Big Changes in Store for WordPress 3.2 – Check Them Out Here

by on May 16th, 2011 0 comments

Even though WordPress 3.1 was released only in February, WordPress 3.2 Beta 1is already available for download and it comes with a number of new features. The most notable of them are the new admin layout, the Full screen editor, which facilitates destruction free writing, the new Twenty Eleven theme, new PHP and MySQL requirements, the enhanced admin bar, and the faster loading speed. What else has changed in WordPress 3.2 and are these changes going to make the most popular Content Management System even better? Read on to find out more about the WordPress 3.2 Beta 1 and judge for yourself:

Faster WordPress

The implementation of lazy loading PHP classes and other improvements in the core technology has made the loading of the pages and paging through the comments considerably faster. The FTP improvements allow incremental upgrades, which will make upgrading faster as well, and after WordPress 3.2, an upgrade will leave the core intact, while downloading the changed files only.

New system requirements

Past versions required PHP 4.3 or greater, while WordPress 3.2 requires PHP version 5.2 or greater, as well as MySQL version 5.0.15 or greater compared to 4.1.2 or greater in the older version. You need to make sure that your server is ready for the latest Beta, but you can easily check the server’s MySQL and PHP versions with a number of plug-ins such as ServerBuddy or the Health Check plug-in.

Browser support changes

Support for Internet Explorer 6 is dropped, and an End-Of-Life cycle for Internet Explorer 7 is started. People, using Internet Explorer 6 will get a warning, letting them know that newer version is available and asking them to upgrade their browsers. It should be noted that this affects the Dashboard only and not the front-end of WordPress 3.2.

Full Screen Editor (including full screen HTML editor)

One of the features that many users will fall in love with. Opening the full screen text editor will hide all the dashboard options and allow you to concentrate on your writing and nothing else. If you are not comfortable writing posts directly in the admin area, you can access this option through the full screen button in the HTML editor or the Toggle Full screen mode tool in the Visual editor.

New and improved user features

Other seemingly small features that were enhanced or added are making this version simpler and better. The Favorites menu has been removed, new Credits and Freedoms links have been added to the bottom of the admin screens, and Themes submenu has been added to the Admin bar. When it comes to Posts, apart from adding the Full screen editor, some of the changes that were made include updated styles for the Visual editor buttons and changing the Menu Name from Posts to All posts. The whole admin UI has been given a facelift, which makes it cleaner and better and the new Dashboard seems great.

Appearance improvements and changes

TwentyTen is being replaced as the default WordPress theme. The TwentyEleven theme is based on the Duster theme and is an improved version of the TwentyTen theme, which was introduced with WordPress 3.0. Some of the features of TwentyEleven are support for six widgetized areas (four in the footer and two in the sidebar), stylesheets for print, support for featured images, special styles for posts in the Gallery and Asides categories, and rotating header support. There is also a one-column page template, which has no sidebar and the theme is simple, highly customizable, and stylish. Other changes in the appearance include a new template tag, which allows themes to behave differently when more than one authors use the site.

Multisite changes

Since WordPress MU is no longer a standalone product and is incorporated in WordPress, it continues to evolve with every new release. If unauthorized user tries to access an admin page, they are shown an access denied page rather than being automatically redirected to the primary blog. Other small changes include making the Space Used in the Right Now box gray instead of green and allowing pagination for Must-Use and Dropin plug-ins.

Changes for developers

A number of new changes were made, some functions and filters were deprecated, and new ones were introduced. The new version permits allowing custom author elements such as an email, allows plug-ins to control network and user admin canonical redirect, and permits comments to be retrieved by post type, author, author name, parent, or status. Check here for the full list of the developers, themes, and plug-ins’ changes.

Although WordPress 3.2 is available for download, it is still in Beta and you might want to avoid using it on a live site. If you wish to take a quick look and see with your own eyes some of the changes, then you can easily install it in a subfolder, and do so. Some of the new features such as the bigger by default text editor and the Full Screen Editor are excellent and so is the faster (although not considerably) loading speed. The support for modern browsers, inspired by the Browse Happy campaign, is exciting as well, but since Internet Explorer 6 and 7 share many features, you might want to hold on to the old CSS files. The new versions could render some older themes and plug-ins unusable, but the most popular of them are 3.2 ready or are likely to be updated soon by their developers. Overall, there is nothing truly groundbreaking in WordPress 3.2, but it comes with a number of small improvements, which should make using it more enjoyable. You can download WordPress 3.2 Beta 1 here and if you wish to report any bugs or contribute in any way, you are encouraged to join the discussions in the Alpha and Beta forum. The fully functional, bug-free (hopefully), official WordPress 3.2 release is planned for the end of June and many of us are already looking forward to it!