atom 1.0 support for feeds.
  • Multiple format comment feeds, including Atom.
  • Switched to jQuery for core JS, which is lighter and faster.
  • Atom API support.
  • Additional XML-RPC APIs for pages and such.
  • phpmailer was integrated for performance and maintainability.

Future features

  • New permalink redirection stuff
  • An additional bundled theme?
  • Widgets?

You read it right, WP 2.2 now has a tagging system built-in. This could probably spell disaster for tagging plugin makers who have built-up a following and community around their successful tagging plugins. The most famous of all, Ultimate Tag Warrior by Christine Davis.

Making things a bit more complicated, Jaypee points out:

Apparently, the tagging support that is included in WordPress 2.2 breaks the good old plugin called Ultimate Tag Warrior. The conflict is brought about by the is_tag() function that is used by both WordPress 2.2 and Ultimate Tag Warrior. That’s bad news for people including myself who are using UTW. Fortunately Moeffju has found a way of fixing the issue with a UTW hack. It involves editing the ultimate-tag-warrior.php file with your text editor and replacing all instances of the is_tag function with UTW_is_tag. After this, just activate the plugin and it’s done.

Like Jaypee, I’ve been using UTW for almost two years now and I’ve come to love the plugin. Making it work with a new theme I’ve chosen to use on my blog has become one of the most basic task every time I change themes. I’ve tried other tagging plugins but UTW has remained the number one choice for my tagging needs.

So now that WP 2.2 breaks UTW even though there’s a fix for this, creates a little dilemma for UTW users.

To drop or not Ultimate Tag Warrior (or any other tagging plugin you use) once you do upgrade to WordPress 2.2

Dropping UTW

This would seem to be the most convenient solution for the following gains:

  • One less plugin to lighten up your WP install
  • One less plugin to worry about every time you upgrade WordPress
  • One less plugin to mess up your WP DBase once it gets hay-wired
  • One less plugin to worry about everytime you switch themes
  • One less plugin to possibly mess around with the other plugins

Not dropping UTW

If you do decide to stick with UTW or any other tagging plugin it means:

  • The complete opposite of the points raised above
  • You have to edit your UTW plugin file (which is quite easy to do)
  • You minimize the risk of your blog being screwed up by WP 2.2 bugs
  • Your relationship, a healthy one at most, would stay on with your tagging plugin

A good point to consider is that this is the first time WordPress would be sporting a built-in tagging system. You then ask, ‘Is this reliable?‘ or ‘Does it work as wonderfully and efficiently as UTW?‘ New features are always good, their stability, security, effectiveness, usability, and performance however, would always make the smart blogger think twice before taking action.

On the other hand, WP users who haven’t implemented any tagging plugin before and would like to go into it would find the built-in tagging system a very convenient feature. It also eliminates the need to use third-party tagging or tag cloud-generating services.

Overall, WordPress 2.2 has once again caused buzz and mixed feelings and will continue to do so in the coming weeks especially once it has been released to the public.

Is this built-in tagging system already in use in WordPress.com blogs? Will the tagging plugins, UTW et.al., be dropped in favor of the built-in tagging system in WP 2.2? Which system would be better? We will soon find out.

17 Comments

  1. Sigh…why does WP have to upgrade the versions so frequently? Hehe. I haven’t upgraded to 2.1.3 yet. Good thing I saw this post. I’ll just wait for the new version 🙂

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  2. haha.. onga andaming update. hassle. wahehe 😀 i'm using utw as well but I don't know if it does help me but maybe i'd stick with it…. bahala na. hehe

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  3. @Tess – WordPress 2.1.3 and 2.0.10 are security releases meaning they were released to fix security flaws and other vulnerabilities. WordPress 2.2 on the other hand is a different type of release because it contains new added features to WordPress.

    @Jhay – Thanks for the mention and the link love. 🙂

    I'll also wait a few weeks before upgrading to 2.2. I wanna make sure that the tagging thing doesn't mess up my blog.

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  4. There will be a wordpress 2.2 compatible version of Ultimate Tag Warrior released just as soon as I can manage it. It's going to use the tags stored by wordpress, but will do the UTW'y stuff over top.

    (I've had a week. I moved, somewhat abruptly, yesterday; and in theory I'll get internet reconnected tomorrow…)

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  5. That's the beauty – and scourge – of open source. You find security issues = plug them = release a new version. Unfortunately for WP, it has to be as often as possible. Is it safe to say that it has become so bloated that it is hard for the developers to look for holes during development?

    BTW, why were you not at iBlog?

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  6. Congrats on becoming a pro blogger! I would like to see WordPress with tagging. I’m afraid to upgrade every time though since I don’t know if my plugins will work or not.

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  7. @ Christine D: So nice of you to drop by and for letting us know about an upgrade to UTW. Most of us would keep an eye out for that.

    @Xerendipity: Agreed. Problem is, I suppose it's human nature to somehow become apprehensive and resistant to change even for just a bit.

    @Arbet: Interesting point. My only wish is that they issue major WP updates on a more lengthier interval. The shorter schedule of releasing major version updates maybe good but it's just too fast for us to settle nicely into each version.

    I has so much backlog work because of my screwed up broadband connection that's why I wasn't able to attent iBlog 3.

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  8. Hi, Jhay. I think the philosophy behind the "release" schedule is to prevent widespread problems with vulnerable WP installs. Now why can't they just issue patches (like replacing some files, not an entire WP install)?

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  9. @ Arbet: I understand their philosophy. It's ideal, too ideal for my taste and our convenience. The old way of issuing patches worked fine before, everyone just went on to blog and blog, create communities and content. Now we have to spend more time maintaining our WP installs and changing major versions every few months or so.

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  10. to jhay: "Now we have to spend more time maintaining our WP installs and changing major versions every few months or so." –> That's what I don't like. It's bothersome 🙁 I don't know if keeping up with the frequent security releases DO protect us from security vulnerabilities. Something going wrong just keeps popping up every now and then, regardless if your WP install is updated or not.

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  11. I laughed when I found out about this. I was just about to install UTW and tag my life away. I've been meaning to do it since, uhm, 150+ blog entries ago. Yay for procrastinating!

    But anyway, you don't need the UTW hack. You can just import your UTW tags to the new tagging system of WP in the admin area. Admit it, what's going to be hard is really the emotional thingie, lol.

    WP2.2 is gonna break some plugins I'm using. Nothing drastic and important. At least now I have a reason to drop those useless plugins, hehe. What I love about 2.2 is that the Preview iframe is gone and is replaced by just a "View" link. Darn, heaven knows how slowly page loads just because of it.

    Call me crazy, but I love WP updates. 😉

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  12. Unfortunately Shari, we would have to wait for WP 2.3 in order to sample WP's own tagging system.

    Would you install UTW now or wait for WP 2.3? 😉

    Removing the Preview iframe in WP 2.2 is welcomed update. Even if you're on hi-speed connection it can really slow things down.

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  13. Excellent Analysis Jhay, Its really an issue which i had been seeing in the mailer list. They have created some scripts which will copy all your tags to wordpress tags but you are right, how good they work is the main thing. If they have analysed UTW and keep the features same it wil be a boon.

    MAN why did they removed the privew window….Now i will never see how it will look before posting 🙁

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