A new version of WordPress recently launched (December 11 to be exact), with a few nice features you’ll want to take note of.
Enhanced Welcome Screen
The welcome screen includes links to navigate directly to the Theme Customizer, to change your theme, write a blog post, add a new page, modify widgets, create or modify existing WordPress menus and modify comment settings. (If you don’t see the Welcome screen make sure you open the Screen Options in the top right corner and check the Welcome box.)
Improvements to Media Manager
The new Media Manager (AKA photo/audio/video uploader) has a new interface which is much more user-friendly. One thing I really like is that it now lets you drag and drop to rearrange photos in a photo gallery – a much better method than the numbering system required before!
Responsive Twenty Twelve Default Theme
The new Twenty Twelve default theme is fully responsive. It adjusts really well to smaller screen sizes without losing or compromising much of the basic page functionality, and hence very user friendly for mobile web users. This doesn’t affect people using a different theme than Twetny Twelve but it is helpful to know for anyone considering using the Twenty Twelve theme in the future, or when doing a new WordPress installation.
Removal of Links Manager
The Links section of the Dashboard has been removed for new WordPress installations. Older installs using links are ok for now, but keep in mind that you may be required to use a plugin in the future, to achieve the Links functionality. (I have found the Links section useful on some of my clients’ sites, so I will be watching closely to see what happens with this goes the future.)
Easier Plugin Installs with Favorites
If you run multiple websites using WordPress, like I do, you will find this feature very useful. If you have plugins that you regularly install on all your WordPress sites, you can now favorite them on WordPress.org and find them easily via the Plugin Installer. When you click Favorites you will be asked to enter your WordPress.org user name and then your favorite plugins will display. (Tip: you can enter anyone’s WordPress.org username and get a list of their favorite plugins – pretty cool, for us WordPress fanatics! :-))
I’ve heard whispers in the WordPress community that there have been some noticeable performance improvements. I have not had time to verify this myself but am happy to hear it, as faster is always better!
Watch the WordPress 3.5 Video
If you’re very visual, like most of us these days, you can watch this short video about What’s New in WordPress 3.5 on the WordPress blog.
Is Your Site Updated?
Have you updated your WordPress site lately? If you haven’t done this in a while I recommend you do it soon, to ward off security hacks and other potential problems caused by an outdated WordPress installation. The updates I’m talking about apply to plugins, themes and the WordPress version updates. If you’d rather offload this to someone else I suggest ordering a Website Tune-Up or a WordPress Maintenance Plan. No need to pull your hair out with WordPress updates when you have a business to run!
Don’t Forget the Backup
As always, make sure you run a backup (on both the files and the database) before doing any updates!
A Note for Thesis Users
Thesis theme users: According to DIYThemes, Both Thesis 2.0.2 and Thesis 1.8.5 are perfectly compatible with WordPress 3.5, and thanks to some WordPress dashboard tweaks, both versions will appear to run a little bit faster than they did before. Good news for the Thesis folks, me included.
Let’s Hear From YOU
So what are your thoughts on the new WordPress 3.5 release? Are you happy about these improvements or are there other changes you would like to see? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.