If you logged into your WordPress site over the past 12+ hours, you will have noticed that there is a new version of WordPress ready to be updated on your site. WordPress 3.7 “Basie” has a number of new features and enhancements, but you probably won’t notice most of them because they are behind the scene updates.
We’ve got a video for you that walks through some of the new addon features you should be aware of with WordPress 3.7. To read a more complete overview of the new features, look below the video.
The biggest update is the new WP_Automatic_Upgrader class that can now automatically (and in the background) update minor updates of the core code. Plus, it can be extended to automatically update plugins and themes when WordPress finds a new update available. This might (rightly so) freak you out a bit over loss of control. The philosophy is similar to how the Chrome browser will download updates behind the scene and then let you know it needs to restart. But the Chrome browser will also WAIT for you to “authorize the updater to proceed” before it actually updates the application. So while I don’t fully agree with the thought process behind the new code class, I do appreciate the options that have provided developers and users.
There are several ways WordPress developers and users can customize how the automatic updater works. The first is to define the WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE constant. This can be done in your wp-config.php file.
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', minor );
The true definition will enable all development, minor and major automatic updates. The false definition will disable all development, minor and major automatic updates. And finally the minor definition will enable all minor updates, but development and major automatic updates are disabled.
You can dig even deeper to find there are a number of filters you can use to completely control which aspects of your site receive automatic updates. You can read about these filters on the WordPress Codex.
What Else is New?
- A much better password strength meter that should help weed out bad passwords and help secure your sites better. A great explanation (with cartoon) of this new password strength meter can be found on the DropBox Tech Blog.
- Big improvements to the relevancy of WordPress search. There is a new order in which WordPress will return relevancy (not just on latest published posts).
- Full sentence matches in post titles
- All search terms in post titles
- Any search terms in post titles
- Full sentence matches in post content
- A bunch of new language packs that will help provide better localization for the WordPress users who do not count themselves in the 750 million people with English as first or second language
- Improved date queries in WP_Query that can has a number of new parameters. Check out Alex Mills examples.
- Accessibility improvements (specifically keyboard accessibility).
- A new Multisite function wp_get_sites has been added to replace the old deprecated get_blog_list.
- Lots of new inline documentation in code code to help developers.
So dive in and update your new WordPress 3.7 powered site. Don’t forget to FIRST backup your site with BackupBuddy. And while you’re there backing up your site, take the time to setup BackupBuddy to automatically backup your site at regular intervals.