What’s New in WordPress 3.3

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This article is outdated, check out what’s new in WordPress 4.6 here.
WordPress 3.3 has been released. The world’s most popular CMS and blogging tool has been tidied and polished further to make web publishing even easier. It’s been downloaded 65 million times since v3.0 was released and is estimated to run 15% of all websites (or 22% of all new websites).

Existing users can upgrade with single click. I’ve rarely experienced problems doing that but it still makes me nervous. Back-up your files and database before proceeding.

Let’s see what goodies WordPress 3.3 has to offer…

Revamped Interface

HTML5 responsive design techniques have been implemented to help WordPress work on small-screen devices such as tablets. As you reduce the screen size, features such as the side menu automatically collapse.

If you suffer from aching fingers, v3.3’s new flyout sub-menus make it possible to access any administrative screen with a single click.

WordPress 3.3 flyout menu

The (previously optional) admin bar and the header have been combined into a single toolbar. It saves space, is less obtrusive and provides quick access to help, comments quick add links and your profile. That said, I suspect it may cause compatibility issues with some plug-ins — it’s definitely a feature you should test before going live.

Finally, WordPress helps you discover new features with pointers which appear the first time you see them:

WordPress 3.3 feature pointers

Drag and Drop Media Upload

Assuming you’ve got a decent HTML5 browser, you’ll never need to use the clunky “browse files” dialog again. One or more images or other media can be dragged into the media upload box.

In addition, there’s now a single upload panel for all media — no matter what file types you want to add. WordPress also supports RAR and 7z archive formats.

New Tumblr Importer

WordPress can now import content directly from Tumblr. Tumblog posts can be converted to a matching WordPress post format.

Better Co-operation

If you’ve ever received the “Warning: Bob is currently editing this post” message, you’ll be pleased to hear that co-editing activity lags should be a thing of the past.

There’s More…

Version 3.3 also offers:

  • a new dashboard welcome screen for fresh installations
  • a new post-update changelog screen
  • more flexible and faster permalinks
  • an overhaul of the editor API
  • a new WP_Screen API for working with admin panels
  • a new is_main_query() for determining whether you’re in the main loop

Time to Upgrade?

Few people will experience problems but they inevitably crop up with new software releases. If the whole of your business depends on WordPress, it might be advisable to let others find the issues and wait for version 3.3.1. If past experience is anything to go by, that’ll be available within a few weeks.

Have you upgraded to WordPress 3.3? Is it the best version ever or has your installation exploded?

Download WordPress 3.3 from wordpress.org/download

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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