WordPress 3.5 Beta 1 has just been released, and hopefully you're excited for all the new features that are nearly ready for the full release of WordPress 3.5. But first, we need your help!
What's in a Beta?
Before a new version of WordPress is released, it goes through a few 'beta' rounds. This is when all the new features and changes that were planned for version 3.5 have been put in, but they need to be polished, tested and any bugs fixed, before it can be considered stable and ready for release.
You Have a Part to Play
If you've ever thought, "I wish I could participate in making WordPress," but either don't have the development skills, or just weren't sure what to do, this is a good place to begin. You can get the beta version of WordPress, and put it through its paces. Any problems you find, let the development team know so they can get them fixed ready for the next round of testing, and eventual release of version 3.5.
Where Do I Sign?
Jump into a fresh WordPress installation (please don't use a live site, it's not recommended, this isn't a finished release yet) and install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. Like it says on the tin, this gives you an easy way to get involved in beta testing by allowing your WordPress install to upgrade to beta versions.
So you dove in and installed the beta, and then BLAM! You've hit a bug. What next?
- The best thing to do is go and report the bug in the Alpha/Beta area of the support forums.
- Or, if this ain't your first rodeo, and you're comfortable filing a reproducible bug report, submit a ticket on Trac.
WordPress 3.5 Beta 1: What's New and Needs Testing
The following is a list of some notable features, enhancements, and bug fixes to keep an eye out for. There are more details on the announcement post.
- Media – This has had a complete overhaul. Uploading photos, arranging galleries, inserting images into posts, and even more. It's not 100% done, but that makes now an excellent time for testing!
- Appearance – A simplified welcome screen, a new color picker, and the all-HiDPI (retina) dashboard.
- Accessibility – Keyboard navigation and screen reader support have both been improved.
- Plugins – You can browse and install plugins you’ve marked as favorites on WordPress.org, directly from your dashboard.
- Mobile – It’ll be easier to link up your WordPress install with our mobile apps, as XML-RPC is now enabled by default.
- Links – The Link Manager has been hidden for new installs. (Don’t worry, there’s a plugin for that.)
One of the things the WordPress development team strive to do with every release is be compatible with all existing plugins and themes. This is why it is very important for plugin and theme developers to get involved with beta testing. Please test your plugins and themes against 3.5 Beta 1 (and all the following betas!). If something isn’t right, follow the directions above and post it to the Alpha/Beta forum or on Trac.
Despite all of the changes to media, the development team want to maintain backwards compatibility with plugins that make changes to the existing media library. This needs some thorough testing to ensure there's backwards compatibility by the time WordPress 3.5 is released.
Here are some more things developers will enjoy (and should test their plugins and themes against):
- External libraries updated – TinyMCE 3.5.6, SimplePie 1.3, jQuery 1.8.2, jQuery UI 1.9 (and it’s not even released yet!)
- New external libraries – Backbone 0.9.2 and Underscore 1.3.3, and you can use protocol-relative links when enqueueing scripts and styles now too.
- WP Query – You can now ask to receive posts in the order specified when using
- XML-RPC – New user management, profile editing, and post revision methods. Also, AtomPub has been removed.
- Multisite –
switch\_to\_blog()is now used in more places, is faster, and more reliable. Also, you can now use Multisite in a subdirectory, and uploaded files no longer go through ms-files (for new installs).
- TinyMCE – API support has been added for “views” which you can use to offer previews and interaction of elements from the visual editor.
- Posts API – Major performance improvements when working with hierarchies of pages and post ancestors. Also, you can now “turn on” native custom columns for taxonomies on edit post screens.
- Comments API – Search for comments of a particular status, or with a meta query (same as with
- oEmbed – Support has been added for a few more oEmbed providers, and WordPress can now handle SSL links.
Don't Just Stand There Soldier!
Beta 1 will go for one week, then onto the next round. There'll be approximately half a dozen rounds of beta testing, and then we move onto release candidates, before the final WordPress 3.5 release. So don't just stand there, jump in, find those bugs and help the developers squash them before WordPress 3.5 is released!