WordPress released its newest version of its software this past week, bringing the version up to 3.2. If you have not updated yet, you should do so now. While I know some folks wait a bit before upgrading to newer versions of WordPress, I’ve rarely had troubles from WordPress in upgrading. If I did, it was a quick fix that did not otherwise disrupt my site. I’m now upgrading all client sites who have managed hosting through gregoryluce.com.
Changes to the Admin Interface
For most users, the biggest change is how the dashboard looks, with changes in the default font as well as some CSS shifts to move things around to make more space. Before 3.2, the default dashboard looked like this (click to enlarge any images):
After upgrading to 3.2, the change in the interface is a bit jarring:
I’m not a huge fan of the change and hate that there is no padding now on the left hand side of the page. It makes me feel off center. But, I can live with it (or, if I can’t live with it later, there are already plug-ins available to revert back to the old style). The other big change for regular users is a better design of the “full screen” editing mode. While there was a full screen mode in prior versions, it was only for folks who used the Visual editor (as opposed to the HTML editor). Now, full screen has been added for both Visual and HTML editors, plus it’s been redesigned to be much easier to use. To use it in WordPress 3.2, just look for the full screen icon and click on it. Both buttons are highlighted below.
For Geekier Folks (or for Self-Hosters)
Finally, for the geekier users (primarily WordPress site developers), WordPress has upped the MySQL and PHP versions required for self-hosting on WordPress. If you self host (as opposed to using WordPress.com), then you’ll need to make sure your hosting service provides at least MySQL 5.0.15 and PHP 5.2.4. A quick email to your hosting provider should get you that answer quickly (or it should be prominent on the providers support or help pages).
The Rest of the Stuff
The WordPress folks highlight about 400 other changes in 3.2, most of those performance based changes and minor fixes. Other than what I’ve already highlighted, the other semi-major changes are a refined admin bar (the gray bar you seen when you are signed into your site) and a new default theme “Twenty Eleven.” WordPress, however, has a list of all the changes in WordPress 3.2. here.