What might be coming in WordPress 3.3 (Features)


One of the goals of WordPress core team is to release multiple major updates every year with a fast development cycle. WordPress 3.2 was released on July 4th and boy did it come with some amazing features. The talks and work on WordPress 3.3 has already been started. WordPress 3.3 release is expected at the end of this year with a target date of November 15, 2011. Lets take a look at what could be coming in WordPress 3.3.

Media Uploader Enhancements

There have been talks of enhancing the media uploader, but it always got pushed back. Finally in version 3.3, we will see an improved uploader. The plans are to integrate Plupload into the dashboard. Plupload is a highly usable upload handler that lets you upload files using HTML5, Gears, Flash, Silverlight, BrowserPlus, and the good’ol normal upload.

Plupload Features

This project is being carried by Jacob Gillespie as part of Google Summer of Code (GSoC) project.

The potential new features that could be added are:

  • Multiple file transports, starting with HTML5, with a fallback to Flash, then to HTML4
  • Drag and Drop Uploading
  • On-the-fly image resizing
  • Hooks for in-browser image processing (so that a plugin could add pre-upload sepia tone for example)

This should definitely improve the overall user experience of the file uploader. This will also set a good base for future as it will progressively improve based on user’s browser and environment.

There is a good chance that we will see an improvement in our image manipulation and gallery management section. There is a suggestion to get rid of the thickbox and move everything inline, so we will see if that makes it in or not.

New User Experience

When you first setup Gmail or your cPanel Hosting account there is a first time welcome screen that guides the new user with helpful guides. WordPress lacks this much needed feature, and it will be added in WordPress 3.3. The proposal is to have a first time install welcome screen which will have introduction text and checklist of steps to get going; first time post-update welcome screen, and first time exposure popup for new features.

This is definitely good news for beginner users because the dashboard can be overwhelming for first timers.

(P.S. we are always here for WordPress Beginners as well, so don’t forget to follow us on twitter (@wpbeginner) and like our facebook page).

Responsive Admin Interface

Responsive Admin User Interface

We saw a user-interface overhaul in WordPress 3.2, and now the goal is to make it display nicely on devices with various screen size (including wider screens) and human interface mechanisms, such as touch.

Improve Admin Bar

WordPress Admin Bar was introduced in version 3.1. The goal in WordPress 3.3 is to improve the admin user-interface by combining the admin bar (in dashboard) with admin header to reduce duplication and save vertical space.

Performance Improvements

There is a huge deal around highly desirable permalink structures not being scalable. Chris Coyier had some major performance issues with his site and he explains the story on Digging into WordPress blog. Hopefully after the release of WordPress 3.3, you can have the SEO friendly URLs (Permalink structure) without any performance penalty.

A fix will be made related to the issues of special characters in permalinks using an upgrade routine. There are several fixes that will be made to improve performance of WordPress menus.

Language Packs

Provided that a translation exists, you should be able to download a language pack from Glotpress to localize your WordPress website. This would work for plugins, themes, and for the WordPress core. This is going to be derived from the work work of Marko Novakovic in his GSoC project. Here is a screenshot of what it could look like:

Language Packs

Until this comes out, you can always use Native Dashboard Plugin to change the language of your WordPress dashboard.

Child Themes in the Repository

There have been a strong push to use child themes to speed up development and make the codes more secure and optimized. However up until now, it is not possible for developers to host their child themes on the official WordPress repository. Things are likely to change in this area, as one of the most awesome WordPress developers, Otto, take charge and add this feature to the WordPress.org site in version 3.3.

Mixed Bag

There are a lot of updates that are worth mentioning, but don’t fit in a category of its own. So they are listed here:

  • When you change a theme, your widgets disappear. Hopefully in WordPress 3.3, we can keep our widgets and make the theme change
  • Dismissable admin notices
  • Improvements to the Settings and Meta API

Which ones of these features are you excited to see in WordPress 3.3?

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