What’s New in WordPress 3.3?

Today WordPress version 3.3 was released which means new features, goodies, enhancements, and fixes. This version of WordPress is named “Sonny”, which is named after the famous jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt. You can update your WordPress website by logging in and clicking the “Please Update Now” button.

Wordpres 3.3 Update

So what’s new in WordPress 3.3?

For Users

Experienced users will appreciate the new drag-and-drop uploader, hover menus for the navigation, the new toolbar, improved co-editing support, and the new Tumblr importer. They’ve also been thinking a ton about what the WordPress experience is like for people completely new to the software. Version 3.3 has significant improvements there with pointer tips for new features included in each update, a friendly welcome message for first-time users, and revamped help tabs throughout the interface. They’ve also improved the dashboard experience on the iPad and other tablets with better touch support, yay!

For Developers

There is a ton of candy for developers as well. Developers should start they’re exploration with the new editor API, new jQuery version, better ways to hook into the help screens, more performant post-slug-only permalinks, and of course the entire list of improvements on the Codex and in Trac.

Top New Features

Here are the top new features of WordPress 3.3:

Drag n’ Drop Media Upload

New WordPress 3.3 Media UploaderAs we know it now to add media to WordPress we click one of the upload buttons for pictures, video, audio, etc., then are presented a screen to upload our media, we click the button to browse our computer for the media file, then click the upload button.  Well, now instead of needing to click on a specific upload icon based on your file type, now there’s just one. Then you can  now simply drag files from your desktop and drop them into the uploader. Add one file at a time, or many at once.  Once your file is uploaded, the appropriate fields will be displayed for entering information based on the file type.  This makes uploading files much much easier!

Flyout Menus

Sidebar Admin flyoutsThe sidebar links got an upgrade with the new flyout submenus saving multiple clicking. As you hover over each main menu item in your sidebar navigation, the submenus will magically appear, providing single-click access to any screen.

This is a big time saver for any admin, especially if you are working with a theme that has a lot of custom post types.  This make sit easy with less clicks to get to where you want in the admin backend.

Combined Header & Admin Bar

New Feature PointerTo save space and increase efficiency, they combined the admin bar and the old Dashboard header into one persistent toolbar. Hovering over the toolbar items will reveal submenus when available for quick access.

New Feature Pointers

Now in the future when they add new features, move navigation, or do anything else with the dashboard that might throw you for a loop when you update your WordPress site, they’ll let you know about it with new feature pointers explaining the change.  Isn’t that nice?

Help Tabs

The Help tabs located in the upper corner of the dashboard screens below your name have gotten a facelift. Help content is broken into smaller sections for easier access, with links to relevant documentation and the support forums always visible.

Responsive Design

Certain dashboard screens have been updated to look better at various sizes, including improved iPad/tablet support.

Post-update Changelog

From now on when you update WordPress, you’ll be brought to a screen that shows what is new.  Much like this page that we’re explaining what is new. This page is also accessible any time from the top left W logo in the corner of the toolbar — to get an overview of what’s changed.

Wordpress 3.3 Welcome Screen

Dashboard Welcome

The dashboard home screen will have a Welcome area that displays when a new WordPress installation is accessed for the first time, prompting the site owner to complete various setup tasks. Once dismissed, this welcome can be accessed via the dashboard home screen options tab.

Better Co-Editing 

Coediting with WordPress

Have you ever gone to edit a post after someone else has finished with it, only to get an alert that tells you the other person is still editing the post? From now on, you’ll only get that alert if another person is still on the editing screen — no more time lag.

Tumblr Importer

Want to import content from Tumblr to WordPress? No problem! Go to Tools → Import to get the new Tumblr Importer, which maps your Tumblog posts to the matching WordPress post formats. Tip: Choose a theme designed to display post formats to get the greatest benefit from the importer.

Widget Improvements

Changing themes often requires widget re-configuration based on the number and position of sidebars. Now if you change back to a previous theme, the widgets will automatically go back to how you had them arranged in that theme. Note: if you’ve added new widgets since the switch, you’ll need to rescue them from the Inactive Widgets area.

Under the Hood

  • Flexible Permalinks – You have more freedom when choosing a post permalink structure. Skip the date information or add a category slug without a performance penalty.
  • Post Slugs: Less Funky – Funky characters in post titles (e.g. curly quotes from a word processor) will no longer result in garbled post slugs.
  • jQuery and jQuery UI – WordPress now includes the entire jQuery UI stack and the latest version of jQuery: 1.7.1.
  • is_main_query() – This handy method will tell you if a WP_Query object is the main WordPress query or a secondary query.
  • WP_Screen API – WordPress has a nice new API for working with admin screens. Create rich screens, add help documentation, adapt to screen contexts, and more.
  • Editor API Overhaul – The new editor API automatically pulls in all the JS and CSS goodness for the editor. It even supports multiple editors on the same page.


This is a great new update and release for WordPress. Be sure to make sure that your current WordPress theme and plugins are all compatible before upgrading and of course be sure to create a back up of your WordPress site before upgrading.  (As I’ve recommended in the past) BackupBuddy is the best way (I think) to backup your WordPress site. Happy updating ;-)

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