Here in the U.S. we are observing Independence Day, and I can’t think of a more fitting way to mark a day that celebrates freedom than by releasing more free software to help democratize publishing around the globe. I’m excited to announce that WordPress 3.2 is now available to the world, both as an update in your dashboard and a download on WordPress.org. Version 3.2 is our fifteenth major release of WordPress and comes just four months after 3.1 (which coincidentally just passed the 15 million download mark this morning), reflecting the growing speed of development in the WordPress community and our dedication to getting improvements in your hands as soon as possible. We’re dedicating this release to noted composer and pianist George Gershwin.
Before we get to the release, in anticipation of the State of the Word speech at the upcoming WordCamp San Francisco (the annual WordPress conference) we’re doing a survey or census of the WordPress world. If you have a moment, please fill out this survey and we’ll share what we learn by publishing the aggregate results in August.
The focus for this release was making WordPress faster and lighter. The first thing you’ll notice when you log in to 3.2 is a refreshed dashboard design that tightens the typography, design, and code behind the admin. (Rhapsody in Grey?) If you’re starting a new blog, you’ll also appreciate the fully HTML5 new Twenty Eleven theme, fulfilling our plan to replace the default theme every year. Start writing your first post in our redesigned post editor and venture to the full-screen button in the editing toolbar to enter the new distraction-free writing or zen mode, my personal favorite feature of the release. All of the widgets, menus, buttons, and interface elements fade away to allow you to compose and edit your thoughts in a completely clean environment conducive to writing, but when your mouse strays to the top of the screen your most-used shortcuts are right there where you need them. (I like to press F11 to take my browser full-screen, getting rid of even the OS chrome.)
Under the hood there have been a number of improvements, not the least of which is the streamlining enabled by our previously announced plan of retiring support for PHP4, older versions of MySQL, and legacy browsers like IE6, which allows us to take advantage of more features enabled by new technologies. The admin bar has a few more shortcuts to your most commonly-used actions. On the comment moderation screen, the new approve & reply feature speeds up your conversation management. You’ll notice in your first update after 3.2 that we’ll only be updating the files that have changed with each new release instead of every file in your WordPress installation, which makes updates significantly faster on all hosting platforms. There are also some fun new theme features shown off by Twenty Eleven, like the ability to have multiple rotating header images to highlight all of your favorite photos.
(Matt Mullenweg – Co Founder, WordPress)
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad