New WordPress 3.2 features. What's new with the 'Gershwin' release: fullscreen distraction-free writing, Twenty Eleven HTML5 theme, admin design, etc.

Exciting New WordPress 3.2 Features

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WordPress 3.2

WordPress 3.2 (“Gershwin”) was released a couple of days ago on the 4th of July. Like every iteration of WordPress this version brings a bunch of exciting new features. As of this writing, 3.2 has been downloaded 500,234 times and that number is increasing by 1,000 every minute or two.

New Administrative Dashboard Design

WordPress 3.2 DashboardWP 3.2 got a nice facelift that makes the typography ‘pop’, adds subtle shadows to the navigation design, tightens the boxes and buttons, and cleans (and speeds-up) the code behind the admin.

It took me a day or so to get used to the larger, darker seeming fonts in the post editing panel but coupled with the distraction-free writing option, I like the new admin design quite a bit.

Fullscreen Mode for Distraction-Free Writing

WordPress 3.2 Full-screen

WordPress 3.2 Fullscreen Mode

Distraction-free writingis one of my absolute favorite new WP 3.2 features. I didn’t expect to love it so much, in fact, I pretty much filed it away as ‘features I could really give a shit about,’ but that changed the second I saw that huge blank canvas fill my screen.

Also known as ‘Zen Mode’, this option allows you to fade-out all interface elements on both the Visual editing screen and the HTML editing screen to focus on the most important aspect of your post/page, the content. Moving the mouse to the top of the screen will fade-in a list of shortcuts and display the word count at the bottom-left.

Take it even further and put your browser in fullscreen mode as well (shift + command + F on Chrome for the Mac). Perfect content bliss.

New Default Theme “Twenty Eleven”

WordPress Twenty Eleven Theme Options

WordPress Twenty Eleven Theme Options

Twenty Eleven is pretty exciting in that it is fully HTML5 compliant. Other than that, I think the design is a bit bleh. The way it indents posts and pages seems broken to me, but, I never use the default theme anyway…who does (besides WP/plugin devs)?

The options allow for a light or dark color scheme, changing of link and text color, different layouts, and the ability to display random images with each page reload.

It also supports many post formats out of box, however, the editor needs to change depending on what post format you choose or else folks are going to have a hard time. Next release, hopefully.

More New Features

  • Technical Requirements – in order to run WordPress 3.2 your server needs to be running PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0.15 or greater. Most web hosting providers have been upgraded years ago but make sure before updating.
  • Browser Compatibility – finally, support for Internet Explorer 6 has been dropped. Next up is IE 7. Also, if you’re on an¬†outdated¬†browser, you’ll be notified to upgrade when logging in via Browse Happy.
  • Extended Admin Bar – added a few new useful links to the Admin Bar I never use. Great…
  • Performance Enhancements – WordPress is much cleaner and faster. The upgrade system now uses incremental upgrades which means it only adds changes so upgrading will be much faster.

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