After several delays WordPress 3.6 was finally released on 1 August. Version 3.6 introduces a new default theme (Twenty Thirteen), enhancements to media embeds, auto-saves and more. The WordPress team put together a short video tour of the new features in WordPress 3.6.
As is their custom, this release is named after a jazz musician; this time the honor goes to pianist Oscar Peterson. As is our custom, here is a list of our favorite features.
Improved Autosave and Post Locking
Don’t you hate it when you lose a post? Especially something that you spent hours on! WordPress 3.6 wants to solve that by improving the autosave feature. Autosaves are much more reliable because post changes are now saved in your browser’s HTML5 offline storage as well as on the server. If you are interrupted in the middle of writing a post – bad internet connection, browser crash, etc – you can trust WordPress to autosave, even if you forget to explicitly save a draft. This was earmarked as an “all hands on deck” feature – read about it here.
Post locking is a related feature that locks posts that are currently being edited so that another person can’t edit the post at the same time, preventing accidental overwrites, hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing. An alert like the one above will be displayed to the 2nd author who tries to edit the post, and he can take over and block the 1st author while making his edits.
I put together a demo page: Media enhancements in WordPress 3.6
Spotify and Rdio embeds
Spotify and Rdio joins the list of services that can be automatically embedded in WordPress. Here’s an example embed from Rdio of Stacey Kent – What a Wonderful World.
Native audio and video players
WordPress 3.6 introduces native embed support for audio and video files. This negates the need for 3rd party audio or video player plugins – awesome! WordPress will now recognize links to supported files and convert that link to a HTML5 player. Videos and audio files uploaded to your site can be previewed in the Media Library as well.
However, every browser has a few video formats that it doesn’t support. For example, WordPress will embed your Windows Media Video (WMV) files, but only Internet Explorer will be able to view it. That’s why you still need services like YouTube or Vimeo to create and serve alternate video files depending on the formats that the browser supports. Despite that, this is a very useful feature especially if you stick to h.264 MPEG-4 video, the most widely supported video format on the web.
Don’t forget to check out that demo page to see how these new media enhancements work: Media enhancements in WordPress 3.6
Better Post Revisions
The new revisions comparison system is now more prominent. The user interface has also been improved to be more intuitive and provides a lot more detail.
WordPress navigation menus has always been a feature that frustrated users. Version 3.6 improves the user interface to make it hopefully simpler to user and more intuitive.
New Twenty Thirteen theme
The new default theme that ships with WordPress 3.6 is bright and bold, putting an emphasis on Post Formats. This feature will display your posts in different layouts depending on the format – images, galleries, videos, quotes, links, etc in addition to the standard article format. Check out the Twenty Thirteen theme demo, and learn more about Post Formats.
I count 19 of them. WordPress 3.6 is more secure than ever.
Finally, if you want to dig into every last new feature that was included in WordPress 3.6, go read the release notes. Let us know what your favorite feature is in the comments. Enjoy WordPress 3.6!