Update: Post updated to reflect changes since it was last written. Screenshots have been updated to reflect the latest changes. Also you can download WordPress 3.5 RC4 now or can update to RC5 via SVN. Final Version will be released on December, 10.
WordPress 3.5 Beta 1 was announced few hours back. And Final version is still about 2 months away. Now is the appropriate time you should know what all to expect from it. Well the official release post must have given you some idea of what all you can expect from the release but here I will try to list out all the major and minor changes you should know about the upcoming release.
Media Upload WorkFlow Overhaul
The Biggest change we can expect in WordPress 3.5 is how you upload the images and insert them in the post. The new process will make the procedure of uploading the images and creating image galleries far easier and will take very few clicks. Here are few screenshots that will show you how it looks like currently.
The changes regarding Image management are not only in the uploading process but also under the hood as well. WordPress now uses ImageMagick Engine wherever its available which ensures better quality and faster editing. It will fall back to GD Image library if ImageMagick is not installed on your webhosting.
Link Manager Gone (Finally)
For New installations, you won’t see the link manager anymore. Also if you are upgrading to 3.5 and didn’t have any links before, you won’t see it anymore. But if you had links and are upgrading, it will continue to work fine as before. For those who want to use Link Manager in 3.5 new installations, you will need to download Link Manager plugin to re-enable it. WordPress may do away with the Link Manager permanently soon in an upcoming release but for now it has been well hidden.
New Default Theme
Yes 2012 is about to end but the new theme titled ‘Twenty Twelve’ is finally gonna ship with WordPress 3.5 as the new default theme. Twenty Twelve is a fully responsive theme and comes with a front page where you can add your own content. It even comes with two widget areas specifically for the front page. It has full support for Retina Displays and includes Open Sans Fonts. You can even test Twenty Twelve theme by signing up for WordPress.com service if you are not a member or can download it from WordPress.org directory if you want to delve deeper into it.
oEmbed Improvements – Add Instagram, SoundCloud and Slideshare links directly.
Finally you can embed all those Instagram, Soundcloud and Slideshare links directly in your blog posts without requiring an embed code. Moreover, https Links are now allowed. So no more issues with Vimeo.com embeds anymore.
WordPress is getting major visual facelifts with each release in the past couple of years. 3.5 is no different. Here is a list of all the noticable visual changes you will get to see.
The first different thing you will notice is how the buttons have changed. Instead of the old oval shaped buttons, now they have gone for a flat square shaped look. Don’t know what was the need for this change though.
Other major difference which Apple users will notice is that Dashboard is completely Retina compatible.
You will also sport a new welcome screen which sports a much cleaner look while focussing on the essentials.
Post Editor Changes - TinyMCE Editor also has gone for a facelift and looks much better and in tandem with the post editor. Also the HTML Tab has been renamed to Text. Keyboard shortcut for DFW Mode now shows correctly in TinyMCE. Earlier the button said full screen and showed the keyboard shortcut for TinyMCE Full screen view but now both the button text and the corresponding displayed shortcut refers to DFW(Distraction Free Writing) Mode.
- On the Writing page these settings have been done away with – Size of the post box(will depend on how you resize it yourself and the value will be saved in cookies) and Remote Publishing Settings(These settings are on by default now. You can still turn them off via xmlrpc_enabled filter.).
- On the reading page, Charset setting have been removed for new installations.
- Search Engine Privacy settings have been shifted from Privacy options page to the Reading page. So no more Privacy options page now.
- A minor change on Discussions page is that now Show Avatars option has been turned into a checkbox instead of showing Yes or no.
- On the Media page, options to turn on oEmbeds and to change their dimensions have been removed. oEmbeds are now turned on by default. Width for an embed will be inherited from the theme or the content frame and height will be set automatically to 1.5 times of the total content width or 1000px whichever is smaller. Though the shortcode can still receive the height/width attributes. Also options to set the custom upload directory/url have been removed. You will need to UPLOADS constant in wp-config.php to change it. define ('UPLOADS', 'uploads'); This will set your url as http://domain.com/uploads. Also remember, the path set via this constant will always be set with respect to your installation. You can’t shift your uploads directory outside your installation.
Attachment Editor has been given a facelift. It now works via post.php file. Which means when you will try to edit an attachment from the Media page it will open a page it will resemble the post editing screen. So now you will be able to add content to an attachment page using a proper post editor.
A New Color picker has been introduced on the Customize Theme’s page.
Favorite Plugins in DashBoard
Earlier this year, WordPress.org introduced the option to mark a plugin favorite in their plugin directory which allowed you to mark certain plugins as your favorite. No more trying to remember their names or bookmarking links. With WordPress 3.5 you will be able to access those favorite plugins from the dashboard and install them directly. Infact, not only your favorite plugins but you can access anyone’s favorite plugins as it just requires a username to access them.
Want to Try out WordPress 3.5?
If you want to try out the latest bleeding edge version you can do so via the official WordPress SVN or Git repositories. Or if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can just install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and convert your existing blog to the latest bleeding edge trunk version. But you will need to constantly update it to keep up with the latest updates. You can find more changes in my other post titled “Things a developer should know about WordPress 3.5“.