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What’s Coming in WordPress 3.5 (Features & Screenshots)

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WordPress 3.5 is less than a month away. This will be the second major release for 2012 (last one being WordPress 3.4 on June 13, 2012). Expected to be released on December 5th, 2012, WordPress 3.5 is already in the third beta release. This means a release candidate is very close. This is why we thought we should give you a heads up on some of the exciting new features that are coming in WordPress 3.5.

Links/Blogroll is Hidden

Link Manager Removed in WordPress 3.5

We wrote about this in September that Link manager aka Blogrolls will be hidden in WordPress 3.5. In the past, we used the wording “sort of removed” which confused the heck out of people. If you are using the link manager currently, then it will stay as is. However, for those users who do not use it or have a fresh install of WordPress 3.5, the link manager will be hidden by default.

You can enable the link manager feature by using the plugin Link Manager.

This decision was made to make the core of WordPress lighter and leave specific functionality to plugins.

New Welcome Screen

WordPress 3.5 New Welcome Screen

WordPress admin panel can be pretty complicated for beginners. This is why we have the free WordPress videos course that guides you through the entire dashboard. In the continuous efforts of improving the user experience, WordPress team has decided to improve the welcome screen. The idea is to highlight all the basic tasks that the user may need.

Easy Plugin Install with Favorites

Often regular users and developers complained that installing the same list of plugins on multiple sites was difficult. Folks used to say, it would be really nice if we can just pull all of our plugins at one place in the dashboard. Then install them to our heart’s content. Well that wish has come true thanks to Otto. repository has a feature called Favorites. When you go to a specific plugins page, you see a favorite button below the download button.

Favorites Feature on

You can favorite all the plugins you like and have them displayed on your profile. In WordPress 3.5, you can now see the list of favorite plugins of any user in your backend. All you have to do is go to the plugins tag and click Add New. Click on the favorites tab. Type your username or anyone else’s username. For example, if you type “smub”, you will get our favorite plugins.

Favorites Plugin in WP Admin

Media Enhancements

WordPress Media uploader got a major overhaul. The user interface was improved to make it easy for WordPress beginners and average users. For example, there was no button to click Upload/Insert media. It just showed text with an icon. When training a client, we would say click on the add media button, and they will say where is that? Little things like these go a long way.

Add Media Button

The big overhaul happened with the actual uploader. If you click on the Add Media button, you are taken to a new lightbox.

WordPress 3.5 Media Lightbox

If you look at the screenshot above, you will see quite a few things that are different. The entire layout is different to make it all work. When you click on an image, instead of opening a tab with all the image settings, this keeps everything visible by showing image specific settings on the right. In the past, it was really hard for users to use built-in galleries. You could only use the images that you upload in the specific post, you would have to use all the images you uploaded unless you utilized the gallery shortcode and exclude each image manually. With this new interface, this problem is solved. You can select images using a visual interface (even fro the media library), and then create a new gallery. This gives you the option to exclude or include images at your will. You can also batch insert images in your post if you want.

The entire media experience is improved. It’s totally awesome.

Twenty Twelve Theme

Twenty Twelve Theme

A brand new default theme will be shipped with WordPress 3.5. Twenty Twelve is already available for download in the WordPress theme repository for those who want to use it. It features a clean responsive design using all the basic WordPress features.

Other Enhancements

Ofcourse there were tons of other enhancements and bug fixes. We will try to highlight some of them:

  • Improved Static Front Page UI under Settings » Reading.
  • Rename the “HTML” editor tab to “Text”
  • Bug fix: Prevent child categories from being visually promoted to the top level after quick edit.
  • HiDPI (retina display ready) dashboard.
  • New Color Picker for Live Theme Demos
  • Improved keyboard navigation and screen reader support.
  • XML-RPC enabled by default
  • Native oEmbed support for SoundCloud, Slideshare, and Instagram. It also supports SSL links now. But again, if you followed WPBeginner, and used our tutorials for Slideshare, Instagram, and SoundCloud, then you should probably remove them in WordPress 3.5. Because the core supports it already.
  • Updated External Libraries – TinyMCE 3.5.6. SimplePie 1.3. jQuery 1.8.2. jQuery UI 1.9 (and it’s not even released yet). They have also added Backbone 0.9.2 and Underscore 1.3.3, and you can use protocol-relative links when enqueueing scripts and styles.
  • WP Query can now ask to receive posts in the order specified by post__in.
  • Improvement to 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 WP_Query).

So how do we know all of this? Nope, we are not any special than any other WordPress user. If you want to try the beta version of WordPress 3.5, then all you have to do is use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. We DO NOT recommend that you use this plugin on a live site. Create a demo site, and use it there.

Which feature do you think is the best in WordPress 3.5? What are you looking forward to? Which feature you wish would’ve made it, but didn’t? Let us know in the comments.

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

22 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

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  2. T Hapgood says

    I’m using the new “Create Gallery,” which seems very easy to use. When the page is published, the thumbnail image is clicked and the options are to either click to the image file itself or the attachments page. Anyone know how to make it click to the image file itself, but to open in a lightbox situation?

  3. Lucian says

    Media upload is a sheet. If you wanna make a featured image you can’t from the same page of media upload. Get the image plugin dosen’t work you got to make all your images featured to appear on front page, if not XXX

  4. Igor P. says

    Another improvement for plugin lovers is a cover for plugins listed on WordPress Plugin Directory

  5. Dylan says

    Love the favorite settings for plugins and the new media button.

    I am a little concerned that the new media lightbox might break the upload buttons in some themes. Guess i’ll have the try the beta and see!

  6. Jon Wadsworth says

    Sweet! They’re fixing the category hierarchy issue. I spent hours trying to find a reasonable fix for that yesterday for one of my clients.

  7. Zimbrul says

    I like the most that you can display favourites plugins in dashboard, that will be awesome feature.

  8. Muhammad Talha says

    i am waiting for this awesome release and thanks for informing the features of wordpress 3.5

  9. Ostheimer Webdesign says

    Love the new Media features already – creating a gallery using the native capabilities was always a pain.

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