What’s New In WordPress 3.3

WordPress.org have been chucking out new versions of the core Content Management System (CMS) with lightning speed over the past 6 months and the new upcoming version 3.3 is on its way.

So what are the new features in WordPress 3.3?

Admin Bar + Header = Persistent Toolbar

This is one of the biggest UI changes to the admin dashboard.  The header area at the top of the dashboard has been dropped in favour of combining it with the admin bar,

This means that your live site preview link is in the tool bar along with your user profile and other”handy” options.

WordPress 3.3 Persistent Toolbar New Feature

As the word persistent implies, you can’t turn this feature off (without hacking the code) and that’s a bit of a shame as most of the options there duplicate the LHS menu options which have also had a bit of an overhaul with the sub menu items flying out on hovering.

WordPress 3.3 Admin Flyouts New Feature

With the header area gone, white labeling has taken a hit too as you no longer have that area to brand with your clients logo and corporate colours which we felt were a nice touch and quite unique to the WordPress CMS.

There also doesn’t appear to be any easy way to add or remove items to the new toolbar using the 3.3 RC1 but that may change in the final release.

First Time Installation & Core Updates

When installing a fresh copy of WordPress you will now get a welcome message giving you an overview of the site and links to important areas and if the system detects you doing something new you’ll likely see a pop-up notification indicating the new feature (see “New Feature: Toolbar” in 1st image above).

This is all part of giving novice users a better experience with the Content Management System.

Any core updates will bring you to the new About page (also available from the Toolbar underneath the WordPress “W” logo) highlighting the change log of new features, bug fixes and other changes.

Dashboard Design

It’s worth noting that the dashboard UI has been given a new responsive design that will lend itself to adapt better on iPad and other tablets although we haven’t tested that feature yet.

Easier Media Uploading

Version 3.3 will attempt to detect the type of file that you are trying to upload to a page or post and gone are the four standard upload icons in favour of a single unified upload icon.

The new up-loader also supports drag and drop files making the whole process easier, faster and in-line with other new web apps using the HTML5 features.  Of course your browser will need to support HTML5 for this feature to work, otherwise you will get the old/current up-loader pop-up box.

The file up-loader now also recognises the rar and 7z formats which are fast becoming the most popular compression methods.

Content Tools

One of the main gripes from content editors has been the time-lag between the system recognising when an editor has saved and exited from a page or post before another can go in and update it.

This has been improved in WordPress 3.3 and users will only receive the warning message when another person is in the edit window of the page or post making co-editing a much less frustrating task.

Under the tools section, you’ll now find a Tumblr importer making it easier to import and/or migrate your content from that system.

Widgets have also had a little feature added to them so that they will “remember” their configuration and placement between themes.

This means that if you change to a new theme, play around with the widgets and then decide to revert back to the old theme, the widgets you had in place then will be remembered and used.  Nice!

WordPress are still debating how long the widgets will be remembered for but the results from the poll on the website suggest people want them to be remembered forever.

Other Core Updates

Permalink performance has been improved when choosing different structures and non-standard characters in post slugs are now supported.

Developers will be smiling with the announcement of the inclusion of the whole jQuery UI and support for jQuery 1.7.1 built straight into the core.

What are your thoughts on the new 3.3 version?

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Wil is a dad, WordPress consultant, WordPress developer, business coach and mentor. He co-organizes the WordPress Sydney meetup group and has been on the organising committee for WordCamp Sydney since 2014. He speaks at many special events and contributes to the WordPress open source project. His likes are chillies, craft beer and electrogravitics.