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A Review of WordPress 3.5

written by Kevin Muldoon on December 13, 2012

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Matt Mullenweg announced the second major WordPress release of 2012 a few days ago. Known as Elvin, WordPress 3.5 has a lot of great new features that bloggers will love. It’s been download a few hundred of thousand times already however over the course over the next few months this figure will be in the millions.

Today I’d like to walk you through the latest additions to the popular blogging platform :)

Link Manager

If you visited any blog several years ago, you would likely have seen a long list of friends websites listed on the sidebar. This was known as the blogroll. Nowadays people recommend good articles via social media services such as Twitter and Facebook but back then it was all about the blogroll. Every blog had one…even John Chow!

John Chow Blogroll

The blogroll has become less common over the last few years. Due to this, and because of WordPress’s policy to remove non-vital features from the core, the link manager has been removed from new installs of WordPress 3.5.

Links Manager

Don’t worry if you still want to use the link manager on new WordPress installations. It has been released as a plugin in the official WordPress plugin directory. It offers the same functionality as before. The only difference is the features are not built into the core version of WordPress.

I think this was a wise decision. I’ve used blogrolls in the past but the link manager is something that I don’t use on most of my websites. There’s no reason for them to include functionality in the default version of WordPress when most users aren’t using it.

Twenty Twelve

Twenty Twelve was originally scheduled for release in June in WordPress 3.4. It was later released in the official theme directory in September however 3.5 marks it’s first inclusion in an official release.

This is the 4th default design for WordPress after Kubrick, Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven. It’s a clean minimal design that is easy to modify.

Twenty Twelve

Many end users have been disappointed with the design. I’ve seen some users complain that the design is too plain however that’s a complaint that’s levelled at all default designs. They’re supposed to be plain. I would suggest looking at the theme as a canvas rather than a complete design. In that regard, the theme has been a success with developers due to how easy it is to create child themes with it. Whilst it’s perhaps not the best option for a commercial site, Twenty Twelve could easily be adapted for a personal blog or small content website.

Favourite Plugins

If you are signed in, you will now see an option in the official WordPress plugin directory to mark plugin as a favorite. All plugins will then be listed in your profile at WordPress.org.

Favourite Plugins

You favorite plugins can be installed directly through your WordPress admin area. In the ‘Install Plugins’ section you will now see a new tab for favorites. You simply need to enter your WordPress.org username in order to see the plugins you marked as favorite. You can then install them directly from the page.

Favourite Plugins

New Welcome Screen

The welcome screen has a cleaner look and is now less cluttered. The old welcome screen had a lot of text and took up most of the page.

Old Welcome Screen

The new welcome screen is much tidier with less text and fewer links. I prefer this layout as it frees up more real estate on the main admin dashboard.

New Welcome Screen

New Media Interface

The new media interface is the reason you should all update to WordPress 3.5. It’s a huge improvement over the old media uploader.

All images, audio and videos are listed in a gallery format. The right panel allows you to change details such as title, caption, alt text, link, description, alignment and size. The major difference is that multiple items can now be selected. This allows you to insert multiple items into your articles at the click of a button. The old method required you to insert each media item into your articles one by one.

New Media Interface

Multiple items can also be added to a group. Once you have done this, the group can be displayed on any page, not just the post or page the items were uploaded to.

Images can now be edited online too. The new image editor allows you to flip and rotate your images. You can also crop the image by scale to reduce its size. Changes can be made to all images or just the corresponding thumbnail. This will save you a huge amount of time if you regularly find yourself having to edit images and re-upload them.

Edit Image Interface

Other Features

3.5 has seen lots of other improvements and additions too. In the theme customizer the color picker has been improved visually and the admin dashboard now supports retina displays. An option to import posts from Tumblr has been added to the tools section too. There’s a lot of great Tumblr style themes for WordPress so I suspect this may convince a lot of Tumblr users to move to WordPress.

For a complete list of the features added in WordPress 3.5, I recommend reading the WordPress codex for the release. As always, make sure you back up your database and files before upgrading.

Good luck,

Announcement: WordPress 3.5 “Elvin”

Kevin Muldoon is an experienced blogger who blogs regularly about WordPress, Blogging, Social Media and Internet Marketing on his personal blog. He can also be found on Twitter @KevinMuldoon and Google+.

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Erwin December 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi everyone,

I’m useing Wordpres 3.5 on my site and I’m quite happy with it.

It has got more friendly dashboard and navigation for me and I like it.
So I would recomend it but what you think?

See you on top.

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 10:46 am

I really love it. It’s a marked improvement over the old media manager :)

Freedom Jackson December 13, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Good review Kevin,

I hope the add photo process is easier I hate having to edit photo’s twice in order to modify the borders, etc and link properties.

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

It’s much easier for adding multiple images. The process of adding individual images isn’t too different.

Kevin Ocasio December 13, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Good review of WordPress 3.5 Kevin! Interesting that they got rid of the links manager as part of the core install, but I guess it does make sense. As you said, it’s used less these days so no need to really have it (I know I actually never use it on my blogs) and at least it’s still available as a plugin for those that do use it.

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

Yeah the actual functionality is still available. The plugin system was set up to handle non-essential jobs like that so it makes sense to remove it from the core.

halo December 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

hello sir Johnchow? Good morning! I already updated my wordpress to 3.5 :) but still do not have idea of it’s new features! Thank you for sharing this review to us. GOD BLESS!

Kamlesh Nishad December 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm

Superb review.. I am currently using the latest version of wordpress and loving to use it. The best feature i like which is media, all media displays in thumbnail which looks awesome and easy to insert and find images. BTW i like your review. Thanks for sharing.

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:19 am

Glad you enjoyed the review Kamlesh :)

Samuel December 14, 2012 at 3:23 am

I just updated Internet Dreams to the new Wordpress :)

I noticed the new interface of the media manager. Quite nice actually!

Whitney December 14, 2012 at 6:12 am

Man, I really love Wordpress…it has so many features. I don’t care for the new media interface that much, but I’ll get used to it. I love the frequent updates of Wordpress and all the improvements they make, I recommend it to anyone. Great post :)

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:20 am

Yeah it’s still strange at first. When you use WordPress so much, everything becomes second nature, so when they change something it can be frustrating at first (even if it is an improvement).

Zander December 14, 2012 at 6:45 am

I upgraded to 3.5 on one of my sites, and I was disappointed to find that the Sharebar plugin has some compatibility issues with it. Since that plugin is fairly important to my sites, I’m kind of stuck in a holding pattern. :(

Kevin Ocasio December 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm

That’s why I personally never update WordPress until after a couple of weeks of it being released. That way, it gives plugin developers enough time to update their plugins to work with the latest version of WordPress ;)

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

If WordPress is vital to your income, I recommend creating a test blog. The test blog should have the same theme and all the same plugins installed. You can then test everything there whenever new version is released. It’s a useful place to try out modifications too.

faisal December 14, 2012 at 7:28 am

The media changes should have been done long ago.

Ngan Tengyuen December 14, 2012 at 8:38 am

the media manager is long overdue. glad that they’ve decided to upgrade it.

Cudjoe December 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I do see it as a major catastrophe. I now find it difficult uploading pictures to my posts. Photos become blank after uploading.

Kevin Muldoon December 16, 2012 at 11:24 am

I recommend re-uploading all WordPress files again.

If the problem remains, deactivate all plugins and then see if the problem occurs. If the problem is gone, re-enable all plugins one by one until you find the one that is causing the conflict.

Yassin Hives December 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I am no big fan of updating WordPress version immediately, Sometimes the theme isn’t compatible with the new version which force you to put some extra effort every time there is a new update

i like to be passionate until things settle down a bit

Kevin Muldoon December 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

If you’re theme is incompatible with 3.5, it’s going to be incompatible with 3.5.1, 3.5.2 etc.

There are very few bugs in stable releases nowadays. It’s not like several years ago. By the time 3.5 was released it had been through a few beta releases and a few release candidate releases.

If you are concerned about things not working, I encourage you to set up a test area and try it out.

Sergio January 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

I started blogging recently on wordpress.org self-hosted site…previously on wordpress.com so I am quite new.

I am using Wordpress 3.5 from the beginning and for the moment I am satisfied with it. Cool stuff