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What's new with WordPress 3.7 & 3.8

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WordPress is a free and open source PHP/MySQL based blogging software and content management platform that has become the most popular blogging software on the web. Recent improvements to the platform are sure to popularize it further. With the multitude of available themes and plugins, along with the ability to custom write your own special add on requirements, WordPress has become a powerful website content management system (CMS).

Two recent updates to the WordPress platform further increase its capabilities. Additionally, these two releases constitute a new wave of WordPress development. They were both announced at the same time under the concept that "deadlines are not arbitrary" and "plugins first, then core". The deadline concept was announced with firm, pre-announced dates of each release. The "plugins first" concept includes making many of the WordPress features plugins instead of part of the "core" WordPress code (think of an operating systems kernel), which means those features can be modified, updated, and improved without affecting the main functionality and affecting the stability of WordPress installation.

The new path appears to be working as both were released on schedule. This may not be revolutionary to many, but to have stable releases on schedule for an open source project allows those on the cutting edge of features or plugin developers to plan development activities around release upgrades to the main WordPress core. WordPress plans to continue these development concepts moving forward which will likely accelerate the development process and further improve WordPress capabilities.

Version 3.7

First, in October 2013 version 3.7 was released. This version had the main focus of increasing the ease and capabilities of WordPress administration. In addition to resolving 445 trouble tickets, this version released three important features:

1. Updates while you sleep

Maintenance and security updates were not only improved in how they occur to make them more reliable and secure, they are are also now installed automatically.

2. Stronger password recommendations

The password meter, which gives an indication of how secure the password for a user is, has been updated to detect common mistakes that can weaken passwords such as dates, names and keyboard patterns (As a personal security note: I would recommend installing a login attempt plug such as the Limit Login Attempts plugin on all WordPress sites).

3. Better global support

If you use WordPress in a version other than English, this release adds the capability to automatically install the right language files and keep them up to date based on the localized version of WordPress installed.
For anyone who manages one or more WordPress sites, these improvements will help reduce the administrative burden of keeping those sites safe and secure.

Version 3.8

This was followed in December 2013 quickly by version 3.8. This version introduced a new modern design along with significantly improved theme and mobile capabilities. This release included a new "2014" theme and five major features including:

1. A new design

The entire admin dashboard has gotten an update. This includes less clutter on screen using Open Sans font for ease of readability and a refined contrast to make the whole dashboard easier on the eyes.

2. WordPress administration on every device

The WordPress backend has been updated to use vector graphics that scale to the screen size of user devices instead of pixels to significantly reduce the page load time as well as incorporate other page resizing characteristics that make the overall admin screens easier to use on any device whether smart phone, tablet, or desktop screen. Previously, administering a WordPress site from a smart phone was slow and hard to navigate.

3. Admin color schemes

Eight admin color schemes were added allowing for profile customization

4. Refined theme management

Theme previewing received an overhaul allowing for easier trial and demo of different themes with WordPress site content.

5. Improved widget management

Widget management was updated to provide for a smoother less complicated experience such as allowing side by side display of sidebars on wide screens and allowing for adding a widget directly to a sidebar by just clicking on it instead of being required to drag and drop each widget (although you still can do that too).
If you have not yet updated your site, I would highly encourage you do so as these are significant improvements to the WordPress platform capabilities.

If you aren't currently using WordPress, but would like to try it out, the latest version can be downloaded from http://wordpress.org/download/.
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by:lherrou
Great, informative article, I gave it a "Yes" vote, above.
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by:lherrou
Matthew,

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