Plans for WordPress version 3.2 revealed

Posted on April 30th, 2011

The WordPress team has revealed their plans for the next major version of WordPress, version 3.2, today. Version 3.1 of the popular blogging software was released in late February of this year.

With the release of version 3.2, WordPress hopes to begin a faster release cycle of their software, which has been relatively slow since the release of version 3 last year. Also, the company revealed their plans to drop support for older technologies, such as Internet Explorer 6, PHP 4, and MySQL 4, further improving the performance and development of WordPress. Improvements to the full-screen editor will also be included in version 3.2. Next, as of version 3.2, only files that were modified in the release will be written to the server, rather than all of the WordPress files.
Faster release cycle than 3.1 — more focused release. I’ll be taking point on this release, making sure people stay on target and making sure we don’t try to slip “one more thing” in. Don’t make me get mean.
The theme is “faster, lighter.” We’re dropping support for outdated technologies. We’re looking at making things faster, and we’re looking at making the writing experience more lightweight and calming.
List Tables API improvements (Westi and Koop) — finalize the API for third party use and more flexibility.
List Table XHR loading — to be investigated only after List Table API has stabilized. Make sure it’s worth it before we burn time on it.
PHP 5.2 (5.2.4, specifically) to be required. Drop compat. But don’t go adding a bunch of PHP5 stuff. This release is about dropping the old, not adding the new. More red than green.

MySQL 5 to be required. This quite literally involves no work beyond changing the requirements. Do not change queries.
IE6 EOL for the admin. If BrowseHappy is updated in time, we can consider adding a “use a real browser” nag for IE6 users. We probably can’t drop much CSS, as IE7 shares a lot of the issues. This is mostly symbolic, and reduces the platform combos we need to test. This also means any security issues that are shown to only affect IE6 only can be lowered in priority.
Distraction Free Writing. This is our headline “ooh, shiny” user feature. Replace our current fullscreen implementation with something more beautiful, more useful (in terms of line-length and font size), and simpler (only limited RTE functionality). Look at WriteRoom, OmmWriter, for inspiration. Koop is investigating this, and may crank out a quick plugin to jump-start development efforts
Upgrade improvements. Changed-files-only upgrades can be done with zero changes to core. For the first effort, let’s just do updates to the latest point-point from within the same major version. So, 3.2 to 3.2.2 and 3.2.1 to 3.2.2. Optionally consider scanning for changed core files and offering them a full upgrade to overwrite those changed files.

Speed improvements. There are a bunch of little things we can do to make WordPress load or at least “feel” faster. Nacin is looking at PHP lazy loading. He also is working on a patch to make the admin menu load faster by doing the expansion in PHP. We can make the dashboard faster by not doing async requests for panes if the cache is hot. Dion has some FTP improvements that should make upgrades a lot faster for people using a certain FTP server. Everyone can get involved here. Pick sometime small and manageable that will make WordPress a little faster. Together, they’ll add up to a bullet point in the release post.No release date or timeframe has been given for WordPress version 3.2 at this time.