What might be in WordPress 3.3? (Features)

One of the WordPress core team’s goals is to release multiple major updates per year with a short development cycle. WordPress 3.2 was released on July 4th, and it came with some incredible features. The discussions and work on WordPress 3.3 have already begun. The release of WordPress 3.3 is scheduled for the end of this year, with a target date of November 15, 2011. Let’s take a look at what might be in WordPress 3.3.

Enhancements to the Media Uploader

There have been discussions about improving the media uploader, but they have always been pushed back. Finally, we will see an improved uploader in version 3.3. Plupload will be integrated into the dashboard. Plupload is an extremely user-friendly upload handler that allows you to upload files using HTML5, Gears, Flash, Silverlight, BrowserPlus, and the good old-fashioned normal upload.

Jacob Gillespie is working on this project as part of the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) programme.

The following are some potential new features that could be added:

  • Multiple file transports, beginning with HTML5 and progressing to Flash, then HTML4.
  • Hooks for in-browser image processing
  • Drag and drop uploading
  • On-the-fly image resizing (so that a plugin could add pre-upload sepia tone for example)

This should definitely improve the file uploader’s overall user experience. This will also serve as a good foundation for the future, as it will gradually improve based on the user’s browser and environment.

There is a good chance that our image manipulation and gallery management section will improve. There has been a suggestion to remove the thickbox and move everything inline, so we’ll see if that makes it in.

Enhanced User Experience

When you first set up Gmail or your cPanel Hosting account, there is a first-time welcome screen that provides helpful guides to the new user. WordPress currently lacks this much-needed feature, which will be included in WordPress 3.3. The proposal is to have a first-time install welcome screen with introduction text and a checklist of steps to get started, as well as a first-time post-update welcome screen and a first-time exposure popup for new features.

This is definitely good news for new users, as the dashboard can be intimidating for newcomers.

(P.S. We are always available to WordPress Beginners, so follow us on Twitter (@wpbeginner) and like our Facebook page).

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WordPress 3.2 saw a user-interface overhaul, and the goal now is to make it look good on devices with different screen sizes (including larger screens) and human interface mechanisms, such as touch.

Enhance the Admin Bar

The WordPress Admin Bar first appeared in version 3.1. WordPress 3.3’s goal is to improve the admin user interface by combining the admin bar (in the dashboard) with the admin header to reduce duplication and save vertical space.

Enhancements to Performance

There’s a lot of talk about how highly desirable permalink structures aren’t scalable. Chris Coyier had some serious performance issues with his site, which he describes in detail on his Digging into WordPress blog. Hopefully, after the release of WordPress 3.3, you will be able to have SEO friendly URLs (Permalink structure) without sacrificing performance.

An upgrade routine will be used to address the issue of special characters in permalinks. Several fixes will be made to improve the performance of WordPress menus.

Packs of Languages

You should be able to download a language pack from Glotpress to localise your WordPress website if a translation exists. This would be applicable to plugins, themes, and the WordPress core. This will be derived from Marko Novakovic’s work in his GSoC project.

The Repository’s Child Themes

A strong push has been made to use child themes to speed up development while also making the code more secure and optimised. However, until now, developers have been unable to host their child themes on the official WordPress repository. Things are likely to change in this area as one of the most talented WordPress developers, Otto, takes over and adds this feature to the WordPress.org site in version 3.3.

Mixed Packet

There are numerous updates that are noteworthy but do not belong in their own category. As a result, they are listed below:

  • When you switch themes, your widgets vanish. We’re hoping that in WordPress 3.3, we’ll be able to keep our widgets while changing the theme.
  • Dismissible administrative notices
  • Settings and Meta API enhancements

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Which of these features are you most looking forward to seeing in WordPress 3.3?