Today sees the release of WordPress 3.5, the most recent and much-anticipated major version of our favorite content management system. Lots of talented folks have put hundreds of hours into this release, and it’s filled to the brim with all sorts of nifty updates.
Let’s take a look at a few of them.
All new media manager
I’m not sure there’s been as much buzz around a major WordPress featured since Distraction Free Writing in version 3.2. Based on what I’ve seen, I think it’s well deserving of the buzz.
The new media manager replaces the old modal iframe that popped up when clicking the insert/upload button. One way I find this neat is it means that opening the manager is quicker, and jumping between the post and the manager will bring you back to the last screen you were looking at. This will save plenty of clicks, especially in a post with a lot of photos embedded in them.
Have a look at a few of the new workflow screenshots:
Images can be inserted more than one at a time now, and not as galleries but as standalone images. Depending on the situation, this could seriously cut down on time previously spent jumping between the media manager and the editor.
Galleries are much easier to create, and won’t require editing shorttags. I’ve hobbled together my own custom galleries before, and know just how much of a pain the process was before. I really look forward to crafting off the cuff galleries with the new manager.
The media system within WordPress is something that has been nearly on the able for a few versions now. Everyone wants it updated and improved, but nobody has wanted to touch it. This new user interface and experience is a major step forward, even if many of the underlying functionality remains the same.
Twenty Twelve included in the package
Twenty Twelve has been available on WordPress.org Extend for a while already, but this release brings the new default theme into the WordPress package itself. If you haven’t spent any time with it yet, it’s worth a look. This theme is a great starting place for a lot of different sites (I’ve used it as a starter theme on a couple of sites since it was finalized).
It’s about time to start throwing out crazy ideas about Twenty Thirteen, isn’t it?
A fully HiDPI Dashboard
HiDPI — or Retina — resolution support starting working their way into WordPress in the last release, but those updates are finished with 3.5. All icons and elements have been updated to support new displays.
For those who don’t have HiDPI screens to see the dashboard themselves, here’s a close approximation:
Sigh. I really need to upgrade my machine. I feel like I’m the only one missing out on this lately.
Link Manager now removed by default
Did anyone else just hear a sound, almost like thousands of people cheering at once? The Link Manager has been on the proverbial chopping block for some time, and at long last has made its final default appearance in core. Unless a user is already using links, the update will remove the manager entirely.
WordPress Lead Developer Andrew Nacin has authored the Link Manager plugin that will add the menu item and screens back to the dashboard. I’m curious to see this plugin’s download stats in the next couple of weeks.
Favorite WordPress.org plugins in the dashboard
WordPress 3.5 brings in favorite plugin support, a feature that has been available for WordPress.org users. Any plugin marked a favorite will now show up on the Install Plugins screen when the username is entered.
The screenshot above, for instance, shows Otto’s favorite plugins.
Tumblr importer support
Tumblr is one of the most popular platforms in the world, and now it is (relatively) easy to import Tumblr posts into WordPress. I say relatively because the process will require you to register an app with Tumblr, give them information about your installation — all of which is due to the way Tumblr has set it up.
Still, it’s nice to have an easy way to move your tumbled content over to WordPress. You know, if you want to.
Multisite can now be installed in a subdirectory
Remember how a multisite WordPress install couldn’t be installed into a directory, but had to be at the root of your web directory? No longer!
It’s not exactly a feature, really, but will make getting started with multisite a little bit simpler for new users. That’s always good, right?
switch_to_blog() performance problems fixed
Speaking of multisite, use of the switch_to_blog() function isn’t dangerous like it used to be. It has been refactored to not be nearly as expensive as it used to be.
New color picker adopted from WordPress.com
WordPress comes with a new default color picker, which itself was born over at WordPress.com (where it’s called Iris). The most common way to make use of the color picker will be the theme customizer, where registering color controls will add the picker you see in the screenshot above.
The picker can be added to any admin screen, of course. You can read more about this one on the Make WordPress Core blog.
New admin hooks:
Who doesn’t love new hooks? Particularly new hooks on the dashboard? 3.5 includes two new hooks on the edit post screen:
edit_form_after_editor. This will make adding your own stuff to these admin screens quite a bit simpler.
You can read more about these new hooks on the Make WordPress Core blog.
Taxonomy metaboxes will collapse if only a few items
Here’s a clever change for you: hierarchical taxonomy metaboxes (so, categories or any custom taxonomy you create) will now collapse to the height of the taxonomy items that exist. So, rather than having a tall box with a bunch of empty space, the box will only be as tall as it needs to be.
I like these kinds of changes most of all, because it makes total sense but had never really occurred to me before seeing it.
The relevant trac ticket is #15925.
Soundcloud, Slideshare, Instagram join oEmbed providers list
Soundcloud, Slideshare, and Instagram are all now easy as can be to embed into a standard install of WordPress. There’s really not too much to say with this one — it’s just a nifty addition that will make sharing these service’s photos, presentations, and audio that much simpler.
HTML editor renamed to “Text”
The WordPress editor is built from two tabs: a visual view and an HTML view. The “HTML” tab has been renamed “Text” with this release. Discussion points in the trac ticket for this change mentioned “text” being more descriptive of that tab’s behavior, since the tab never offered true HTML editing.
The relevant trac ticket is #20993.
Option to display post date in recent posts widget
Prompted by Twenty Twelve theme development, this particular change adds the option to display post dates within the recent posts widget. How the date itself displays will depend on the theme, of course, but the option itself might make finding a more advanced widget via a plugin unnecessary.
The relevant trac ticket is #21064.
Widgets headers clickalbe to open/close
Speaking of widgets, one neat UI touch this release is a larger click target for expanding and closing widgets. Previously only the arrow on the right side of the widget would open the widget, but now the entire header will open it up.
I know it’s not a crazy big change or anything, but I find little touches like this interesting. This tweak also brings widget metaboxes more in line with the dashboard metaboxes.
The relevant trac ticket is #21247.
XML-RPC on by default, removed dashboard option
It seems that XML-RPC has improved a bit since it was introduced into WordPress core. Previously it was off by default — now it will be on, and the dashboard option itself is removed too. For most users this will remove the annoying step of enabling XML-RPC when connecting to apps and services that use it.
Though the admin option is gone, XML-RPC can be disabled using a filter. Or, if you’d rather not create your own, it looks like WordPress.org user philerb has put together a plugin to disable it already.
The relevant track ticket is #21509.
945 tickets annihilated for 3.5
You read that right: 945 tickets were completed and closed for this version of WordPress. That includes bugs, features, and necessary tasks. The biggest of kudos go out to release lead Andrew Nacin and all the core developers who contributed — especially Daryl Koopersmith who took the lead on the media manager. Thank a developer today when you get a chance!
Hey, that reminds me. Does anyone have a wish list for 3.6 yet?