Our blogging platform of choice WordPress has recently received it latest update. With the release of WordPress 3.2 come new features and design changes. I’ve been really impressed with WordPress’s progression over the recent years but I believe the move from 3.1 to 3.2 is a giant leap in the right direction.

Browse Happy

The web is at a weird stage in my opinion; we are balancing on the edge of progression. On one side we have shiny new standards like CSS3 and HTML5 ready for web designers to try new things with. But this progression is being hampered by old browsers and the end users naivety. This is why I am impressed with WordPress’s latest release and the introduction of minimum requirements. But most of all I am delighted to see that they have dropped support for IE6. If the web is going to progress and boundaries are going to be pushed then we need to cut loose any ball and chain that tries to hold us back. The biggest ball and chain of all, I’m sure you will agree being IE6. Not content with trying to kill off one of the webs biggest enemies, the WordPress dashboard also warns users if they are using an out of date browser. Not just for IE but for all browsers, if your Firefox or chrome is lagging behind then it will let you know. After all, no one wants to miss out on the fun!

Hold your horses!

If you already run a WordPress based site or blog it is all too tempting to see that little yellow update reminder at the top and hit update button. Be warned! WordPress’s introduction of minimum requirements could leave you in a sticky situation. As of 3.2, you’ll need to be running PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0. Although the percentage of hosts operating below these requirements is pretty low, it is definitely best practice to check before you go rushing into the green grassy field of 3.2. It is very easy to check whether or not you are safe to upgrade by using the Health Check plugin. In your dashboard, go to Plugins ? Add New and search for “health check” (it should be the first result). Install it, activate it, and it will tell you if you need to update anything.

Free them horses!

Not sure where these horse based statements are coming from but I’m going to run (gallop) with it. Sorry… Anyway! Speed, that’s what I meant. WordPress 3.2 comes turbo charged out of the box. The developers have been trimming the fat and have removed all depreciated functions from the core. Another thing to be wary of when updating! They have also optimised a lot of the common functions in the change from php4 to php5 resulting in a noticeable speed increase. With Google factoring website speed and performance into their search rankings it’s good to see WordPress keeping on top of things.

Future updates.

Looking to the future, WordPress has changed the way that the core updates are done. Previously when a minor update was released the whole WordPress core would be updated. Now when an update is carried out only the files that have been edited get changed, resulting in a much faster and reliable process due to less files being downloaded and replaced. Makes sense really!

A much nicer place to be

There are many other additions to the upgrade that I haven’t covered hear including distraction free writing, a new UI, additional navigation buttons etc. I don’t think any of these changes on their own are ground breaking, but after playing with it for a few days, it is definitely a nicer environment to work in. If you write a lot of content for a site or blog you should give the distraction free writing mode a go. It really does remove the rigid feel of WordPress’s writing environment. It’s the little things that count!

In closing I would definitely recommend making the upgrade as soon as you are sure your hosting will support it and your theme isn’t made from depreciated old junk! That’s all for today, Happy coding.