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WordPress 3.3 is On the Horizon! Beta 2 Release Notes

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WordPress is evolving quite faster than ever, and every update gets all excited (especially those who make a living on it). WordPress has released it's 3.3, Beta 2 version just 2 days ago for testing. This update is focused on more improvements, refining and making things faster and better. Today, we're going to round up what's coming in the next big version.

It's worth noting that 3.3 Beta 2 isn't ready for production environments yet. For those of you who would like to wait before a stable version is released, this post is just a list of what to expect from this version:


Performance Improvements

There are several subtle changes made in the admin area. Most of these changes would be more helpful for users with slower internet connections. The menus are more responsive and change to icon only mode when the width of your browser window is reduced. This is a good direction to go forward and I could only hope that when a stable version or in future version we could have optimized layouts for different screens & devices.


Improved Admin Bar

WordPress Login Page

I personally never was a fan of the admin menu, but have to admit it does save few clicks. The menus have been re-arranged, and the major addition is the WordPress logo with a drop down menu with links to version, credits and other WordPress resources.


Admin Pointers

WordPress Login Page Logo Customization

This is something new and exciting.  Admin pointers are small boxes that are displayed when user selects a menu/link. These small boxes contain information about new features. This feature can definitely be used by developers to highlight and give a walkthrough of custom functions developed for their clients.


Fly Out Menus

WordPress Login Page Logo Customization

To access something like Widgets, or sub menus, it took 2 steps. With WordPress 3.3 the sub menus could be access faster thanks to the fly out menus. Though this feature existed butThe arrow on the right next to menus to show the sub menus no longer exists.

 


A New Media Uploader

WordPress Dashboard Logo Customization

This definitely is my favorite feature of this upgrade. The new feature now allows drag and drop uploading. On Post & Pages, the 4 upload/insert icons have been merged into 1. The new uploader uses plupload an open source upload handler from the developers of TinyMCE. Plupload removes the dependency on Flash and allows support for HTML and  Silverlight. With now the ability to easily drag and drop files, WordPress is making our work easier..

 


Language Packs

Until now if your theme required different language version of WordPress, your only option was to download .po and .mo files for core, themes and plugins separately. From version 3.3 onwards and introduction of Language packs, you would be able to use a plugin to manage .po and .mp files for your WordPress core files, plugins and themes. This plugin will download all necessary language files from WordPress.org to your blog.

 


Improved API’s for Metadata, Settings & Editor

Among these, the Editor API’s now allow us to have backend editor like settings in the front end. This is very useful when creating custom control panel for the users without giving them access to WordPress admin and only further allows us to use WordPress to be used as development framework.

 


Permanent Widgets

Ever got into a situation where you lost all your widget setup after change of theme? Well you are not alone. Thanks to WordPress 3.3, all widgets would remain fixed when you change themes.

 


Permalinks Improvements

Large WordPress website using  %postname% permalink structure might have faced performance issues as WordPress can’t differentiate whether the URL is of a page or a post and it has to generate verbose rewrite rules to solve this problem. In WordPress 3.3, developers are working to avoid triggering the verbose re-write rules.

 


Some of the other Minor improvements that make using WordPress even better are:

  1. Welcome Screen on 1st time install and 1st time post-update. New users would be shown a welcome screen with admin pointers to get them familiar with the dashboard and post update screen will be used to display information on what’s changed.
  2. Child Theme Support in Theme Repository and Theme Installer to install child themes in the theme directory.
  3. JavaScript changes and improvements. Version 3.3 includes jQuery 1.6.4 and jQuery UI 1.8.16.
  4. wp_unique_post_slug() Filter to set your own slug
  5. Shortcodes now work in text widgets
  6. Options to hide upgrade warning
  7. Performance improvement on custom menus to load them faster.

Some of these above features have not been perfectly implemented as of in version 3.3 beta but as based on WordPress Trac, I am certain we would see them in the final stable version of WordPress 3.3

 


NOTE:
This is a beta version which is still in development and has many bugs to fix. I strongly advise not to use it for live websites. WordPress 3.3 is expected to be released by end of November, however if you do help in reporting bugs, I am sure we can expect an earlier release.

I am very curious to see how “Admin pointers” are used by Theme & plugin developers but my favorite feature definitely is Drag & Drop Uploading. What’s yours?

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