Following a slight delay, WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 has been released to the public and can now be downloaded directly from the WordPress.org website. Lead Developer Mark Jaquith stated Thursday in a blog post that the software remains in development and should not be used on a production site, but rather that a test site should be set up so users can get a good feel for the new version without risking any changes to their current website. Jaquith also recommends that the WordPress Beta Tester plugin be downloaded and installed before trying out 3.6, or users can simply opt to Download the WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 .zip file here.
WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 Testing
Jaquith wrote Thursday that his team has “been working for nearly three months and have completed all the features that are slated for this release. This is a bit of a change from the betas of previous release cycles. I felt very strongly that we shouldn’t release a beta if we were still working on completing the main features. This beta is actually a beta, not an alpha that we’re calling a beta. If you are a WordPress plugin or theme developer, or a WordPress hosting provider, you should absolutely start testing your code against this new version now. More bugs will be fixed, and some of the features will get polished, but we’re not going to shove in some big new feature. We’re ready for you to test it, so jump in there! The more you test the beta, the more stable our release candidates and our final release will be.”
For beta testers who are able to identify bugs, the development team encourages you to post them directly in the Alpha/Beta Area of the Support Forums. A reproducible bug report can be added to the WordPress Trac if you are comfortable doing so, plus you can check out the following links to view a list of known bugs along with resolved issues.
WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 Features
We discussed the new features expected for WordPress 3.6 in a previous article, but with the first Beta out, we now have confirmation of what will be included. For one, Post Formats now have their own User Interface, with theme authors getting access to templating functions in order to access structured data. There is also the Twenty Thirteen theme that boasts a color-rich design ideal for WordPress blogging which makes use of the new Post Formats support.
There is also a new feature that ensures posts are autosaved locally; a feature that will be counted as one of the most important by many current WordPress users. In a nutshell, this addition will ensure less time lost due to power outages, lost connections and other malfunctions that cause non-saved data to be lost forever. This new autosave tool (which will incorporate automatically) means you won’t lose your post if your computer dies, or your browser crashes as you’re saving.
With WordPress 3.6, audio and video files can be embedded into your posts without using a plugin or a third party media hosting service. There is also a new Post Locking tool that allows webmasters to view when someone is currently editing a post; with the ability to boot them if the file remains inactive for a specific amount of time. Navigation menus have been simplified with an accordion based UI along with a separate tab for bulk assigning menus to locations, and the new Revisions UI lets authors look at a history of their edits and toggle back and forth between edited, saved versions.
Parting Thoughts From Jaquith
WordPress 3.6 Lead Developer Mark Jaquith (pictured) ended Thursday’s article with the following message to developers. “You make WordPress awesome(er). One of the things we strive to do with every release is be compatible with existing plugins and themes. But we need your help. Please test your plugins and themes against 3.6. If something isn’t quite right, please let us know. (Chances are, it wasn’t intentional.) If you’re a forward-thinking theme developer, you should be looking at implementing the new Post Format support in some of your themes (look to Twenty Thirteen for inspiration).”
To find out more about the first Beta version of WordPress 3.6, read the WordPress.org blog post.