Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that WordPress 3.6 came out on the 1st of August.
This version brings a few new functions while simultaneously refining the way you blog.
Personally, I think the new revision system is a massive improvement over the old system. You can now see how many revisions there are for a post or page and scroll through the timeline quickly and get a visual difference between two adjacent versions. Or you can select “compare any two revisions” to get the specific comparison you need. It also shows you who made the changes so you can easily check what has been edited between your draft and the live version.
Should you end up accidentally deleting some important content, or change your mind about that paragraph you scrapped, the revision system has your back. You can either revert to any previous revision, or just copy the bits you need.
A big focus for the update was making sure that posts will never get lost. I’m sure that everyone who has lost a lot of work on a post because of a disconnect will value this new featue. The WordPress team has worked very hard to make the autosaves more frequent and robust. You may still get logged out, but now that we have “inline logins,” it’s easier than ever to log back in and ensure your content is properly saved. WordPress also uses your browsers’ local storage to ensure the data persists between screens if need be.
While this may not sound like a big deal, it comes down to being able to trust that your tools will not lose your work. I think you should be typing your posts in WordPress and benefit from all of its features, not notepad because you’re afraid to lose your work.
Post locking is usually named together with autosave as it helps protect the integrity of the posts by ensuring a team does not overwrite each others’ changes. When a post is being edited, the bulk action checkbox is replaced with a lock and any attempt to edit the post results in a popup that gives the user an option to either check the post (read only), or take the post over or back out. When a post is taken over, the other author receives a notification that they are no longer editing the post.
As a hosting provider, I get frequent requests about how to add images and other media. Recent versions have improved image handling a great deal and it looks like 3.6 will also make some of the same improvements to sound and video with their new embedded media player. While it was always possible to upload these files, the user would then either need a plugin to provide a player or just include a link to the file for downloading. Both solutions will still work, but WordPress now bundles “mediaelement.js” to play the most common formats (you should check it out here). More advanced users, such as developers, will be happy to know the player can be skinned through CSS to mesh well with their customer designs.
All of these features make WordPress 3.6 a better platform for creating. Its hard to pick favorites, as far as features go, but as it stands now I’d say the stronger post locking and autosave are my favorites. This is the kind of improvement that you will not see directly, but will appreciate if you’ve ever had a post disappear on you because of a broken connection!
Barry van Someren is a Java developer and Linux system administrator who fell in love with WordPress because it empowers people to make the most of their online presence. Currently a sysadmin for hire, Barry runs a small WordPress oriented business called CoffeeSprout that offers WordPress hosting and solutions to the Netherlands. You can find Barry on twitter as @bvansomeren.