WordPress 3.3 in Final Stages (beta)

October 15th, 2011

WordPress, my favourite content management system, is  growing and developing faster than ever. I feel it has been just weeks ago, when 3.2 version was last published and here comes another improved version, 3.3. Its first beta has already been released, so lets dive into 10 most anticipated improvements, at least for me.

1. New media uploader (Plupload)

No need to mention that this media  uploader feels much better than previous version. Plupload was developed by TinyMCE dev team and is a JavaScript API for dealing with file uploads it supports features, like multiple file selection, file type filtering, request chunking, client side image scaling and it uses different runtimes to achieve this such as HTML 5, Silverlight, Flash, Gears and BrowserPlus. It is well integrated into WordPress and first thing you’ll notice is that you can now drop files into upload section and the rest is handled automatically.

2. Welcome screen on 1st time install and 1st time post-update

This improvement is aimed at WordPress beginners and should encourage them to make their first important configurations correctly. It guides them through the set-up process for the first time and feels much like facebook notes, when new features are available. It’s a very neat feature and I’m looking forward to see API for this, so plugin and theme developers could use it too.

Learn how to use tooltips inside themes or plugins.

3. Improved admin bar

Admin bar has been redesigned from ground up and now feel much more advanced and smooth. The menus now drop down when you hover your mouse over them, saving you more clicks. I’m not a fan of uncontrollable menu behaviour, but this should feel comfortable after a while. The menu has also been re-arranged, with the “Appearance” menu now appearing. Also, if you hover over the WordPress logo there are links to lots of useful places like the support forums and the codex.

4. Performance improvements

Even though previous version got much faster, 3.3 feels considerably faster as well. You’ll notice performance improvements instantly, so browsing through settings and adding new posts should be zippier than ever.

5. Responsive admin

This improvement won’t do much for most WP users, but should bring better and responsive admin design for those with smaller screen sizes, like mobile or iPad. Some of the responsive admin work has been pushed to the 3.4 release but just some simple screen resizing shows the progress has been made. When you shrink down your browser the left admin menu collapses and the dashboard widgets resize. If you’re beta testing you should definitely play around with it.

6. Fly out admin menus

New flyout menus aren’t really per my taste, but once you get used to them, you’ll do everything a bit faster. Previously flyout menus only appeared when the menu was collapsed, but now they appear all the time, which is great. It saves one click on your navigation but when you spend all day working on WordPress those one clicks can add up.

7. Permanent widgets

As my themes and framework is heavily dependent on widgets, this is the most significant update for me. You have probably suffered this setback in the past when you tried to change a theme and out of the blue, all the widgets that you had perfectly organized on the previous theme disappeared. Well, this is going to be fixed in WP 3.3 and now all your widgets will remain from one theme to the next, you will be able to find them on the sidebar of the new theme.

8. Remove admin warnings

The truth is that there are many ways from preventing these messages about upgrades and stuff from showing up, which includes several plugins and hacks, but with this new version you just have to choose that these messages won’t appear from now on. I haven’t found the setting just yet, so it’s probably still under development or sth.

9. Improved Editor API

Post editor uses latest version of TinyMCE, but the code behind it is changed to allow better re-usability of the editor. Right now there are few methods (none of them working well) to have rich editor on the admin page, but with latest changes this should be really easy to do. New WP will have jQuery 1.6.4, jQueryUI 1.8.16 (finally complete version with all components), editor API for easy use of editor anywhere and improvements to scripts enqueue process.

10. Improved /%postname%/ permalink structure

If you’ve ever used the /%postname%/ permalink structure on your WordPress site (and haven’t we all at some point) then this bit of news will interest you. Not only is that permalink structure is patched and much faster, it’s now a recommended option as well. It usually gives websites a tiny SEO boost, so you might want to check this out.

Learn more about postname permalinks.

Other improvements

  • Improved Metadata API
  • Improved Settings API
  • Admin dynamically display on devices of various screen sizes
  • Implement language packs for core, plugins, and themes

More News about WordPress 3.3

Download WordPress 3.3 Beta 1

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