WordPress developers are set to release WordPress 3.5 any day now and we wanted to give you a sneak peek at what to expect.
In total, there are several hundred changes in version 3.5, a little something for everyone. There are major changes to the user interface, media management, Link Manager, the handling of plugins, there’s a new default theme, and much more. So let’s get into it.
New in WordPress 3.5 For Users
Admin User Interface
The entire admin UI has been simplified and enhanced. From the welcome screen to the dashboard to the new color picker. Everything is crystal clear and full of detail thanks to support for high-resolution screens (all-HiDPI) like those found on the iPad, Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 10, and MacBook Pro with Retina Display.
Among the most anticipated changes are the major improvements that have been made to how media is handled. Frankly, this is long overdue. Media management in WordPress in the past has been slow, cumbersome, and downright awful and the new improvements are a major step forward.
The developers have overhauled media handling, "from the ground up". Extensive changes have been made to how images are uploaded, previewed, inserted into posts, and arranged into galleries.
The first thing you will notice is the beautiful new interface. Within the interface you can now search for images, see all the details for each image, and customize them to your preferences. You can then insert them into your post, create a gallery of multiple images, and set the featured image.
Note: The old “Add/Upload” text of previous WordPress versions has been replaced by an “Add Media” button, therefore all existing plugins you may be using that utilize the old setup will need to be updated to reflect these changes before they will work properly.
Gone is the old, clunky gallery creation system. The new interface allows you to reorder and position images via drag and drop, do inline caption editing, and has simplified the layout controls. It is also now easier to link the gallery thumbnails to their full-sized images.
Adding Multiple Images
With WordPress 3.5 you can now insert multiple images at once, then write your content around them.
New Twenty Twelve Theme
The new default theme in WordPress 3.5 is clean, simple, and mobile-ready. It features a widgetized homepage template, an optional no-sidebar page template, customizable menu, background, and header image.
One of the biggest trends on the internet is the use of mobile devices. Experts predict that the use of tablets, Smartphones, and other mobile internet devices (MID) to access the internet will soon outnumber that of notebooks and PCs. All websites NEED to be mobile-friendly if they expect to be successful in the long-term.
The developers at WordPress know this and have made the 2012 theme fully mobile responsive. It works and looks great on all mobile devices, laptops, and desktops.
Home Page Template
The front page template now comes with its own widgetized areas. You can now add any widget element to a static homepage through the Appearance » Widgets menu.
On all NEW installs of 2012, the Links Manager is now disabled by default and no longer appears in the admin user interface. The links table is still in the database and link management functions are still available, but you will now require a plugin to utilize them. However, merely upgrading from a previous version of WordPress keeps the Links Manager intact.
You can now expedite the installation of many plugins with WordPress’s Favorites feature. With it you can browse and install plugins that you have already favorited over at the WordPress Plugin Directory.
Or you can do what I do and use this method, which is even better and faster.
New In WordPress 3.5 For Developers
- XML-RPC API is now enabled by default. It supports fetching users, editing profiles, managing post revisions, and searching posts.
- WP Query – You can now ask to receive posts in the order specified by post_in.
- TinyMCE – There is an experimental API for “views” which can be used to offer previews and for interaction of elements from the visual editor. TinyMCE also now supports HTML5 tags.
- Posts API – Major performance improvements when working with hierarchies of pages and post ancestors. Also, you can now “turn on” native custom columns for taxonomies on edit post screens.
- Comments API – Search for comments of a particular status or with a meta query (same as with WP_Query).
- oEmbed – Support for a few oEmbed providers has been added, and it now handles SSL links.
- Multisite Improvements – switch_to_blog() is now significantly faster and more reliable. You can also now use multisite in a subdirectory, and uploaded files no longer go through ms-files (for new installs).
Should You Upgrade?
From a practical, user’s standpoint, the improvements in performance, the user interface, and media handling are all reasons enough to upgrade. However, with the many security and bug fixes made in version 3.5, it is highly recommended that everyone upgrade when it becomes available.
Warning – This is a major update to WordPress, with considerable changes to many core features. Be sure to test ALL of your themes, plugins, and scripts for any compatibility issues BEFORE you upgrade.
What Do You Think?
Will you be upgrading to WordPress 3.5 when it becomes available? What feature(s) are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below. And, if you found this post helpful, please share it!