WordPress 3.6: Collaboration is King

WordPress 3.6Some sites like to pull a Facebook and add updates that are an uncertain improvement. WordPress is not one of those sites. The 3.6 update, named Oscar, offers a handful of amazingly clean features that make editing both pages and posts a lot easier. Whether you’re a developer, a blogger, or just a site owner, you’ll be pretty happy.

For the Bloggers: Collaborate in Peace

One of the nice features of WordPress is that it auto saves your posts. If you just spent an hour working on an in-depth blog entry, this can be a serious life saver. The 3.6 update decreased the time between auto saves, and added another nifty new feature: a seriously improved revision history. Instead of trying to decipher a block of text and code, you can scroll through an easy-to-read timeline that even tells you which author worked on the post. There’s no more worrying about that paragraph you accidentally deleted, or what drastic changes your co-writer made.

The other awesome new feature is post locking. Basically, when you are editing a post, no one else can make changes. This has been around in some fashion for a while now. However, the new version actually lets you decide to “take over” a post. That means no more frantic emails, trying to get your coworker to close their browser tab so you can get edits done on time.

For the Media Lovers: Video and Audio Support

WordPress has been working on media implementation over the last few updates, and this one is no exception. The “edit media” window should be easier to work with, and has more ways you can customize the meta data of the media itself. You can even preview video and audio right from this window, saving you a lot of time and worry.

Embedding has also been cleaned up – a lot. The 3.6 update added support of HTML5 native embedding. Instead of going into the HTML editor and pasting an iframe, all you have to do is copy the url of the video or sound clip and paste it into the blog post. No, seriously. Go to your blog, copy the url of a YouTube video (not the url of the page itself), paste it in, and see what happens. When you’re done playing with that, you can also enjoy the added support for Spotify and RadioX playlists.

Other Notes

The other changes in the update are fairly minor. The Navigation Menus screen has been cleaned up a little bit, and there are a handful of other UI updates. Developers should pay attention to the added option for HTML5 semantic markup, which will make a few changes in the way you code. And as usual, some older plugins might not work correctly, so double check that your favorites have updated, too.

One important note: a few users had a problem uploading the “revision.php” file, resulting in a broken site. It’s completely fixable, but you should still remember to back up your site before attempting to update, whether it’s to 3.6 or any other version.

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