Wordpress.org has released WordPress 2.1 blog publishing platform that are immensely popular. The previous version of WordPress, WordPress 2.0 has seen a total 1.8 million downloads worldwide since its release. Although WordPress 2.1 will effectively replace WordPress 2.0 branch, the developers of WordPress has promised to maintain stable security and bug fixes on the 2.0 branch until 2010. WordPress 2.1 “Ella”, named after jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald has a lot of improvements and highly requested features such as ability to autosave a post while writing.

WordPress Development Blog has a list of all new features in the WordPress 2.1:

  • Autosave makes sure you never lose a post again.
  • Our new tabbed editor allows you to switch between WYSIWYG and code editing instantly while writing a post.
  • The lossless XML import and export makes it easy for you to move your content between WordPress blogs.
  • Our completely redone visual editor also now includes spell checking.
  • New search engine privacy option allows you take you to indicate your blog shouldn’t ping or be indexed by search engines like Google.
  • You can set any “page” to be the front page of your site, and put the latest posts somewhere else, making it much easier to use WordPress as a content management system.
  • Much more efficient database code, faster than previous versions. Domas Mituzas from MySQL went over all our queries with a fine-toothed comb.
  • Links in your blogroll now support sub-categories and you can add categories on the fly.
  • Redesigned login screen from the Shuttle project.
  • More AJAX to make custom fields, moderation, deletions, and more all faster. My favorite is the comments page, which new lets you approve or unapprove things instantly.
  • Pages can now be drafts, or private.
  • Our admin has been refreshed to load faster and be more visually consistent.
  • The dashboard now instantly and brings RSS feeds asynchronously in the background.
  • Comment feeds now include all the comments, not just the last 10.
  • Better internationalization and support for right-to-left languages.
  • The upload manager lets you easily manage all your uploads pictures, video, and audio.
  • A new version of the Akismet plugin version 2 is bundled.

There’re also new features and improvements for developers, plug-ins writers and power users too which can be found in the blog post. In the future, WordPress will also have a more frequent major release schedule like Ubuntu, which Microsoft hopes for its Internet Explorer too. So we can already looking forward to next release of WordPress 2.2 scheduled on April 23rd, 2007, two months from now.

One important thing to check and verify before you upgrade to WordPress 2.1, if you’re using plugins or plug-in is the compatibility of the plug-ins with the new version of WordPress. You can compares your plugins against the list on Plugin Compatibility list for the WordPress 2.1 series.

Update: WordPress 2.2.