WordPress 3.3 is about to hit feature freeze. This means it’s the last chance to squeeze in features that haven’t quite been finished, and enhancements and fixes that no one has had time to address yet. Around this time, there are often dozens of tickets that have patches, but the patches have not been tested enough to be committed to core. Then the contributors who worked hard on the patches are disappointed that their code doesn’t make it into the current release. You can help us prevent this!
This weekend, we’ll be running a has-patch needs-testing marathon for the 3.3 milestone. Basically, we’re looking for people who can help test patches and/or refresh patches that need updating. Lead developers and core contributors will be hanging around in the #wordpress-dev channel on irc.freenode.net to answer questions as needed, and will be committing patches as they get enough verification. As you test the patches, report your findings on the trac tickets in question. If all developers who make a living working with WordPress helped out for even an hour or two this weekend, we could clear the 200 tickets or so that are in this situation. To make it fun, why not get together with other WordPress devs and have an in-person hackathon meetup?
At WordCamp Portland this weekend, some of the WordPress core team will be in attendance, including me, Nacin, and Koop. In addition to giving presentations and participating in the unconference sessions, we’ll be involved with a couple of other cool things at WCPDX:
- Hacker Room. There will be room set aside for people to work on core bugs and features slated for the 3.3 release. Hopefully PDX developers will hang out in here some of the time helping with the marathon.
- Welcome Free Software Projects! Normally WordCamps are 100% focused on WordPress, but in light of Software Freedom Day, the WC PDX organizers, in conjunction with the WordPress Foundation, would like to extend an invitation to all free software projects to participate in WordCamp Portland. There are a couple of rooms set aside that can be used for unconference sessions and/or hacker rooms for other projects. It would be great to have local representatives from a bunch of projects there — almost a micro version of OS Bridge or OSCON — to maximize the free software love and cross-pollinate ideas. Developers from other projects are also welcome in the WP hackathon room if they’d like to pitch in. Saturday will also feature the Software Freedom Day Happy Hour at the end of sessions. For more information or to get your project involved, contact the event organizers via the WordCamp Portland website or email support at wordcamp dot org.
- Usability Testing of 3.3 Alpha. As mentioned, we’re about to hit freeze, so we’ll be giving WordCamp Portland attendees a sneak peek at 3.3, seeing how they adjust to the new features, and getting feedback to help us with our last round of fixes before we get to Beta. There will be a signup sheet to participate.
So, if you live it the Portland/Seattle area and haven’t already bought a ticket to attend WordCamp Portland, hurry up, as it’s going to be a great celebration of Software Freedom Day and WordPress.
Here in the U.S. we are observing Independence Day, and I can’t think of a more fitting way to mark a day that celebrates freedom than by releasing more free software to help democratize publishing around the globe. I’m excited to announce that WordPress 3.2 is now available to the world, both as an update in your dashboard and a download on WordPress.org. Version 3.2 is our fifteenth major release of WordPress and comes just four months after 3.1 (which coincidentally just passed the 15 million download mark this morning), reflecting the growing speed of development in the WordPress community and our dedication to getting improvements in your hands as soon as possible. We’re dedicating this release to noted composer and pianist George Gershwin.
Before we get to the release, in anticipation of the State of the Word speech at the upcoming WordCamp San Francisco (the annual WordPress conference) we’re doing a survey or census of the WordPress world. If you have a moment, please fill out this survey and we’ll share what we learn by publishing the aggregate results in August.
The focus for this release was making WordPress faster and lighter. The first thing you’ll notice when you log in to 3.2 is a refreshed dashboard design that tightens the typography, design, and code behind the admin. (Rhapsody in Grey?) If you’re starting a new blog, you’ll also appreciate the fully HTML5 new Twenty Eleven theme, fulfilling our plan to replace the default theme every year. Start writing your first post in our redesigned post editor and venture to the full-screen button in the editing toolbar to enter the new distraction-free writing or zen mode, my personal favorite feature of the release. All of the widgets, menus, buttons, and interface elements fade away to allow you to compose and edit your thoughts in a completely clean environment conducive to writing, but when your mouse strays to the top of the screen your most-used shortcuts are right there where you need them. (I like to press F11 to take my browser full-screen, getting rid of even the OS chrome.)
Under the hood there have been a number of improvements, not the least of which is the streamlining enabled by our previously announced plan of retiring support for PHP4, older versions of MySQL, and legacy browsers like IE6, which allows us to take advantage of more features enabled by new technologies. The admin bar has a few more shortcuts to your most commonly-used actions. On the comment moderation screen, the new approve & reply feature speeds up your conversation management. You’ll notice in your first update after 3.2 that we’ll only be updating the files that have changed with each new release instead of every file in your WordPress installation, which makes updates significantly faster on all hosting platforms. There are also some fun new theme features shown off by Twenty Eleven, like the ability to have multiple rotating header images to highlight all of your favorite photos.
There is way more, like our new freedoms and credits screens (linked from your dashboard footer), so for the full story check out the Codex page on 3.2 or the Trac milestone which includes the 400+ tickets closed in this release.
A Community Effort
We now finally have a credits page inside of WordPress itself (though a cool revision is coming in 3.3), but for posterity let’s give a round of applause to these fine folks who contributed to 3.2:
Aaron Brazell, Aaron Campbell, Aaron Jorbin, Adam Harley, Alex Concha, ampt, Andrew Nacin, Andrew Ozz, andrewryno, andy, Austin Matzko, BenChapman, Ben Dunkle, bluntelk, Boone Gorges, Brandon Allen, Brandon Burke, Caspie, cfinke, charlesclarkson, chexee, coffee2code, Cristi Burcă, daniloercoli, Daryl Koopersmith, David Cowgill, David Trower, demetris, Devin Reams, Dion Hulse, dllh, Dominik Schilling, Doug Provencio, dvwallin, Dylan Kuhn, Eric Mann, fabifott, Franklin Tse, Frumph, garyc40, Glenn Ansley, guyn, hakre, hebbet, Helen Hou-Sandi, hew, holizz, Ian Stewart, Jacob Gillespie, Jane Wells, Jayjdk, Jeff Farthing, Joachim Kudish, joelhardi, John Blackbourn, John Ford, John James Jacoby, JohnONolan, Jon Cave, joostdevalk, Jorge Bernal, Joseph Scott, Justin Sternberg, Justin Tadlock, kevinB, Knut Sparhell, kovshenin, Kuraishi, Lance Willett, linuxologos, lloydbudd, Luc De Brouwer, marcis20, Mark Jaquith, Mark McWilliams, Martin Lormes, Matías Ventura, Matt Martz, Matt Thomas, MattyRob, mcepl, mdawaffe, Michael Fields, MichaelH, michaeltyson, Mike Schroder, Milan Dinić, mintindeed, mitchoyoshitaka, Mohammad Jangda, mrroundhill, natecook, nathanrice, Niall Kennedy, Nick Bohle, Nikolay Bachiyski, nuxwin, Otto, pavelevap, pete.mall, Peter Westwood, Prasath Nadarajah, Ptah Dunbar, Rafael Poveda, Rahe, Ramiy, Rasheed Bydousi, Reuben Gunday, Robert Chapin, Ron Rennick, Ross Hanney, Ryan Boren, Ryan Imel, Safirul Alredha, Samir Shah, saracannon, sbressler, Sergey Biryukov, shakenstirred, Sidney Harrell, Simon Prosser, sorich87, szadok, tetele, tigertech, trepmal, Utkarsh Kukreti, valentinas, webduo, Xavier Borderie, Yoav Farhi, Ze Fontainhas, and ziofix.
Bonus: On their WordPress.org profiles over 20,000 people have said they make their living from WordPress. Are you one of them? Don’t forget to take a minute for our survey.
Following the successful post-WordCamp San Francisco code sprint, we are now ready to release the second beta of WordPress 3.0.
Things to test:
- Revised menu user interface
- Changes to the WordPress exporter and importer to make it more flexible
Already have a test install that you want to switch over to the beta? Try the beta tester plugin.
Testers, don’t forget to use the wp-testers mailing list to discuss bugs you encounter.
We hope you like it! And if you don’t, well, check back when the release candidate is ready.
Download the WordPress 3.0 Beta 2 now!
Has it really been seven years since the first release of WordPress? It seems like just yesterday we were fresh to the world, a new entrant to a market everyone said was already saturated. (As a side note, if the common perception is that a market is finished and that everything interesting has been done already, it’s probably a really good time to enter it.)
The growth over the past year has blown me away. Since our last birthday we’ve doubled theme downloads to over 10 million, and doubled plugin downloads to 60 million. Most importantly, we continued to grow the development community to 1,528 people active on Trac and 13 committers, both numbers the highest in the history of WordPress.
That’s 1,528 people pouring their hearts and souls into GPL software we all own, we all build on, we can use as we please, we can all make better. We’ve evolved from a simple script to a web platform.
We’re on the cusp of version 3.0, with a release candidate coming out any minute now.
If you’d like to celebrate WordPress’s birthday with us — tell a friend! Help them upgrade their blog or find the perfect theme. Talk about how WordPress is built by and for a community. Drop in to help test 3.0, including all the plugins you use. Write something to take advantage of the new 3.0 features, or teach your friends how to. If you buy any themes or plugins, make sure they’re GPL or compatible just like WordPress. We’ve got a long road ahead of us, it’s important that we not forget that Open Source got us this far, and is the only way we’re going to get to the next level. The whole of what we can build together is far greater than the sum of our parts. Spread the good word.
When I was a kid my dad used to practice his typing skills (on a real typewriter no less) with the phrase:
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
For some reason that has stuck with me all these years. Today Iâ€™m going to rephrase and re-purpose that line:
Now is the time for great theme developers to come to the aid of their community.
The theme directory has been chugging along for more than a year now. During that time weâ€™ve tinkered with the review process and some of the management tools, but havenâ€™t really opened it up as much as weâ€™d like. It’s time to rip off the band-aid and take some action; to that end, we’re looking for community members to help with the process of reviewing themes for the directory.
Right now this is a bit like a New Yearâ€™s resolution to exercise every day: itâ€™s what we need to do, but weâ€™re still figuring out exactly how it will all work. Thatâ€™s part of the community involvement as well — we expect that those who pitch in will also help shape the process.
Whatâ€™s involved in reviewing themes for the directory? There are some obvious things, such as being familiar with PHP and WordPress theme code (and the theme development checklist), with an eye for security issues. You would also need to have the ability to set up a separate install of the latest version of WordPress for testing theme submissions.
Hopefully a few talented theme developers are reading this right now and saying to themselves, “Iâ€™d love to help! How do I get started?” Just join the new theme reviewers mailing list and we’ll get you up to speed on this new opportunity to come to the aid of your community.
As Matt teased earlier, the first release candidate (RC1) for WordPress 3.0 is now available. What’s an RC? An RC comes after beta and before the final launch. It means we think we’ve got everything done: all features finished, all bugs squashed, and all potential issues addressed. But, then, with over 20 million people using WordPress with a wide variety of configurations and hosting setups, it’s entirely possible that we’ve missed something. So! For the brave of heart, please download the RC and test it out (but not on your live site unless you’re extra adventurous). Some things to know:
- Custom menus are finished! Yay!
- Multi-site is all set.
- The look of the WordPress admin has been lightened up a little bit, so you can focus more on your content.
- There are a ton of changes, so plugin authors, please test your plugins now, so that if there is a compatibility issue, we can figure it out before the final release.
- Plugin and theme *users* are also encouraged to test things out. If you find problems, let your plugin/theme authors know so they can figure out the cause.
- There are a couple of known issues.
If you are testing the RC and come across a bug, you can:
- Report it on the wp-testers mailing list
- Join the dev chat and tell us live at irc.freenode.net #wordpress-dev
- File a bug ticket on the WordPress Trac
We hope you enjoy playing with the 3.0 RC as much as we’ve enjoyed making it for you. Enjoy!