With WordPress 3.4 beta approaching in the coming couple of weeks, let’s take a look at what new features to expect and eventually be delighted by at the end of the 3.4 development cycle, which would be around mid-April. Excited?

Theme Customizer

WordPress 3.4 Theme Customizer

One of the most feverishly-developed featured at the moment is the Theme Customizer. This WordPress 3.4 feature is set to provide a new way to browse themes. By providing an easy-to-use, real-time tool to effortlessly apply Header images, Background colors and patterns, Menus, the Title and Tagline and other customizable theme features, the Theme Customizer aims to save trips to the different Appearance areas and improve usability on the whole.

Multi-site improvements

WordPress 3.4 will be able to support a Multi-site environment even if installed in a subdirectory. Multi-site WordPress is aiming to get auto-complete when searching for users and sites. Searching for users on a particular site should be possible, as well as other minor usability improvements.

HTML support in captions

WordPress 3.4 HTML Captions

One of the most requested features that many are waiting for is the ability to add HTML to image captions, including links and formatting.

More XML-RPC

XML-RPC is what makes it possible for such applications as Android for WordPress to work with your site. This protocol allows for third-party apps to post content, manage comments, etc. without having to login into the WordPress dashboard. New methods allow for management of custom post types, taxonomies, and user blogs on Multi-site. This change will probably reflect itself in additional functionality in your favorite Weblog clients.

Better international support

Several important localization and internationalization features are going to make it into WordPress 3.4, including better word count for languages with one glyph per word, the possibility to translate theme and plugin headers, better RTL support.

Add Comments in Edit Post

WordPress 3.4 Comments in Edit Post

You’ll be able to further manage comments directly from the Edit Post view, by being able to add new comments, too.

Other improvements

  • Dozens of bug fixes
  • Improved speed along with lower memory consumption rates
  • Indefinite scrolling of Themes search screen
  • A brand new Theme API, which wraps all the theme functions
  • Clicking admin bar scrolls to top (super useful trick)
  • Links widget shall be able to sort and filter links

What you’re not going to see

Twenty Twelve

WordPress Twenty Twelve Theme

The much-anticipated Twenty Twelve theme will not make it into WordPress 3.4, even though development has started and is ongoing. Twenty Twelve will most likely be shipped with WordPress 3.5 which should be available by the end of October.

Development has temporarily moved to Github.

Favicon upload support

Another long-awaited feature – favicon management right out of the box. There’s slim chance this feature will make it into WordPress 3.4, hopefully we’ll get to see it in 3.5 instead.

Staying informed

For those who are eagerly awaiting WordPress 3.4, checking WordPress.org every day hoping to see some updates (“Are we there yet?”), keep an eye out for daily updates on:

So, which of the features are you most excited about? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, or shoot a tweet our way. Don’t forget to subscribe, we’ll be one of the first ones to let you know when WordPress 3.4 is finally out.