WordPress 3.7 Released

WordPress 3.7, “Basie”, has just been released. It’s been named in honor of Count Basie. The WordPress 3.7 development cycle is the quickest turnaround between major versions with just 86 days from the time it launched WordPress 3.6 back in August 1.  It has been stated version 3.8 is due out in December as it will continue this plugin-led development cycle.

Some of the new features include:

  • Updates: With this new version, now you need not to worry about updating the things at your end as now more sites are able to automatically apply these updates in the background, along with bringing more reliable and secure structure in hand, with dozens other new checks and safeguards.
  •  Stronger password recommendations: In WordPress 3.7 to avoid mistakes led by users over password selection, the content management system now better will recognize common mistakes which will lead to weaken password i.e. dates, names, keyboard patterns (123456789), and even pop culture references.
  •  Better global support: WordPress 3.7 adds support for automatically installing the right language files and keeping them up to date, a thing which lots of users are looking for all the time.

Other interesting features include:

Improved (more relevant) search

WordPress search has sucked for a long time. It’s not been based on relevance, but on dates. According to the primary ticket for this feature, Andrew Nacin cites the following for the new order for choosing what to return in WordPress search:

  • Full sentence matches in post titles.
  • All search terms in post titles.
  • Any search terms in post titles.
  • Full sentence matches in post content.

This enhancement solves a major pain point that nearly every WordPress user with any significant amount of content has been facing for many years.

Better global support with language packs

The new “language packs” feature in WordPress 3.7 will allow for, “faster and more complete translations.” To get started making your themes and plugins be able to use these tools, check out Samuel “Otto” Wood’s guide. Language packs will be separated from WordPress core and maintained independently from core, themes, and plugins.

Language packs are also going to be updated silently along with minor updates, so that better support for more languages can be supported quicker. Translating WordPress to more languages is a clear way for the platform to continue staggering growth. As I noted in my primer on l10n and i18n, nearly a third of all WordPress installs are non-English. But even beyond that, only about 750 million people count English as a first or second language, so most of the world that could be using WordPress would struggle mightily without a translated version.

Accessibility

Accessibility has been improved in a few locations, including keyboard accessibility improvements on list table rows and color contrasts in the default themes.

If you are interested in accessibility, there is an entire Make WordPress blog devoted to it.

Multisite

Multisite got a bit of love in 3.7. wp_get_sites is a very handy function introduced to replaced the get_blog_list function, which has long been deprecated.

Inline Docs

Inline documentation has gotten serious attention in WordPress 3.7. There is never a better place to go than to the source code, and the team behind inline docs has been knocking out tons of undocumented or poorly documented code.

New functions, classes, actions and filters

Based on the release page, six new classes have been introduced, as well as ten new methods of existing classes. Twenty two new functions are in core, two new actions (including the very nice save_post_{$post_type}), and twenty three new filters are available for your convenience.

New build tools

One of the features that will never be noticed by users, but is great for core developers, is the new slate of build tools available.

The best description of these new tools available is this post by Daryl Koopersmith, though some of those items may not be totally accurate as plenty could have changed since then. But the point is that the build tools for WordPress are better than ever, and going forward will make it easier for developers.

Bug gardening

At last count, 437 tickets were closed and counted as “fixed” in WordPress 3.7. But countless more tickets have been touched this cycle. As a prominent goal of this release was housecleaning, it was a huge success.

I don’t have the exact number of tickets touched in 3.7, but that thankless effort deserves some major kudos. By the way, if you ever want to just go hack away at some open bugs, this is the URL you want to bookmark.

The future of WordPress core development

This was the first iteration of synchronous major release development. WordPress 3.7 and WordPress 3.8 have been developed on side by side, as Matt Mullenweg noted would be done during this year’s State of the Word.

By all means, it appears to have been an extremely effective effort. Even as 3.7 goes live, WordPress 3.8 is chugging along. And 3.8 also introduces a core shift to “features as plugins first” mentality. Proposals for MP6, a new dashboard, a new themes page, and Omnisearch have already been pitched to be blessed for the anticipated December release.

 

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