What’s Coming in WordPress 3.1 (Features)

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Not too long ago, we were talking about WordPress 3.0, but from the looks of the development track, we are on our way to WordPress 3.1. From the scope, it looks like the new version will be out sometime in mid December 2010. There are some very exciting features that will be added, so lets get right on it.

WordPress 3.1 Features

Feature freeze is on October 15th, so by no means the features we listed below are finalized. New features can be added in the meantime, and some features may not be added. But here is the general scope of what is coming:

Internal Linking

This is one of the Most WANTED features for this 3.1 release. We all know how important internal linking is for WordPress SEO. This new feature will allow users to search through their existing blog posts and add links in the content. A button would be included in the post write panel, just like external link one, where you will see a popup like the media inclusion button. It will allow you to search for posts, or browse a list of existing content by title, date, author etc, and select it for inclusion. It would allow you to enter the text you wanted linked, or would use the post title by default, maybe. (Very Excited for this New Feature)

Admin Bar

If you have used a WordPress.com blog, then you are already familiar with this. In WordPress 3.1, an administration bar will be added to connect the back end to the front end of your blog. This feature will be most useful for people on multisite installs, but it will be useful for single-site users also because it provides 1-click access to dashboard, new post form, etc. This will be heavily inspired from WordPress.com revised admin bar and the original Viper007Bond admin bar plugin. According to Matt Mullenweg, this is the “first step toward a front-end editor”.

Note: there was some resistance to this being in the core rather than a plugin. A compromise of making it optional was discussed. So it will most likely be something that would need activation through your theme’s functions.php file (that would be our guess). We will keep you updated as this release gets closer.

Ajaxified Admin Screens

This was part of WordPress Google Summer of Code 2010 project done by “scribu”. The idea of this feature is to enable sorting on most columns and ajaxify sorting, searching, and pagination. It also introduces a new pagination style for edit.php pages in the wp backend. For example on your edit posts page when you have tons of post, the pagination requires a few clicks to get to page 10. This new version will make it easier. Jane Wells referred to it as a Hulu-style pagination. The idea is that you will be able to enter the page number in the field, and that page will be loaded rather than clicking through the pagination arrows.

Separate Network Dashboard

Currently, the multi-site dashboard is messy and confusing. This new feature is going to separate the network dashboard from the site dashboard. An option to create a personal dashboard to replace the global dashboard for those users who have an account but no site in multi-site was considered as well. This feature can be postponed to WordPress 3.2 due to the complex and time-consuming nature.

Quick Press Template Tag

In your WordPress dashboard, there is an awesome little section for Quick Posting also known as Quick Press. This new template tag will allow it to be used on the front-end of your site for making quick posts. It would be a neat feature to have for logged in editors.

Improved UI for Searching and Browsing Installed Themes

The goal is to swipe the current user-interface (UI) with the WordPress.com interface as it is much more user-friendly. It would be very useful for sites that have a lot of installed themes specially Multi-Site users that generally tends to have tons of themes installed.

Post Templates / Post Styles

With WordPress becoming more of a CMS, this is a much needed feature that will be released in WordPress 3.1. It would allow designers / developers to create custom post templates and styles. The goal of this feature is to allow denoting a post as a certain style/type/kind. Some example styles are aside, gallery, link, quote. This will allow themes to style these posts accordingly. This idea is similar to sticky posts, but taking it to a further level because now you can have numerous uniquely styled posts. Below is the example UI, but again this is not the finalized image. This is just how it can look in WordPress 3.1.

Advanced Taxonomy Queries

This is not for beginners, but we figure that developers will be happy about this. This feature will create an easier way to run advanced queries. For example, right now there is no way to ask for posts that are in the “cars” category but lack the “BMW” tag. This causes users to create complex category systems to simulate multiple taxonomies. This will make sorting of posts and other post types very easy for developers who are looking to push WordPress beyond it’s limits.

Maintenance

Like always, there will be bug fixes and improvements to the interface. Also, there will be some small fixes to the Custom Post Types API. A special note: This will be the last version to support PHP 4. WordPress 3.2 will only support PHP 5.2 and above only. If your host is not using PHP 5.2, now would be a good time to start bugging them about it. If you don’t know which version of PHP your host is using, then you can download the plugin called Health Check. This plugin will let you know what version of PHP your host is running on.

Schedule of WordPress 3.1

WordPress 3.1 is planned to be released by mid-December, preferably no later than December 15th, so that the holidays does not interfere with the release. The dates look like this:

October 15 – Feature freeze; no new features added after this point, so that testing can begin on a stable-ish product (including usabilty testing of new features).

November 1 – Primary code freeze; any last adjustments based on testing after feature freeze should be finished by now and the focus shifts to fixing bugs to get to a stable beta.

November 15 – Beta period beings; from this point on, no more enhancements, only bug fixes.

December 1 – String freeze; translators rejoice.

December 15 – Release WordPress 3.1

You can stay updated with the development by visiting WordPress Development Blog, or you can wait for us to update you ;)