WordPress 3.5 – What You Need to Know

WordPress 3.5 has rolled out for all sites.  It’s vital that you run the updates for security purposes, but it’s also full of goodies that will improve your experience.  What new changes can you expect?

Media Manager

The media uploading is consolidated and makes quick work of sorting photo galleries.

WordPress 3.5

 

 

add mediaAdd your new media image, select and describe your photos, and insert it into your post.  Or, create a gallery and shuffle your photos easily.  Take note, you now have an easy interface for inserting an image from another site. Simply copy/paste the image from wherever else you have uploaded it to already, and paste it here.

inserturl

Blogroll Links

In the early heyday of blogging, publishers would often share other blogs they read in the blogroll widget on the sidebar of their site.  That was later renamed “links”.  Given the lack of use overall, new installs of WordPress will no longer have “Links” but it can be readded via the Links Manager Plugin.

Retina Display

The administrative dashboard is now retina ready, meaning it looks good on high resolution monitors and hi-def tablets.

HTML Editor renames “Text”

The tab formerly labeled HTML is now labeled “Text”. Otherwise, the same code editing interface is all still functional.

Import Tumblr posts to WordPress

Ready to make the leap from casual blogging to the big leagues?  WordPress can now import all your Tumblogs.

Embed more media sources easily via oEmbed

You can now embed more media sources quickly by simply pasting in the link to the item.  This works well with tweets and Youtube videos, but now includes Instagram, SlideShare, and SoundCloud. Below I’ve pasted in a photo from my Instagram at instagram.com/p/PUFwGNSar8 by only pasting in the full link. WordPress knows how to swap out the code for the image.

Good morning WordCamp! #wcbalt

A photo posted by Courtney Engle Robertson (@courtneyengle) on

Favorite Plugins

Especially useful for WordPress developers is a list of favorite plugins, your own or other well known developers. Begin by browsing on WordPress.org’s plugins area htttp://wordpress.org/extend/plugins.  You can favorite the plugins when you’ve logged in by clicking the heart icon:

favorites

When you have new websites to install, seeing your favorite list of plugins will speed up configuring the site.  Browse to Plugins –> Add New –> Favorites –> insert a username (your’s or others) to see the list:

favoritesshown

Users Names and Assigning Content

Users profile names by default will show their first and last name, rather than the username they use to login.  In addition, if you are deleting a user, you’ll be prompted to either delete content attributed to them or reassign it to other contributors.

Twenty-Twelve Theme

Each year for the past 3 years WordPress core has released their own default theme (away from the early years of Kubric).  Twenty-Twelve is full of all sorts of bells and whistles, yet is simple and clean in its interface.  It’s the first mobile-first theme the team has released, with an emphasis on being mobile-responsive so that all those phones and tablets have a good experience while viewing your site.

I’m testing out Twenty-Twelve over on my family’s site: Robertson’s Home.  Thus far I’m liking it for it’s clean interface, though I wish it supported all post_format options out of the box a bit better, especially the Galleries. I’m hoping to really share a lot of photos from my mobile phone into posts, and this feature is near the top of my WordPress wishlist.

I’ll continue to use Twenty-Twelve on bare-bones sites, but still feel there are a few more robust theme frameworks like Headway that really let me max out a site for it’s full compatibility.

Update to WordPress 3.5 now

When I jumped into WordPress around version 2.1, adding plugins, themes, and running general updates was a tedious process.  It took a lot of work, and often no matter what prevention people tried the whole site would crash to a screeching halt as the white screen of death taunted us to figure out what went wrong. These nightmares are long-gone, yet many sites are still severely outdated.  Just like you update your computer (Microsoft’s Tuesday patches are well known), you need to update the system running your website.  So long as you’re on anything from WordPress 3.0 forward, this shouldn’t be a problem.  As always, consult your webdev team if you’re further out of date than that.  Security first kids.

I love WordPress

Aside from WordPress being so easy to use, I love the WordPress community.  I can follow what they are working on easily in Trac, test out the current work in progress on my site via the nightly-builds WordPress Beta Tester plugin or read about it on their blog, and watch the chatter in Twitter among many core contributors.  I can meet them and many plugin devs at WordCamp for a mere $25.  Get to know this community – it will keep you sharp in your WordPress skills and you just might be able to help others with their WordPress needs in the process.

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