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WordPress 3.7 Arrives! – A Look At What You Need To Know

By Kimberly Castleberry | Small Business

WordPress 3.7 Arrives! – A Look At What You Need To Know image wordpress 37 200x200WordPress 3.7 Arrives! – A Look At What You Need To KnowWordPress 3.7

A version of WordPress that brings a “simple little thing” that many WordPress users badly need!

Introducing WordPress 3.7….

With Automatic Updates For Minor Releases!

Back in July, Matt Mullenweg, WordPress founder, in his annual “State of the Word” presentation (which if you have not watched it, you should) announced that the WordPress team was very aware of the stressing and gnashing of teeth that came with new updates on WordPress.org.

They were also very aware of the security risks that come from not updating – and were looking into a way to make sure that sites did not have so many reasons to sit un-updated.

Here are the big improvements:

  • Automatic Minor Updates: With WordPress 3.7, you don’t have to lift a finger to apply “maintenance and security updates”. (These are known as point releases or minor releases such as 3.6.1 – but does not include primary releases such as 3.6.) Most sites are now able to automatically apply these updates via SSL in the background. The update process also has been made even more reliable and secure, with dozens of new checks and safeguards.
  • Stronger password recommendations: Your password is your site’s first line of defense. It’s best to create passwords that are complex, long, and unique. To that end, our password meter has been updated in WordPress 3.7 to recognize common mistakes that can weaken your password: dates, names, keyboard patterns (123456789), and even pop culture references. This, in conjunction with Login Lockdown will help you stop certain attacks at the door.
  • Better global support: Localized versions of WordPress will receive faster and more complete translations. A boost for the many millions who use WordPress in a language other than English.

For developers there are lots of options around how to control the new updates feature, including allowing it to handle major upgrades as well as minor ones, more sophisticated date query support, and multisite improvements.

Auto updates for minor releases freak you out? According to WordPress, you can add a code snippet to your wp-config file to disable them:

define( ‘AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED’, true );

You may be asking why auto updates do not include major releases by default. The reason is that major releases bring a lot of code changes. These are the ones that are notoriously an issue for upgrades when plugins and themes are not yet up to par. There would (currently) still be a lot of danger involved in making them automatic so the team has refrained from doing that. Point releases however are very minor code changes – usually for security patches – and critical for your sites health. There is less risk and more to gain by pushing them urgently.

Additional features found in 3.7 include:

  • Improved Search Results: Instead of the former “match by date” the search results now returns the results that are closest to the phrase you typed in. This improves the odds of the visitor finding what they are looking for.
  • Advanced Date Queries: Developers can now create queries that look within a date range or to/from any specific point in time.
  • Multisite Improvements: A new “get sites” query allows for developers to quickly retrieve a list of all the sites in a multisite installation for use by plugin or theme functions.
  • Small Accessibility Improvements: This includes some key improvements on list table rows and color contrasts in the default themes.
  • New functions, classes, actions, and filters. If you’re the code-lover type, check out the codex for these.
  • New development build tools, recapped here. (This post is from pre-release and may not be 100% accurate but it’s pretty good for an overview.)

Want to learn more about any of these items? Check the WordPress Codex.

Tips before you upgrade!

  • Be sure you back up BOTH your database and contents. You can do this one of four ways: manually via MySQL & FTP, cPanel backup, BackupBuddy (my preferred) or a mix of free plugins such as BackWPUp.
  • Update your plugins AND your theme before upgrading the core software. For added stability you may wish to also temporarily deactivate (not delete) your plugins (which will retain their settings) before the upgrade process since plugins/themes are the leading cause of upgrade failure.
  • Too nervous or too busy to do it yourself? Check out one of our WordPress Maintenance Plans!

More than 210 people actively contributed code, checks, and fixes to this particular version…. the power of the open-source WordPress community!

This release marked the closed and “fixed” status for 438 bug tickets!

I’m eager to hear what you think of the new WordPress version 3.7! Leave a comment and let me know!

PS: The 3.8 release is due in December.

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