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.