WordPress.com Rolls Out 3.2

For those with self hosted WordPress.org installs, WordPress 3.2  is in Beta testing and expected to launch at the end of June. The new version will have enhanced features, including a faster load time to conform to the new Google algorithm.

As  WordPress.com site is on continuous roll-out on Thursday morning we awoke to find WorPress.com was running 3.2 . Immediately noticeable were Admin navigation bar,  Dashboard and Visual Editor changes.   Some users  discovered Wordpress has dropped support for IE6. The dashboard will still load for IE6 users, it just won’t function very well. The bigger concern for users is that IE 6 is less secure. WordPress is made to work with modern browsers. If you visit your Dashboard using an outdated web browser, we’ll let you know there’s a newer version available. Browse Happy.

Jane Wells summarized the new WordPress 3.2 — in Now More Than Ever: Just Write

“In the spirit of making things faster and simpler, today we are introducing a couple of changes to your dashboard that will make it easier for you to just write.”

  • A Fresher, Faster Dashboard
  • Make your writing window/post box bigger on the editing screens (you can drag the lower right corner if you use the Visual editor, and/or change the default height of the writing window in Settings → Writing).
  • Goodbye, IE6 – With this update, WordPress has discontinued support for Internet Explorer 6.
  • Simultanous Approve and Reply (comments)
  • Introducing Distraction-free Writing – a major upgrade to the full-screen writing experience.

What’s Next?

The new default theme for WordPress 3.2 is Twenty Twelve. It’s based on the Duster theme but comes in both a light and dark version.  It features:

  • Random rotating header images.
  • Color and layout options.
  • Additional post formats. ( Here is the official, current listing of all free themes provided by WordPress.com that support post formats. Asides, Links, and Galleries, etc.)
  • CMS-style slider home page option.

Discussion

I have tried out all the new features. I tend to be resistant to change and reluctant to adapt. However, I’m also curious so when any new feature appears I do try it out in my test blogs. I’m not overly impressed by most of the changes and I am grieving over the loss of some older features.

I do like the “Add New” drop down menu. I do like the simultaneous approval of moderated comments and replies.

I don’t appreciate the moving of the privacy setting notice that used to be right next to the blog tile and was immediately visible to me into the “Right Now” module.  I now  have to click into the “Right Now” module to confirm the visibility setting this is an added click and that fails to impress me.

I’m not finding that the page loading time is faster. It seems to me that every page takes longer to load but I haven’t timed this so perhaps my perception is incorrect.

I won’t be using the Distraction Free Writing feature.    I have now experimented with this full screen writing feature in my test blogs and I’m grateful that it’s optional because I will not be using it.

  • I found the white screen to be glaring and distracting.
  •  The full array of Visual editor  icons are not available and I particularly missed the he undo and redo icons. I found the lack of the full array of icons to be inconvenient and having to switch back and forth to locate the icons I wanted to use to be an annoyance.
  • I found this to be extremely disconcerting and annoying:  “The formatting header is shown when you first arrive on the screen, to orient you, then fades away so you can focus on your writing.  Move your mouse to indicate that you want access to these items and it will magically reappear.”
  • I did not encounter a bug, or any breakage I simply found Distraction-free Writing to be distracting.  Those with IE7 browsers report the toolbar is obscured by the dark-gray WordPress “universal toolbar.”  Others have reported that it takes It also takes several attempts to successfully upload an image into a post.

I’m wondering feedback what my WordPress.com readers think of these WordPress  3.2 version changes and hoping they will post comments outlining their experiences with them and responses to them.

30 thoughts on “WordPress.com Rolls Out 3.2

  1. Pingback: WordPress HTML editor font change « one cool site

  2. Hi Timethief,

    So, I have been using the newest version of WordPress @ WordPress.com. :) When it comes to the “Distraction Free” feature, I do like the idea being offered. I’m using the TwentyTen theme and like creating my stories in this new format. It also helps that I can use icons for the side menus; as this create more space.

    I will definitely agree with you on the lack of commonly used icons when writing a post in the Full screen mode. I’ve also notice that I can’t switch to HTML view and yet’ it is implied that I can. Not good, as I sometimes do use it. I, also find it annoying to keep switching between Full Screen and the other view.

    I think WordPress needs to clean this up. As for the contrast; why not let the user adjust the background? What is not distracting for me, can be quite annoying for someone else? As for the disappearing menu in full screen; t would be best to do two things. 1) Give the user full access to all the tools. It is not helpful having to switch mode. 2) The menu should have an option for either always staying or disappearing when needed.

    I was actually surprised they didn’t include “Grammar Checker” for the full screen. Hello there? :-)

    • I’m with you on changing the color of the background on the distraction free writing screen and presenting a full display of icons. Switching back and forth to locate icons is a pain. I strongly dislike the appearing and disappearing icon bar so I like your idea. Thanks so much for commenting. :)

  3. Great rundown of the new features, tt, and thanks for the link love.

    I’m hoping at some point TPTB will get around to updating that list of post format definitions. They’ve gone way beyond the three listed there!

    • The post formats available to those with free hosted blogs seem to be “covered”. I see others that are only available to those who purchase Premium themes.

  4. Thanks for this handy list of changes. I’ve only noticed the change in how the dashboard looks. I find it harder to read given less contrast between the colors. It all looks “light.” Now that I know what the other changes are, I will give them a try. Thanks so much.

  5. I too am annoyed they made the blog title so small. I have 6 WP.com blogs which I update often and they’ve made it a tad harder to keep myself organized. But I will adjust.

    • I notice that Jane said this in the announcement post:

      “Fiddling with the font sizes in the header also created more vertical space, so you can make your writing window/post box bigger on the editing screens (you can drag the lower right corner if you use the Visual editor, and/or change the default height of the writing window in Settings → Writing).

      Like you I’m adjusting to the small blog title.

  6. I tried the ‘Aside’ format for a short post in order to see what an Aside would look like and see that is puts the whole of the post in a yellow box.

    It makes no sense to me. What is a reader to make of a post that is in a yellow box?

    Will they think “Ah yes,that is an Aside ” ?

    • Hi David,
      I’m sorry I made you wait for a reply. I had no choice as I had appointments I had to keep.

      I can truthfully say that I have not found s use for Asides. To me they are rather like “tweets”. shrug I have yet to find anything I would want to post into an Aside. Maybe they could be used as way to post a link to older posts or to other websites. However, I don’t think I’ll ever be in the habit of using them that way.

  7. Hi, I want to be able to comment more constructively than I am just about to; but having only been blogging for a mere 3 months I am still getting my bearings, so the new changes; albeit did give me a surprise in its visuals etc; has not really affected me tremendously as I am unable to compare too much.

    Having said that, I am in the process of going self-hosted and I am using the older version on that site so I will now have the opportunity to compare as I go along; should I notice any alarming differences I will ensure I pop right back here and part you with my newfound wisdom. For now I am trully oblivious!

    Is there really a good browser out there? I am begining to doubt it.

    I loved the post so wanted to just give insight from a newbie blogger who is still clueless with all functions of the old and new.

    • Hello there,
      I apologize for the wait. I’m trying to catch up on answering comments on both blogs while going back and forth for more testing.

      As all those who have wordpress.org installs who use Akismet and/or wordpress stats have to have username accounts at wordpress.com I wonder why more don’t do what your refer to. They could easily register a free hosted blog, set it to “private” and try the new features they will be experiencing a month hence.

      No browser can possibly be perfect. Firefox 4.0 meets all my needs. :)

  8. Hi Titi, I have a request for a tutorial it would be nice if you could write on this blog. But you have no contact form that I could find. Can I email you the request?

  9. I noticed my dashboard had changed, and was wondering why. Now I know. Im sure it will be better this way but currently its uncomfortable getting used to buttons and links that have changed their location. I used to reply to comments by clicking “view all” now that particular button is gone.

    I cant update to the latest version of IE9 unless I also upgrade from windows xp to windows 7. (That will never happen for me willingly) Heres the part where you tell me how much better other browsers are. :)

    I enjoyed your post.

    • It’s always frustrating to wake up and find your Dashboard has been rearranged and buttons you used frequently have been re-positioned or removed. I would strangly prefer to see a notice on my Dashboard telling me to expect Admin and Dashboard changes in the near future to waking up and finding SURPRISE! changes have already taken place.

      I also noticed the removal of the comments “View All” button which I like you used a lot. I find the removal of the privacy ie. blog visibility setting from the space right next to the blog title to be annoying and inconvenient. I have several test blogs that I changed the settings on when I’m helping others by answering support forum questions and I relied on that quick visual check that’s no longer there. Instead we now find the privacy ie. blog visibility setting displayed in the “Right Now” box and we have to click to see it. :(

      I use Firefox 4.0 on windows XP and rarely ever use IE8 which I consider to be less useful than Firefox is. I won’t be upgrading to windows 7 any time soon either.

      Thanks for commenting and best wishes to you. :)

  10. I’m in grumble-mode over this, TT. Not about your article, don’t get me wrong, but about the changes themselves.

    Thanks for the link to the development blog, I’ve just subscribed to its RSS feed, maybe it’ll help me stay in touch with what WP are planning. The thing that’s bugging me is that weeks ago I emailed support to ask their permission for me to use wordpress screenshots in a guide I was writing for newbie bloggers. I was given permission and I took loads of screenshots – of the dashboard and all the different settings, etc. And then just as I had finished my first article the shots were intended to accompany, this change happened. Of course whoever replied to my request didn’t bother to say “but wait til we’ve made our changes before doing the screenshots” and I’ve wasted time and effort and now have to wait and start all over again. I know this isn’t to do with you (support being nothing to do with your blog or with your area of the forum that you work in) but I did just want to have my say, hope you don’t mind.

    This: “Make your writing window/post box bigger on the editing screens (you can drag the lower right corner if you use the Visual editor, and/or change the default height of the writing window in Settings → Writing).” – This was part of the old version. What’s different now is their so-called ‘shiny new’ full writing pane that is good in that it focusses ones attention on the centre of the screen, but – for me anyway, bad that they’ve removed some of the functionality of the old pane. And one still has to go back to the main editor to post the thing. So stupid. (In my opinion).

    As for the actual changes, I find them more difficult to use. The pale lines round the writing pane are almost invible with my bad eyesight and wonky perception and I should imagine anyone else with similar handicaps will find it difficult too. I find the layout of the dashboard and its side panel visually very challenging, ditto the new font. The name of the blog which used to be very easy to see is now in a small font and unbolded and I keep forgetting which blog I’m in.

    Eventually, I’ll get used to it, but for the moment, I hate it.

    • Hi Val,
      Thanks for the time and effort you put into sharing your experiences in this comment. I appreciate it. I also noted that “Make your writing window/post box bigger on the editing screens (you can drag the lower right corner if you use the Visual editor, and/or change the default height of the writing window in Settings → Writing).” is not a new feature. We had it already.

      Dashboard changes are never “rolled back”. The most dramatic change we experienced was when 2.7 was rolled out. Compared to that one this change has had far less impact and caused far less confusion for users.

  11. I love the way that wordpress just keep rolling… it’s like a birthday when you open your dashboard and there is something new there. I follow their Twitter tweets and that can be useful for picking up their changes as they make them too. It looks good so far :)

  12. I’m confused. You seem to be saying both that the new version has already been rolled out and that it will be rolled out at the end of June. I’ve seen a lot of changes, but I haven’t checked to see if everything listed here is available now.

    • We are a month ahead of those with WordPress.ORG installs. For those with WordPress.ORG self hosted installs the final launch date is scheuled for June 30th, 2011. For them 3.2 is Beta. See here -> http://wpdevel.wordpress.com/version-3-2-project-schedule/ However, here at WordPress.COM on the WPMU multiuser blogging platform we are already running on it. :) We don’t have the new Twenty Twelve theme yet but it’s in the works.

      • Oh, okay. Did you notice that you wrote Twenty Eleven in the post and Twenty Twelvein your reply? The funny thing is that I had thought you said Twenty Ten in the post, which I’m already using! :lol:

        BTW, I was hoping they’d bring back the “Add To Blogroll” feature. :-(

        • Hello again Mak,
          Yikes! I didn’t notice that and I will edit and fix it. Thanks for letting me know.

          P.S. The “Add to Blogroll” link is now found under the drop down from “Add New” on the top navigation bar. Click “Links”.

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