What’s New in WordPress 3.7

I like the frequency of WordPress updates. They’re generally released every few months so you receive some great new features and bug fixes. But they’re not so frequent that you’re updating all your sites every other day.

WordPress 3.7 was released on October 24, 2013. You can download the files from wordpress.org/download/ or you can follow the Updates links from within the WordPress control panels. The WordPress team state “you might not notice a thing, and we’re okay with that”. Perhaps the only thing you will notice is WordPress requires less maintenance than ever…

Automated Background Updates

I’ve never encountered any issues with the one-click upgrade — it just works. WordPress 3.7 decrements it to a zero-click upgrade process! From now on, maintenance and security updates are applied in the background. You should only see an “Upgrade Now” button when version 3.8 is released.

This feature may not appeal to the more cautious administrators among you, but the WordPress team tested 110,000 sites without a single failure. On average, updates take less than 25 seconds and will only place WordPress in maintenance mode for a few seconds.

Fortunately, it’s possible to configure and disable background upgrades. Look out for a tutorial on SitePoint soon.

Updated Password Strength Meter

The new password strength meter now recognizes common weak password patterns such as names, dates, keyboard sequences, number sequences and even pop-culture references. It’s slightly scary — some of my passwords which were previously highlighted as “strong” have been re-classified as “very weak”!

Improved Search

WordPress’ search facilities had been adequate but rarely resulted in Google/Bing-like accuracy. You can make your own improvements but it puts an onus on the user to apply relevant filters.

WordPress 3.7 improves search with relevancy ordering — rather than just by date which tended to prioritize blog posts above pages. For example, a search term which matches a title should appear toward the top of the list. It’s a little difficult to evaluate the improvements unless you have 3.6 and 3.7 installations with identical content, but the few basic tests I tried seemed better.

Improved Global Support

The WordPress team has improved localization and promise to provide faster and more complete translations. Language files will also be kept up-to-date using the automatic background upgrades. It’s a sensible move: WordPress powers around a fifth of all websites and a large number of those won’t be using English.

Date Queries

Developers can now query posts within a certain date range or match certain criteria, such as those articles posted on a Friday during January this year. For more information, refer to the WordPress codex.

Multi-site wp_get_sites() Function

The new wp_get_sites() function allows you to fetch an array of all sites on your WordPress multi-site network without needing to use direct database queries. It won’t be useful to everyone and there’s no documentation yet, but it’s there should you need it.

Personally, I’m beginning to wonder whether all WordPress installations should be multi-site by default? The team possibly needs to make the interface a little easier and address domain mapping, but I’d certainly appreciate it!

Miscellaneous Updates

If that’s not enough…

  • accessibility improvements have been made
  • codex and in-system documentation has been updated
  • more than 437 bugs have been closed by the 211 developers

WordPress 3.7 is a great update. There haven’t been fundamental changes to the core, so I suspect most plugins and themes will be compatible. Unless you know otherwise?

All going well, WordPress 3.8 will be released at the end of 2013. We may see a new dashboard, themes page and search facilities.

Win an Annual Membership to Learnable,

SitePoint's Learning Platform

  • Anonymous

    I’m always afraid of making an update because when i updated 3.4 version, it crashed all my plugins and featured images. wordpress has updated it’s software in less than 2 months. If they are going to update it so frequently, i will stop updating because I’m really tired :(

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t make any back-up Mehreen Solat? I allways make a backup first and if something make wrong i put backup and make an instalation on a local machine.

  • Tim Igoe

    As a platform, WordPress is getting better with every release, its nice to see they are concentrating on building a solid platform now, rather than just adding masses of features / changing stuff that works :)

  • Gary

    The easiest way to configure WordPress’ new Automatic Updates feature is with this plugin:

    http://wordpress.org/plugins/automatic-updater/

    (Disclaimer: I wrote it.) :-)

  • Kods

    I had end up with some plugin conflict with new version of WP Updates. I usually wait few days until I get a plugin to update. What is going to happen if we don’t have any control in WP updates in future. (http://mashtips.com/)

    • Anonymous

      Only the (simpler) maintenance releases will be automatically updated. I’d hope that didn’t cause a conflict.

      That said, WordPress 3.7.1 has just appeared and none of my installations updated automatically?

      • Gary

        Because it’s the first automatic update, it’s being rolled out very slowly – currently all going smoothly.

  • Dave

    Mehreen Solat

    Updates are often done for a reason, usually bugs or security related issues as well as improvements. Not updating could make your site vulnerable to attack.

    • emcomments

      Updates that break a site ARE an attack!

  • Ken

    When will an update address making the damn WYSIWYG editor work better? It is so aggravating the way it handles (or doesn’t handle) line breaks, paragraph breaks, etc. and the way it “corrects” your HTML. It drives my clients crazy since they never quite know what will happen. some of the plugins like Ultimate Tiny MCE help, but what about putting some resources in to the WYSIWYG. Simply switching from Text view to Visual view should NOT screw up the page layout, but it often does.

    • Paul

      Yes, I strongly agree with this comment, and hope the developers could find a way soon, to offer a better built-in WYSIWYG editor.

  • Mike

    I so rarely have plugin or theme problems after updates, so auto updates suit me just fine (I’ve been using the automatic updater plugin for a couple months now anyway). But I guess I’m just one of the lucky ones.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t recall having any issues either. That said, I avoid using too many plugins. Unfortunately, some of the free/commercial templates are crammed full of plug-in dependencies.

      • Bill

        I’m the same way, my plugin list is quite small

  • pgb

    I prefer to update WordPress through my cpanel which does a backup first.

  • Mike

    I agree with regard to using as few plugins as possible (Jetpack is a very helpful meta plugin made by WordPress developers – using it significantly reduces the number of other needed plugins). Stick with a reputable theme or theme framework, as well. All told, I’ve been very pleased with auto updates on all my WP sites the past few months.

  • Anonymous

    I have never had an issue with WordPress updates crashing my sites so I am happy these will be automatic; will save me probably 4 hours every time an update comes out by logging into all of the sites I manage and updating. Great job!

  • Jurgen

    I don’t know any software that has so many bugs that it need to be updated all the time. It drives me nuts, because many times something will break, and often you only notice it after clients begin to complain about this or that that “doesn’t work anymore”. Actually, it often makes ME look incompentent in the eyes of the client, instead of the CMS.

  • Anonymous

    I always do a full backup -site and database – before a WordPress update. And it’s a good thing since I had to go back to previous version once because a plugin was not compatible. And it was a paid plugin from a well reputed developper. Another time, on another site, a plugin would not send mail if I used a hotmail admin mail account. You understand why I test all my sites after WordPress updates. This is why I won’t use backgroud updates. Anyways, I love WordPress and I think the development team is doing a great job.

    Christiane Lagacé
    christianelagace.com

  • ktonweb

    this auto update feature will save our time .. liked this feature