WordPress 3.2 was released in July 2011, despite there having been several updates already this year. The new version came about for a couple of different reasons:
- WordPress wanted to slim down on redundant coding that had been added in order to utilize PHP 5 techniques
- They wanted to eliminate more coding so that they would have a far more efficient code base
Along with the new WordPress release, however, there have been some other changes that bloggers should know about. We’ll start with:
1. Theme Changes
If you are a regular WordPress user, then you’re well aware that the older Kubrick theme was replaced with a more fresh “Twenty-Ten” theme. Well, a new year has begun and so a new “Twenty-Eleven” theme has been released as well.
Visually, the Twenty-Eleven theme is very similar to the Twenty-Ten theme, but behind the scenes there are some large differences. First, the Twenty-Eleven theme allows you to choose a single or double column layout for blogging inside of the WordPress Admin. Secondly, you also have the option to choose dark or light color schemes. Twenty-Eleven does still allow you to have a custom header image and backgrounds, just as Twenty-Ten did.
2. Less Distractions
WordPress is all about writing, so who wants to have a screen that’s full of different buttons and options and toggles? No one. With 3.2, you have the option of selecting what Mark Jaquith, WordPress’s core developer, calls “Distraction Free Writing.”
To access this new feature, make sure that you are in HTML writing mode. From there, click on the “Full Screen” or the brand new icon for the Distraction Free Writing in the toolbar of the text editor. From there you are presented with a fresh off-white canvas to spill your thoughts and ideas onto. There are some basic tools along the top of the screen, but these tools are to allow for you to carry out basic formatting.
3. The Move To PHP 5.2.4 And MySQL 5.0
One of the big focuses here for releasing WordPress 3.2 was to employ the PHP 5. Though overall this is a good thing, it can wreak havoc for a lot of bloggers and has already caused delays and frustrations for those who were unprepared. As with the adoption of the PHP 5.2.4, WordPress will require that you use MySQL 5.0. Though this isn’t a huge problem for most, and some easy plugins have been created to ensure easy compatibility with WordPress 3.2, some unfortunate users may still be getting headaches over this.
4. A Better Help Menu
WordPress used to be a hands-on learning only environment, meaning that their “Help” pages were lacking a whole lot of actual real help. For those who are new, you can easily find detailed assistance and learn how to use it in no time.
5. Upgrade Enhancements
Remember how long it would take to upgrade WordPress in the past? One would have to agree to the upgrade, and then download an entire package and then apply it over top of the existing version. This took a lot of time and was an area of frustration for many.
The good news is that with the new release there won’t be any lags or delays with each upgrade. The new version has the ability to enable all upgrades so that they will be done in small bite-sized pieces at a time, which makes the process so much faster and so much more efficient.
6. More Focus On The Admin Bar
With the release of WordPress 3.1 we all were introduced to the admin bar. Though with that release it was less than relevant to many, the new release is putting more of a focus on it. The Admin Bar is now being turned into the command central, where any quick actions (such as adding a new post, editing a page, or quickly accessing dashboards) can be done immediately.
7. Bye-Bye, Internet Explorer 6
Not that many users actually utilize the Internet Explorer browser any more, so 6 is no longer being supported in the new release.
8. The File System API
The coding which handles all upgrades and the automatic WordPress plugins has been completely overhauled. Any sort of obsolete or unnecessary coding has been completely eliminated. New “streams” are being utilized (streams were used with PHP 4.3, but they were not as fast) and the PHP requirement now allows for WordPress 3.2 users to do a lot more when it comes to file transferring and writing.
9. It’s Faster
A lot of WordPress users stick with their older version of WordPress because they really see no real value to upgrading. One great reason why you should upgrade is because the new 3.2 release is a lot faster than before. Thanks to the streamlining of the code all over the site, any depreciated functions have been removed from this version and WordPress 3.2 runs a lot more efficiently than earlier versions. So with 3.2 you can expect faster upgrades, faster page loads, and faster plugin additions.
This is even more important for you bloggers as Google is making changes in their organic search engine to include speed and performance in their rankings!
10. How To Fix Two Major Complaints
Most WordPress 3.2 users have two major complaints: they hate the large header size, and they hate that the sidebar is missing from posts.
The good news is that there is a fix for both of them. A plugin can be found on Raygun that will allow you to resize your header immediately. After the installation process is completed, under the “Appearance” tab you will find a new option: “Resize Header.”
As for reestablishing your sidebar in posts, you can go to TricksMommy.com to obtain code that you can ass to your single.php and style.css theme files. Copy your theme folder “twentyelven” by TRP and rename it before you do so, and then under “Appearance” click on “Themes” to activate any copied themes in WordPress.