What’s New in WordPress 3.5

By Craig Buckler
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This article is outdated, check out what’s new in WordPress 4.6 here.

According to latest figures, WordPress powers one in five websites. WordPress is also used by more than half of all websites running a Content Management System. (Yes, some people will argue WordPress isn’t a CMS, but they’re just being hypercritical. And wrong). Finally, the 30 month-old 3.x edition is used on more than 95% of WordPress installations.

All going well, WordPress 3.5 will be released today. Here are the new features you can expect following your one-click upgrade…

Interface Updates

The existing layout and menus have been retained but the Welcome screen has been redesigned and simplified. Those of you with retina displays will appreciate the new icon set.

New Media Uploader and Library

The system for uploading, previewing and inserting images has been completely overhauled. It should be far easier to drag, drop and arrange galleries.

New Twenty-Twelve Theme

Twenty-Twelve is the first native theme to implement Responsive Web Design techniques. While a large selection of third-party responsive templates are available, many websites stick with the default — they’ll be mobile-friendly from now on.

The theme also includes a widget-enabled home page and the screen-legible Open Sans font from Google’s directory. Finally, it implements an extended set of post types:

  • Standard — a standard blog post
  • Aside — concise Tweet-like posts with no title
  • Image — single images
  • Link — links
  • Quote — quotations
  • Status — status updates

Favorite Plugins

Any plugin can be marked as a “favorite” so it can be quickly installed and configured across all your WordPress installations.

No More Links

The Links facility has been banished. I never used it and I don’t know anyone who did. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, download the new Link Manager plugin to bring the functionality back.

Miscellaneous Improvements

Not enough? What about:

  • oEmbed for easier media insertion from sites such as YouTube and Slideshare
  • better keyboard navigation
  • a new color picker
  • improved accessibility
  • mobile apps can integrate with XML-RPC (Remote Procedure Calls) which is now enabled by default
  • a faster Posts API
  • a new API to search through comments
  • right-to-left language support
  • UTF-8 encoding used by default.

Should I Upgrade?

Almost certainly. But I’d recommend doing so after a thorough test of your site, templates and plugins. Issues rarely arise, but the WordPress development team cannot possibly test every configuration or combination of theme and plugins.

Those of a more nervous disposition may prefer to wait until version 3.5.1 which will undoubtedly fix any major compatibility issues. If past experience is anything to go by, it’ll be released within a few weeks.

Let us know if you have any successes or failures with your upgrade…

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  • Nice article and interesting figures, thank you for sharing, Craig.

    I totally agree, WordPress is a CMS and is the best one /not one of the best CMS/

    I have not upgraded to WordPress 3.5 yet, however I am going straight to it after reading this.
    However, I will need to make child themes, do you think it’s a perfect way to upgrade WordPress using child themes or would anyone advise me something else?

    Also it’s great there will be Links no more. Actually I have never used it either and was waiting for the update without it.

  • I checked the wordpress.org and my server cPanel, both of which doesn’t have the new version of 3.5; is there anywhere that I should be looking to download the latest version ?

  • I must be among a rare few who has a use for the “Links Manager”. On my personal blog I use Links to show visitors where else they can find me online – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, etc.

    • I was also using the links function on my two WordPress sites. But I’m glad to hear that there’s a workaround, at least.

  • “But I’d recommend doing so after a thorough test of your site, templates and plugins.”

    How should I do this?

    • Ensure you have a local installation or perhaps one on an alternative/sub domain which can be used for testing.

  • it would be great if you talk about some more Technical Details such as which jquery version will be the default one on this version which libraries will packed with it ,
    however , many thanks for your efforts

  • “WordPress powers one in five websites.” – now that is scary!! – I use WP too but secretly dislike this anyone can publish on a sledgehammer to crack a nut platform. ave you seen how many files and coding there is just to show measly web page !! It’s overkill on overkill.

    Why does it create a load of different sized images to clog up the server that probably 90% never get used.

    How many are dormant or SEO cart horses – how much server power, electricty and hard drive space is a waste. WP is bad for your carbon footprint!!

    OK .. I use it cos it’s quick to set up and easy to theme and some of the responsive themes are getting really good – I just hate the surplus !! – They should modulize it so it conserves space and energy but oh no it’s for the masses to create ‘my holiday’.

    It’s all getting out of hand…. the web police should delete all blogs that have not been updated for 6 months. .. yep someone rattles my cage GRRRrrrrrrr ! :-)

    • WordPress can’t be everything to everyone. If there are features you don’t like, take the time to disable or remove them. Like for the images, go into settings > media > and set the sizes there to all 0 and your little “images clogging my server blah blah” issue is fixed.

      Do you honestly expect WordPress to have a mechanism of serving every troll with a gripe a custom build suited to their specific needs? Spend two minutes on Google, fix the problem yourself, actually learn the platform you’re using (all the while talking trash on, COMPLETE HYPOCRISY), and give the guys at WP a break.

      ITS FREE, OPEN SOURCE! Where you get this sense of entitlement is beyond comprehension. No one owes you a perfect CMS. And frankly, it IS the perfect CMS if you’re not too lazy to look under the hood. But with the “Carbon Footprint, Web Police, Do as I Say, Not as I Do” talk, I figure you as someone who enjoys being taken care of cradle to grave, unfortunately, WordPress isn’t in the business of wiping noses either.

  • Nice article! Short and to the point, just the way I like it.

    I’ll definitely be upgrading some of my sites to 3.5,sounds like they are listening to us for this one. Image post type? That sounds promising.

  • My suggestion for testing any new versions of WordPress is to set up your local development environment to have a ‘wordpress-beta’ or ‘wordpress-nightlybuilds’ directory and database dedicated to a testing installation. WordPress offers a plugin you can use to manage whether you are using the latest stable version (RCs )or the latest ‘bleeding edge’ version (nightly builds).

    To set up a local testing installation take a look here: http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress#Local_Installation_Instructions

    Download the latest nightly build here:

    Grab the WordPress Beta Tester plugin here:

    And if you really want to dig in and see what’s going on, subscribe to the WP-Testers mailing list:

    I’m using MAMP to run the nightly builds on my local system – today’s RC4 looks awesome!

  • As for child themes, I believe they are an absolute MUST. After one upgrade fiasco, I work with nothing BUT child themes. As soon as I start a website, I create the child theme and work in it exclusively. It has probably spared me from many hour of incompatibility grief when upgrading anything.

  • Ally

    Ha, I do actually use the Links functionality on a few of my sites, to show their partner sites/logos…so I guess I have some fixing to do!
    Nice, concise article. Thanks

  • Bas

    Waiting for Drupal 8 ;)

  • I find very interesting the idea of favorite plugins. I completely disagree with the links as there are many websites that used links for proposing related of useful websites.

    Expecting to see the changes in the media section!!!

  • Haven’t upgraded !!! will do it today :):) . Looking forward to a better interface as well as more options!! WordPress rocks!!

  • http://make.wordpress.org/core/2012/12/07/the-new-target-for-wordpress-3-5s-release-is/
    Make that Dec 10 (or 11, depending on where you are in the world).

    • Thanks Andrew. It looks as though a couple of nasty bugs cropped up at the eleventh hour. Shouldn’t be too long now, though…

  • On page edit
    I can’t click to switch visual to text tab , how can i do ?

  • Loving WordPress, but just noticed something a little weird with the 3.5 upgrade.

    On one of my sites when editing a page or post I can’t click the Visual editor, can only use the “Text” (formerly HTML) editor. It just refuses to change tab.

    Anyone else?

    Seems like a great upgrade otherwise. Just waiting to upgrade all my sites until I see some more on this issue.

  • I use the Links feature! It is a great way to keep a portfolio of websites. Put in the link to the site, along with a title and a description and I use a plugin that allows me to attached a “featured image” to the link. Works like a charm. BTW, I upgraded to 3.5 and the Links did not disappear – thankfully!

  • This is great posting and there are lots of things to learn about WordPress.
    Thanks for gathering and providing valuable information.

  • Nice article.. I like wordpress