What’s New in WordPress 3.6 and Update Guidelines

If you know much about my development ideas and objectives in creating great web solutions for our customers, then you know that I am a big fan of WordPress. It is a great development framework with an extremely easy-to-use content management interface. This makes WordPress a fantastic platform for addressing our clients’ needs in a website and saves them money.

Certainly another benefit to WordPress is that Automattic is constantly working to improve WordPress, making it a better and more secure content management platform. On August 1, 2013, Automattic released WordPress 3.6, code named “Oscar” in honor of famed Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.

What’s new for the end user in WordPress 3.6?

  • Improved Revisioning – save each change and easily review the changes and see who made the change and when. This will provide a lot of value to those multi-author and multi-editor blogs.
  • Smarter Post Locking – Each author will have their own autosave stream that stores the saves locally and on the server. This will make it much more difficult for the author to lose data.
  • A New Menu Editor – The Menu editor under Appearances > Menu has been updated and made easier to understand.
  • Built in HTML5 Media Player – Makes it easier to auto embed audio and video resources without relying on the third party media player such as YouTube. There are also improved integration with a few third party media services such as Spotify, Rdio, and SoundCloud.
  • And last but not least – A new Core WordPress theme: Twenty Thirteen.

What does WordPress 3.6 provide for the developer?

  • A new audio and video API
  • The ability to choose HTML5 markup for items such as comments, search forms, and comment lists.
  • Better filters and revisions that allow the developer to store data differently for different post types.

Upgrading to WordPress 3.6

Version 3.6 is considered a major release and thus is contains new features and security enhancements, making it important to get your version up-to-date. But before you jump onto your dashboard and press “Update Now” you need to take a few precautionary measures.

  1. Backup. Before you do any update of WordPress you should perform a backup or your database and file system. This will save you hours if the WTF moment occurs during the WordPress update. I cannot stress the importance of backing up your website enough! It really should be part of your website hosting strategy. Shameless plug: if you host your WordPress website with us then you already have complete database and file systems backup rotations on your site.
  2. Check your plugins for compatibility. Some WordPress sites use more plugins than others and that might make this step a bit more cumbersome. If you update to WordPress 3.6 and a plugin isn’t compatible, then the plugin may no longer work. Obviously, the severity of the loss in functionality would depend on the plugin that failed.

WordPress 3.6 is available for download here.

If you have any questions or need help with updating your WordPress site, contact me directly.