WordPress 3.6 Now Available

WordPress 3.6 available for updateAs announced at WordPress.org, the latest version of WordPress, 3.6 – dubbed “Oscar,” is now available for upgrade for all self-hosted WordPress installations. Remember, it is always very important to keep your core WordPress software up-to-date for security and compatibility reasons. Clients of the Webscaper are encouraged to upgrade themselves if they feel comfortable doing so (be sure to backup first!). We will be making our rounds of Virtual Webmaster client sites and performing the upgrade for you if you like. For non-Virtual Webmaster clients, we will be happy to take care of your upgrade, as well as any other plugin updates or maintenance that you need. Just submit a ticket and we’ll get right on it.

What’s New in 3.6?

Complete details of what’s new can be found at WordPress.org, but the following are the major highlights for us:

The Custom Menu editor interface has been revamped. WordPress touts the change as being “much easier to understand and use.” While I agree that it is an improvement, I wasn’t blown away. I was hoping for even more intuitiveness, with more on-screen tips of how to add new menus or modify existing ones. Really, nothing has changed other than the location of items in these screens. For seasoned WordPress users, the flow is improved; but I don’t think that newbies will find this all that much easier than it was before. To define a new menu or assign menus to locations, a user must now click on the “Manage Locations” tab that is easy to completely overlook. You must first create your menu in the Edit Menu screen, before you can assign that menu to a location in the Manage Locations tab. Sadly I feel this will still confuse those new to WordPress… but that’s why we’re here to help our clients!

Post & Page Improvements: Autosave, Revisions, and Post Locking. Do you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word, and have found the autosave function a godsend? Wish that WordPress would do the same? Now it does. As you write a blog post or page, WordPress will save your changes automatically every 15 seconds – even if you lose power or your computer thinks it would be a fun day to give you the blue screen of death. The most you will lose is a few words! Now, if you’re like me, your next response is “uhg, but trying to work with WordPress revisions is dreadful.” Not anymore! You can now compare previous revisions side-by-side complete with highlighting line by line of what changed from version to version. Better yet? Both the autosave and revisions improvements will work when two people are editing content at the same time. No longer do you have to worry about two users both editing page content causing one author’s revisions to completely overwrite the other’s.

But there’s an even better way to avoid the issue of two users updating the same page: post locking. Previously, if one author is editing a post, and a second attempts to edit the same post, a warning will be displayed. Now, when a post or page is being edited, a second user will be told that the page or post is locked. But… but… what if the first author went home sick and you just have to finish the edits? No problem — the second author will have the ability to “take over” editing the content (and even preview what the first author completed) — locking out the first author. Brilliance!

Media Manager Improvements. Embedding video and audio is easier than ever now. Upload your video or audio to the media manager, copy the path directly into your content and voila – a player will be embedded right in your page. Third-party plugins are no longer needed.

In addition, over 700 bug fixes and minor improvements have been incorporated into 3.6. Also worth mentioning, though not especially relevant for our clients – a new default theme, Twenty Thirteen. The new theme has a bold, colorful, single-column interface and is especially focused on blogging.