The WordPress team started planning for WordPress 3.2 back in March and released WordPress 3.2 beta last week. I spend some time playing around with the next generation of WordPress to see what is new with it.
Here is a review of WordPress 3.2 and a list of the new features that you will be using when the final version comes out. Please note that WordPress 3.2 will require PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0, so you might have to upgrade your server software or ask your hosting provider to do it for you.
Important Note: This is a beta version of WordPress, don’t install it on a production server.
New Admin Interface
WordPress 3.2 has a refreshed admin interface which does away with the curved corners and cuts down on the space used between the menus.
The last major version of WordPress; WordPress 3.1 was released back in February and the team had already begun planning for WordPress 3.2 back in March.
It looks like most of those plans are now finally beginning to take shape with the release of WordPress 3.2 Beta 1. WordPress 3.2 will contain several new changes including dropping support for older technologies like PHP4 and MySQL4 among other things. WordPress 3.2 requires PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0 to run.
In addition to that, WordPress 3.2 will also stop supporting Internet Explorer 6. Users browsing the site through IE6 will be shown a message to switch their browsers.
WordPress 3.2 also includes several performance improvements which make it faster than the earlier version. One more new addition that will be liked by users is the inclusion of Distraction-free Writing in the visual editor. Additionally, WordPress 3.2 includes a refresh to the Admin UI and a new default theme called Twenty Eleven. It will also include more links in the admin bar, however, you can always disable or hide the Admin bar in WordPress if you don’t like it.
Overall the changes look pretty decent and should make the next generation of WordPress better than its predecessor. I will be doing a full review of WordPress 3.2 shortly, so stay tuned for it.
Here are some of the major changes that are included in WordPress 3.2:
- Performance improvements like you wouldn’t believe. What’s that mean? Things are faster!
- Distraction-free Writing. The visual editor’s full-screen composing experience has gotten a major overhaul, and is now available from HTML mode, too. More than ever, WordPress allows you to focus on what matters most â€” your content.
- Admin UI Refresh. The last major redesign of the WordPress admin was in 2008. This isn’t a major redesign, just a little facelift to keep us feeling young. WordPress turns 8 later this month, you know.
- New Default Theme. Introducing Twenty Eleven, based on the popular Duster theme. Rotating header images, post format support, and more.
- Browse Happy. WordPress is made to work with modern browsers. If you visit your Dashboard using an outdated web browser, we’ll let you know there’s a newer version available.
- Admin Bar. We’ve added more links to the admin bar to make it even more useful.
- WordPress has new minimum system requirements: PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0.
- Internet Explorer 6 will no longer be supported.
- The favorites menu has been removed. If you’ve written any plugins that use this menu, it’s time to switch over to an admin bar placement.
You can download WordPress 3.2 Beta 1 from here.
WordPress 3.1 has been out for almost a month now and is pretty much stable. Now, that the last major release of WordPress is out of the way, the developers have already started to focus on the next version; WordPress 3.2.
According to a blog post by the lead developer at WordPress; Mark Jaquith, the plans for WordPress 3.2 include several new and exciting changes which will make WordPress more faster and lighter than ever before. WordPress 3.2 will also have a faster release cycle than WordPress 3.1 and include several other changes.
Dropping PHP4 and MySQL4 Support – Welcome PHP5 and MySQL5
For starters WordPress 3.2 will drop support for PHP4 and MySQL4 and will require users to use PHP 5.2 and MySQL5. However, the developers have been asked to refrain from using PHP5 specific code in this build.
In addition to that WordPress 3.2 may also include a nag for IE6 users and ask them to “use a real browser”. This change is related to the BrowseHappy campaign.
Distraction Free Writing in Admin Panel
The Admin write panel may get a major overhaul with WordPress 3.2. The Full screen editor may get a overhaul similar to WriteRoom where users can focus on writing and avoid distractions. It will be interesting to see how this shapes up. One of the developers is actively working on this and may release a plugin for distraction free writing well before WordPress 3.2 comes out.
Improvements in Auto Upgrading
WordPress 3.2 may have better support for upgrading your installation. The developers will focus more on upgrading just the updated files rather than upgrading the entire installation and core files.
WordPress can slow down a website, specially with a large database. Also the admin menu loads a bit slowly at times. WordPress 3.2 will address the speed issues by introducing PHP lazy loading and disabling certain things which leads to the slowdown.
The new features in WordPress 3.2 have not been revealed yet, but from the WordPress 3.2 plans definitely look interesting. Speed and stability are a major part of any platform and outdating older versions of PHP4 and MySQL4 should help with adding more features in the future.
WordPress 3.2 is just a stepping stone towards adding more speed, stability and features to the best blogging platform in the world.