If you have never taken a deeper look at WordPress project schedules you could be surprised by the fact that as soon as one major version is officially released, WordPress development team shifts its focus to next one – WordPress 3.5.
A look back shows that major WordPress versions are being released roughly every six months; keeping that tradition alive, WordPress core development team has set December 5th as target date for WordPress 3.5 launch. Let’s take a quick look at some of its key features.
New default theme
Twenty Twelve, default theme in WordPress 3.5 comes with a feature set that’s as predictable as its name, and that’s a good thing. Completely in line with WordPress’ philosophy of striving for simplicity and keeping things “clean, lean and mean”, Twenty Twelve is meant to be as unobtrusive as possible, letting your content be the star.
This is the first default theme with homepage template and clearly using this feature to advertise WordPress as more of a CMS and less of a “just a blog” was one of the goals. Everyone’s favourite buzz word (hint: begins with a “responsi”) is another thing theme designer Drew Strojny had in mind.
If you haven’t seen the theme in action already, I recommend you to check Twenty Twelve theme demo. Additionally, you can see this video of theme author talking about the process of (not) designing a default theme. It’s as insightful for end users as it is for WordPress developers:
Links manager is out in WordPress 3.5
Not sure how many people actually used this feature, but it sure did help popularise the word “Blogroll”. With the addition of WordPress menus in version 3.0, however, links manager became obsolete, so core team decided to move this feature out of WordPress core and into a plugin, similar to how import feature works now.
This might seem like it’s unimportant, after all it’s just one unused feature being removed from WordPress core, but if it is a sign of things to come, WordPress’ off the charts usability might be even better in the future.
Full retina support
I’ll be honest here, if this was only about making things look good/better on retina iOS devices, I wouldn’t care about it. However, retina support in WordPress 3.5 also means converting many design elements to CSS3 shapes and gradients. Less images to load equals better performance, whether you’re using a new iPad or an old IE. Simple as that.
Several workflow improvements
As with every release, user experience gets a boost in WordPress 3.5. Some of the key features in this area:
- Updated Welcome panel (that huge page that you get when you install/update WordPress)
- Improved color picker
- Improved user interface / user experience for selecting static front page
- Theme customizer improvements
- Improved handling of images
This list is not final, but if you’re a WordPress user it should be enough to get you excited. If you’d like to check out WordPress 3.5 before most other folks do, you can run it right now, by using WordPress Beta Tester plugin. Keep in mind that you will be running a potentially unstable release, so either backup your database before upgrading or do not do this on a live site.
One more thing
Everything we develop here at ThematoSoup is intented to be as future proof as possible. We try to achieve compatibility with future WordPress releases by always following WordPress best practices and coding standards, so you don’t have to ponder if keeping your WordPress installation up to date will break something.