WordPress 3.3 “Sonny” brings a raft of new improvements to the popular content management system.
Notably, the most significant is the new media uploader.
The sometimes confusing group of four icons for pictures/videos/audio and media has been replaced by a single media upload icon. But that’s just a cosmetic change. Users can now drag and drop their media straight onto the upload area for easier publishing. No more file upload forms and navigating through endless subfolders to find your files.
WordPress will detect what file types you’re trying to upload and adapt appropriately. What’s more, you can now upload .rar and .7z compressed file types for downloadable links.
This is a brilliant new feature that will not only make uploading pictures easier, but will also make training a much richer experience.
Regular users will instantly recognise a change in the menu layout. Where previously the left-hand menu system could be ‘exploded’ to stretch far deeper than your screen would allow, this has now been replaced by a fly-out menu, so that the depth of your menu will always be the same and in most screen sizes, all visible at once. Submenus will fly out to the right, making selecting them easier and quicker. Clicks have been replaced by hovers, adding to the speed of the management system, speeding up your workflow.
This area has seen much change over recent versions, but 3.3 combines what was the header into what was the admin bar. Now called the toolbar, this single strip across the top provides easy access to essential areas, and also key information about your website.
The dashboard layout has been improved for better layout in tablet and smartphone devices.
Just foisting changes on users is never a good thing unless it comes with an explanation. New pointers will appear on new features to introduce them. Another usability improvement.
Additionally, a list of new features and changes will appear for anyone that’s interested in finding out just what has changed. And a welcome page will appear the first time 3.3 (and subsequent versions) is launched.
The dashboard home screen will have a Welcome area that only appears when a new WordPress installation is accessed for the first time, prompting the site owner to complete various setup tasks. Once dismissed, this welcome can be accessed via the dashboard home screen options tab.
Editing alerts – WordPress more accurately identifies when others are editing the same post.
Tumblr import – Now you can import your Tumblr content
Widget memory – Widget configuration will be memorised if you change a theme, then go back
Flexible permalinks – performance improvements to permalinks without date info
Post slugs in plain english – no more garbled characters
jQuery – WordPress now includes the entire jQuery UI stack and the latest version, 1.7.1.
And that’s about it, although there are a few more features aimed at developers. Some really nice user interface improvements bring improved workflow and better usability.
We’ve been beta testing 3.3 and we really like it. The two biggest features are the media uploader and the flyout menu. both of these will save time for users and make training easier, and both have got to be seen as major improvements. WordPress is not resting on its laurels. It’s making serious improvements to the way the backend works.
WordPress continues to make its product better and better, and while 3.3 brings a raft of improvements, development of 3.4 will start as soon as the launch party is over.
There’s just no stopping it.
Do you have burning questions about your WordPress website. We are always happy to help. Just contact us.