WordPress 3.6 beta 1 was released on April 4th, meaning that we now have a “feature complete” version of WordPress 3.6. This means that all the intended features are in place, but there’s still some bugs to work out, so it’s good for testing, but probably not a good idea for a live WordPress site.
So, what’s coming in this new release? Well, here’s a rundown of what’s new in WordPress 3.6:
Revised menus UI
The menus user interface is getting a slight facelift. I personally didn’t think the system was broken, but clearly some others did! In fact, you now have extra clicks to add some items to the menu, since the UI now includes an accordion feature for the different menu items.
Post Formats UI update
The post formats UI is also receiving a makeover, with WordPress adopting a more inclusive approach to post formats. At the top of the post editor, you now get a row of icons to choose your post format from. The editor window then adjusts to allow you to enter the appropriate information. This is a great feature and I love the way it’s integrated. As someone who has recently taking up more of a tumblr-style of blogging, with lots of post formats, this is a very welcome addition. It seems as though theme authors will have to modify their themes to take advantage of the new fields however, so adoption may not be widespread, at least initially.
New default theme – Twenty Thirteen
It seems that we only just got our hands on Twenty Twelve, but Twenty Thirteen is already here. It’s a more bold theme than previous default themes – I’ll let you decide whether you like it or not. Take a look at the demo site.
Core support for audio and video
Using the most up-to-date and cross-browser compatible libraries (MediaElement.js), WordPress is now including core support for audio and video in WordPress. If you’ve ever wanted to add a video directly to your site and been at a loss for how to do it, you’re in the majority, because there hasn’t been core support for it, relying on oEmbed instead.
In WordPress 3.6, audio and video get core support with two new shortcodes and . You can read more about how this is going to work here, but just know that in a few weeks, you can host your own videos and music if you like.
Auto-save saves your entry as you’re writing it, making occasional saves to your WordPress database. In WordPress 3.6, all of that is going to be done locally (on your machine), making for much more reliable auto-saving, meaning that browser crashes or a server issue are not going to result in lost work.
Post revisions are getting an overhaul, with styling that appears to have taken a leaf out of Google’s book. There will be avatars, and scrubbers that allow you to view the differences between post revisions.
When working on multi-author blogs, it can be difficult for multiple people to work on the same article. Post locking attempts to resolve that, by locking a post when one person is editing it, but enabling you to “take over” the document if you suspect they’ve left the window open inadvertently and aren’t actively working on it.
There are various other small upgrades like improved notification of an expired login that will improve the way that we interact with WordPress.
All in all, it’s a great upgrade for anyone using a multi-author blog, anyone working with post formats, audio and video, and anyone who’s excited about the Twenty Thirteen theme. The release date, which is always subject to change, is currently set at April 29th. Mark your calendars!
What feature are you most excited about? Tell us in the poll below.