With the WordPress 3.2 beta 1 release earlier this week, I think now is a good time to prepare for the 3.2 full release. WordPress 3.2 will feature many changes that you may want to prepare for.
End of Support for Internet Explorer 6
First, Internet Explorer 6 will no longer be supported by WordPress starting with the 3.2 release. It’s important to know that this affects the dashboard of WordPress and not the front-end. This means that if you are using Internet Explorer 6 and manage WordPress sites, you will either want to upgrade Internet Explorer or install another browser that you can use while managing WordPress sites. We recommend using either Firefox or Chrome.
To make sure that there is no misunderstanding, our themes will still continue to work on IE 6 browsers, even after you upgrade your WordPress site to 3.2. At some point, we too will have to discontinue support for IE 6, but that time is not now. If and when that day comes, we will let you know ahead of time so you can make plans as necessary.
Currently, the dashboard of WordPress 3.2 looks like the following image in IE 6. Things could change by the time 3.2 is officially released, but I wouldn’t expect it to get much better.
Requires PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0
WordPress 3.2 will require PHP 5.2.4 and MySQL 5.0 at a minimum. This means that you need to make sure that your server is ready to meet these requirements.
Last year, we launched our Are You PHP 5 Ready site to start spreading the word about this eventual requirement. Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to verify that your server’s MySQL version meets this requirement in the same way as the PHP 5 Ready site. But don’t fret; we can still help you.
Option 1: ServerBuddy
The first option is to install and run the ServerBuddy plugin on your site. This is the easiest way to confirm exactly what version of PHP and MySQL is on your server.
Once you have installed and activated the plugin, you can navigate to the ServerBuddy menu item to see a listing of information about your server and site. At the top, you will see a section listing your WordPress, PHP, and MySQL versions. Here is an example from one of my sites:
As you can see from the image, I’m running PHP 5.3.3 and MySQL 5.1.49. So my server is good to go as both versions meet the requirement.
Option 2: call your host
Of course you can always ask your host if your server is ready to run WordPress 3.2. Here is some boilerplate text that you can send to them in a chat or email:
WordPress 3.2 will be released very shortly. They are changing their PHP and MySQL version requirements with this upcoming release. The requirements are PHP 5.2.4+ and MySQL 5.0+. You can see the announcement at http://wordpress.org/news/2011/05/wordpress-3-2-beta-1/
I need to make sure that my site is ready to be upgraded to 3.2 when it comes out. Can you confirm that my site is on a server that meets these requirements?
If my site’s server does not meet these requirements, please let me know how I can be migrated to a new server that does support these requirements.
Addition of Browse Happy Messages in the Dashboard
WordPress 3.2 joins the Browse Happy movement by encouraging users with older browsers to upgrade. These messages will only appear on the dashboard and can be dismissed, but they will show up by default for users that haven’t seen it and are running an out-of-date browser.
Correction: As pointed out in the comments, Browse Happy was started by the people behind WordPress.
New Dashboard Design
WordPress 3.2 will also introduce a new design which is starting to show some real promise.
It is still in the works, so many more changes may occur before release. Here’s a sample of what I currently see in my development dashboard:
WordPress 3.2 is looking to be a good release. The new design will breath some new life into the dashboard and make it interesting and new again.
There is also the “distraction-free writing” full-screen editor view that some users may really enjoy. WPCandy has a post with a video showing the feature in action.
For a major release so soon after 3.1, 3.2 is really shaping up to be an impressive effort by everyone involved with the WordPress project.