What Can We Expect in WordPress 3.3?

What Can We Expect in WordPress 3.3?

It seems like only yesterday that we all upgraded to WordPress3.2 which means that it’s time to look forward to WordPress 3.3. We can expect to see it arrive some time in November.  Jane Wells has just posted the proposed scope on the WordPress Development Updates blog. I’m going to dig a little bit deeper into what she says and see if I can speculate on what we can expect in WordPress 3.3.

User Features

Improved Uploader

plupload logoWhat the blog says:

Definitely v1: Integrate Plupload into dashboard

If you’re like me and you post a lot of images in your blog post then you’ve no doubt had the same frustration with the image uploader. It takes such a long time to format a post. It’s a pretty time-consuming process. But the next big release of WordPress will have Plupload integrated into it.

Plupload is an upload handler that lets you upload files using HTML 5, Gears, Silverlight, Flash, BrowserPlus and normal uploads. Check out its features (from the Plupload website): plupload comparison table

Integration of Plupload into the WordPress core is being carried out by Jacob Gillespie for his Google Summer of Code project. From Jacob’s GSoC website it looks like we might be able to expect:

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

Nice, right? For a glimpse into the future you could check out the WPlupload Plugin in the WordPress repository.

Jane has also suggested that they would like to get rid of the thickbox and move everything inline. I’d love to see this! The thickbox is my bane :(

New User Experience

help circle iconWhat the blog says:

♫ Feels Like the First Time ♫

WordPress are looking to improve the experience for first time users so that when they install for the first time they get a series of helpful features to get them started:

  • An intro screen for first-time install with checklist of steps to help the user get started
  • Post-update screen like we find in Mozilla
  • First time exposure pop-up for new features

This will a great addition for n00bs as a first land on the dashboard can be overwhelming. I can also see it having great potential Multisite Networks. Hopefully there will be a way to turn it off for jaded old WordPressers who already know it all.

User Interface

responsive design iconResponsive Admin

Make the admin dynamically display nicely on devices of various screen sizes (including wider screens) and human interface mechanisms, such as touch.

As you can probably tell from the recent WPMU.org redesign, we are all over responsive design. I can’t wait to see a responsive WordPress admin area. A few months ago wrote some posts about working with WordPress on your iPad and it was really the admin area that was a let down. There are also some issues with people accessing the admin area on massive screens. It’ll be great to see a responsive admin area – a fanastic improvement to usability. If you’re interested to learn more about the background to this you could check out the discussion on the Make WordPress UI discussion.

Improve Admin Bar

What the blog says:

work toward combining admin bar (in dashboard) with admin header to reduce duplication and save vertical space

The admin bar was been a contentious issue ever since it arrived on the scene. Plenty of people love it, plenty of people hate it – sort of like marmite, I guess. The next verion of WordPress the admin header and admin bar will be combined to save on precious space. What do you think to this? Is this one step of admin bar love too far?


Performance Improvements

performance improvements iconThere are quite a few improvements to performance but here’s the one that it particularly interesting:

From the blog:

/%postname%/ permalinks without performance penalty

Those of you running large websites may have be having performance issues with your site when using the /%postname%/ permalink structure. There’s a fascinating post by Chris Coyier at Digging into WordPress about this very matter. Many of us use the /%postname%/ structure because it looks so much nicer that having a bunch of numbers and names. It would be great to see WordPress crack this one and end the whole permalink debate.

Language Packs

From the blog:

Merge in GSoC project.

Another GSoC project! This time from Marko Novaković. Provided a translation exists, you should be able to download a language pack from GlotPress to localize your WordPress website. This should work for plugins and themes, and for WordPress core. Can’t wait? Here’s a sneak peek:

Screenshot of WordPress language packs UI


Developers will be pleased to see some improvements coming to the API. These include:

Meta Improvements

  • register_meta, new caps, *_metadata_by_mid()
  • WP_Meta_Box (possibly)

Settings API Improvements

  • Convert table markup to CSS


  • Make settings fields/forms/errors construction less painful
  • Use the settings API in the Network Admin
  • Kill options.php as a POST handler

And finallly….

Child Themes to Arrive at WordPress.org?

This has been on the cards for a while, but there, tucked away at the bottom of the list under “updates/upgrades” is:

Feature: Ability to install child themes (in the theme directory) via the theme installer

Yay! Can’t wait to see it! This is an exciting feature for both theme developers and users and much anticipated by us at WPMU.org.

You can visit the WordPress Development Updates blog to check out all of the other changes taking place and also offer your help.

What do you think about WordPress 3.3? Anything you’re particularly excited about? Anything that makes you groan?

(header image: CC license Debs)

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