WordPress 3.7 Beta Now Available

WordPress 3.7 Beta Now Available

WordPress 3.7 Beta 1 is out and ready for testing.

You’re probably thinking, “Wasn’t WordPress 3.6 only just released?!” Yep, it’s been been a super short release cycle – version 3.6 was shipped just two months ago on August 1. Even the 3.7 Beta is out early – it was made available on Saturday, two days ahead of its scheduled release today.

WordPress 3.7 focuses on delivering key improvements to security, stability and updates, as well as whittling down more than 3500 open Trac tickets. The final version is expected to be shipped on October 14 and will mark the fastest turnaround of any version of WordPress.

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So What’s New in WordPress 3.7?

At first glance it doesn’t seem like there’s much to write home about, but it’s what’s under the hood that matters. Lead developer Andrew Nacin announced a summary of the finalised features in a post on the WordPress News blog. No other major features will be added at this stage.

  • Automatic Updates: This biggest change in this version of WordPress is the introduction of auto-updates for minor releases. This means that if a security update such as 3.7.1 becomes available, your WordPress install will automatically upgrade itself. For major releases, such as version 3.8, you will still need to manually update your WordPress installation. If you install Beta 1, your install will automatically update itself to the newest development build. When you go to Dashboard > Updates in your WordPress site you will see a message letting you know whether auto-updates are available. Automatic updates won’t work for everyone, which I covered in a post last week. If you’re not keen on having auto-updates, rest assured you can turn the feature off.
  • Japanese English dictionary
    Translations will be automatically updated in WordPress 3.7, improving internationalization.

    WordPress in Another Language: If you’re running WordPress in a language other than English, your WordPress install will automatically upgrade to the latest available translations for official WordPress importers and default themes. There’s more information on this feature yet to come.

  • Stronger Passwords: The password meter has been strengthened using Dropbox’s zxcvbn library. Engineer Dan Wheeler developed the open source estimator as an independent Dropbox hackweek project. The estimator catches common patterns and doesn’t penalize sufficiently complex passphrases like “correcthorsebatterystaple”. Wheeler’s post on the Dropbox Tech Blog offers a detailed rundown of how the estimator works and how it compares to estimators used by sites like Facebook, Gmail and Yahoo!
  • Search Results: When you search a WordPress site the results will now be ordered by relevance, rather than by date. Also, when your keywords match post titles and not just content, they will be pushed to the top of the list.
  • Improved Date Arguments for WP_Query: Here’s one for developers. Currently, there’s no way to get a set of posts that fall within a date range or older/newer than a certain date range. A new set of arguments have been created for WP_Query that work similarly to the relatively new meta and taxonomy arguments.

WordPress 3.7 Beta 1 is still in development, so it’s not a great idea to run this release on a live production site. It’s best to set up a test site if you want to play with the new version. To test the Beta, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or you can download the Beta.

If you find a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums.

Keep in mind that you won’t have much time to settle into using version 3.7 – WordPress 3.8 is due out in early December.

What do you think about the new features in WordPress 3.7? Tell us in the comments below.

Image credits: WikiMedia CommonsPhil Oakleytakako tominaga.