WordPress 3.6 Progress Update

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Last week, we wrote a news story letting our readers know that the first Beta version of WordPress 3.6 had been pushed back to March 29th with the public release set for April 27th. This week, we aim to provide a progress update for the latest version of WordPress, and write about the features that will be added.

Lead Developer Mark Jaquith was up-front in his blog post last week as to why some of the expected features have been stripped from 3.6 and re-scheduled for future releases. In order to get the latest version out and on the table in a timely manner, some sacrifices had to be made.

Confirmed Features For WordPress 3.6

Post Formats Wireframes

The User Interface for Post Formats will be receiving a significant overhaul once WordPress 3.6 is out. For one, a drop down selector will be added that gives administrators the opportunity to easily choose which format is going to be published beforehand, while better previewing is also on the burner.

Autosave and Post Locking enhancements have been a big priority for the development team; mainly because so many WordPress admins have been daunted by losing their temporarily-stored data over the past few years. Internet connection issues, power outages and log-in prompts have all played a role in stored data loss in the past, but the new version will focus on using browser-level storage to synch back to WordPress at the first available opportunity.

This will likely result in a major benefit (and time saver) for those of us who spend a lot of time creating and editing content from the back-end, as we sometimes forget to frequently back-up our updates by saving every couple of minutes.

Revision History

In fact, WordPress 3.6 will include the ability to revise previous revisions and compare them to see exactly what has been changed for each save state (see screenshot above).

The previously planned Editorial Flow feature has been removed from the WordPress 3.6 task list, but will likely appear in a future version of WordPress.

Menus And Twenty Thirteen Theme

A post published by WordPress.com VIP on Tuesday states, “The UI for creating custom menus has been significantly cleaned up, with new checkboxes to select where the menu will be displayed in the theme, accordion styling to menu items (being tested), new help text and keyboard accessibility for rearranging menu items.”

Jaquith, who is heading the WordPress 3.6 project, recently wrote about the new Twenty Thirteen theme, saying, “We’re taking a bold stance: this theme was meant for blogging, and it’s not a blank canvas. It comes pre-marinated with playfulness and warmth and opinions.” If you would like to get a glimpse of the Twenty Thirteen theme, you can view the demo here.

How To Become Involved

WordPress 188x158

There are many ways that community members can become involved in the WordPress development process. First, there are weekly developer chats that take place among project collaborators. Anyone is welcome to attend, but discussion is limited to active contributors. Still, this is a great way to get the latest news on development progress and learn which activities are being evaluated by the current team.

Those interested in improving WordPress are also encouraged to check out the Core Contributor Handbook, plus the Make WordPress Core is excellent for keeping up with all the related discussions among those involved in the project.

First Beta Due Out On March 29th

Once the first beta version of WordPress 3.6 is released on March 29th, the time for testing it against your themes and plugins will begin. This is a tedious yet important process in the development stage that provides invaluable feedback as to which features need to be tweaked and which bugs must be resolved before the official release; scheduled for April 27th.