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What’s New in WordPress 3.2

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In this session we discuss the changes and new functionalities in WordPress 3.2 version. We talk about the changes in the Dashboard appearance and administrative menus, the significant changes in the Visual Editor and the HTML Editor, changes to the admin bar and other more technical issues.

Video Transcript

One thing I want to talk about this morning is the WordPress 3.2 that has just recently been released and I’m going to talk about some of the changes and improvements. And then finally, talk about a couple of gotchas that exist with it.

So the biggest change that you will observe is in the dashboard or is in the appearance of the administrative side, really. For example, you can tell that the whole menu system dashboard widgets WordPress dashboard menu is different than it used to be. If we come on over to this site, here’s what it looks like here versus the new system here.

In the admin menu, you have… another one of the differences is you can see that you know, you get this nice, little dark line that shows up on the main menu that happens to be selected. And if you want to minimize this, you have to scroll down to the bottom. Come on… there we go and the collapse menu button is down there at the bottom. This still works essentially the same as you… if you’ve collapsed the menu, if you scroll down through this, you can still see all these things. I don’t think if I click on that, that will expand it. No.

So you know, as you hover over this you still have access to all the same menus. But…where was that? Akismet configuration… that was under plugins, okay. And if you want to expand it back out, you just click on that button. So that’s you know, one area wherein we have differences.

Probably the biggest area and maybe the most useful area has to do with the text editor. So if we… let’s see, we’ll go to this book reviews post type and if we hit Edit, the Visual Editor and the HTML editor have changed quite a bit. First off, in the HTML editor, now the HTML editor shows HTML as a mono spaced type which makes it I think fairly easy for you to distinguish whether or not you’re on the Visual Editor or in the HTML editor. It’s actually sort of a nice function I’ve found myself from time to time, thinking I was in the HTML editor editing something here and then only to find out that I’d done HTML in the Visual Editor. So you have that going for you. And if you’re accustomed to doing any HTML editing at all, you’ll recognize the style of text and it may or may not help you keep track of that sort of thing.

On the Visual Editor side, perhaps the largest, most important change is this full screen mode. You can now you know, get rid of all of the elements around the page and you can just see the ful page and for all of your editing. And then if for some reason or another, you want to… you need to use one of the most recent… I mean, the most often used buttons, you can get at them up here. So you can still you know, insert a link up here in the same way that you could before or you can still insert an image by selecting the Add an Image. And so we could you know, for example, add this image. Add it to the left, insert the image. So you can see that this facility still exists even though you don’t see as many buttons. And at any point in this process, if you feel like there are more buttons you need to get to, you can simply exit full screen and go back to the normal view. But the full screen mode, I think is actually pretty nice if you’re working on long documents and you know, you’re trying to type something and it jumps you around. That’s even true with HTML. The HTML can also be a nice, long document that you don’t have to try and scroll inside of an odd window for and then you can always exit back to the full screen.

The 3rd place where we’ve seen some changes is in the administration bar or the admin bar and you see that admin bar when you’re on the page, when you’re on the front side of your site. This is your admin bar up here and some additional things have been added to Appearance and I think Themes is the thing that was added to Appearance. Let’s see, let’s take a look at it over here. Yeah, right.

So Themes is added to Appearance and then in Add New, you have a full range of things. You can add a new plugin, you can add a new theme, a new user plus new other type of post types. For example, I have a review post type and a catalog item post type added to the Library Case Study so it brings those up. If we look at the one that’s existing right now… it does. It also gives you the custom post types here because Live Answers and webinars are both custom post types on my site. But you don’t have you know, add a plugin or the rest of the things that you have over here under Add New including add new media, add a new link, add a new user. So this has a greater range of usefulness.

The next thing, I think probably in my perspective, the nicest thing is having the dashboard menu right here at the top. Right now you know, you can get to the dashboard by hovering over your name and selecting dashboard but with the new button, you can just select the dashboard and go directly to it.

So anyway, those minor modifications have been made to the admin bar.

The next thing that we’re supposed to seeand it’s sort of hard to know whether we’re seeing it or not, is an increase in speed. That primarily comes from increasing the efficiency of the programming by eliminating support for PHP 4. PHP 4 is an antique version of PHP. I think it expired in like 2006 or something like that. Right now, they’re getting ready to start a PHP 6.

You know what? Isn’t that interesting. I’m sorry, I didn’t notice that I had the wrong box open. I had the chat box open and not the questions box and I didn’t notice the fact that you guys had questions.

But anyway, so PHP 6 is getting ready to come out or has recently come out and PHP 5 is the current standard. So they removed their support for PHP 4 which allows the system to work more quickly.

The next big change has been that the upgrade process does not replace all of the files. Right now, the upgrade process will only replace those files that need to be replaced. So if you use automatic upgrade, it’s not going to you know, upload all of the WordPress files and delete all of the old WordPress files and replace them with all new. Now, what’s it’s going to do is simply replace those files that need to be replaced. So that’s a little bit of performance enhancement with that.

Now there is however, a gotcha here and that gotcha… well actually, there are… yeah, there are a couple of gotchas here. The first one is of course, the thing I just mentioned before which is remove support for PHP 4. One of our members here, just a couple of weeks ago, had a problem on his site with one of the plugins that he was using and it turned out his site was still using PHP 4. Well, as soon as he… had we not switched him over from 4 to 5, if he had upgraded to 3.2, it would have crashed his site. So you need to make sure that your hosting account is set up to hose on PHP 5 because PHP 4 will not work any longer.

The 2nd gotcha which I didn’t really think of as a gotcha myself until speaking to a new member here a few days ago is that WordPress will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 6, IE 6. And so, it’s no longer going to have IE 6 specific coding and stuff like that. Now apparently, according to this member, in China, most people are still using IE 6 and because they are using IE 6, the chances are you may have still… if China is a place where you do business or if you want… need your site to work properly, you may still… you may need to actually create some additional CSS code in order to make your site continue to work in IE 6 since WordPress has removed support for it.

In fact, WordPress is getting ready to or is in the process of expiring Internet Explorer 7 as well. So you know, just keep that in mind as you’re making decisions about what your site looks like.

And so anyway, that’s pretty much WordPress 3.2 in a nutshell. I think it’s definitely a plus. You will need to install Thesis 1.8.2 in order to take full advantage of Thesis and WordPress 3.2. I’m going to show you what the issue here is because I don’t have Thesis 1.8.2 installed on this site.

But if we go to categories, let’s see. Let’s just go to categories and let’s create a new category. We’re just going to call it test and add the new category. And if we edit this, this stuff here, the custom title tag, the custom meta description, the introductory headline and the introductory content which show up here as dialogues to fill out won’t actually show up properly on the pages when they’re created. So you’ll need to upgrade to… I’m sorry, Thesis 1.8.2 in order to make this stuff work properly and that’s available for download on the site.

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