WordPress 3.3 Scope Defined

The weekly WordPress development meeting has been held yesterday and the main discussion was the scope of work for the next major WordPress release, 3.3 expected in mid-November this year. I have to admit that the update is not as exciting as 3.2 was but hey, there’s room for bug fixing and minor code and UI improvements, right? And that’s what WordPress 3.3 is mostly about.

Expect a lot of minor bug fixes and performance enhancements, mostly around permalinks structure and rewrite rules, as well as the navigation menus current issues. Some minor improvements to the Meta API and possibly an introduction to a new class called WP_Meta_Box, which is quite exciting for developers that like to customize their post, pages and custom post types screen, as well as have their options pages laid out like the Dashboard.

There are going to be some minor improvements to the Settings API and a lot of code clean up on that side, including the stylesheets and markup. The Twenty Eleven theme is getting an exciting Theme Options update too — a transition to the Settings API, that way our child themes will be able to extend that page with new options. Perfect!

The User Interface will get a series of improvements too, including the admin bar, some changes to the WordPress installation screens as well as some great improvements to the Media Uploader, possibly tackling image manipulation and gallery management. Exciting thing about the Admin UI is that it has a chance of getting a responsive stylesheet, meaning it might display differently according to the screen size of the accessing device, helping administrators and authors manage their blogs and websites from their mobile phones and tablet devices.

Deprecation of IE7 will not happen in 3.3, it was moved to 3.4 together with a major CSS cleanup to the admin panel, but that’s not such a long wait, is it? ;) The Widgets API might get a cool update that fixes the case where users loose all their sidebars settings when switching from one thing to another. This is quite tricky but I’m sure the guys will come up with something that will work!

Read more about the 3.3 scope on the WordPress development updates blog together with the project schedule for 3.3. First beta can be expected as early as September 21st, while the first release candidate is planned for October 15th — one month before the launch.

Tell us about your thoughts on WordPress 3.3, what features are you mostly excited about? Are you planning to help test out the beta and the RC versions? What do you think of IE7 deprecation? Use the comment form below to share your thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter! Hope you’re having a wonderful day :)