Brian Casel is the founder of CasJam Media, a web design shop that works with clients worldwide designing custom WordPress CMS sites. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

For those of us who work with WordPress every day, it has been exciting to watch our beloved content management system evolve over the years from a blogging tool into a web publishing powerhouse.

Today we take a look at the all new WordPress 3.3, which after months of beta testing, is expected to be released in late November.

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Compared to the milestone WordPress 3.0 release — which introduced important new functionalities, such as custom post types and built-in multisite mode — version 3.3’s improvements may seem less groundbreaking. But, in fact, the impact of this release may be felt by more people than ever.

Most of the improvements are aimed toward improving the user experience for all users, not just those of us building WordPress websites. Your clients will immediately see the changes in 3.3, which are bound to improve their experience too.

Here are the major improvements coming to WordPress 3.3.

1. Redesigned Admin Bar

The redesigned admin bar brings a handful of strategic enhancements.

There are less links/elements shown, and the ones that remain are carefully placed for a reason. The search box and appearance menu were removed, and the user menu moved to the right side, similar to Google’s user bar.

By making it a shade darker and bolder, the admin bar is now more prominent in the WordPress back-end.

Click here to view this gallery.


Other Noteworthy Improvements in WordPress 3.3


Now that we’ve covered the most visible improvements, here are some under-the-hood enhancements, particularly of interest to developers.

  • Responsive Layout: This is really just setting the groundwork for a fully responsive layout, which is expected in version 3.4. But in WordPress 3.3, the left side menu automatically collapses on smaller screens.
  • Postname Permalinks: Before you had to set /%postname%/ as your custom permalinks setting, but now it’s a selectable option. More importantly, performance issues have been fixed, so this setting is now usable for sites that have a large number of posts and pages.
  • jQuery 1.7 and jQuery UI 1.8.16: Updated jQuery and now the full jQuery UI toolset are now packaged and ready to be enqueued in WordPress 3.3.
  • WordPress Editor API: Plugin developers can now customize the post editor, including the TinyMCE buttons. You can even add additional editors.

  • Get Updated!


    As always, it’s recommended to get your sites updated to the latest version of WordPress as soon as it’s available, so keep an eye out for the release, and get ready to start digging into these great new features!

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