WordPress.org today announced the debut of WordPress 3.7. This latest version is a feature and bug-fix release for self-hosted WordPress sites.
Dubbed “Basie” in honor of American jazz pianist and composer Count Basie, WordPress 3.7 is the first release that uses the company’s new plugin-first development process that results in a much a quicker development cycle. WordPress.org explains it gives much more autonomy to plugin leads and allows the organization to decouple feature development from a release.
New features in WordPress 3.7 include:
Updates while you sleep:
With WordPress 3.7, you don’t have to lift a finger to apply maintenance and security updates. Most sites are now able to automatically apply these updates 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.
Better global support:
Localized versions of WordPress will receive faster and more complete translations. WordPress 3.7 adds support for automatically installing the right language files and keeping them up to date, a boon for the many millions who use WordPress in a language other than English.
Background Updates are Scary
So called background updates are probably the biggest feature of the new version. This adds an option to WordPress to install maintenance and security updates automatically in the background without an Admin initiating the update.
While most WordPress webmasters may not want to use the feature, as it can very well break a website, without them knowing about it for some time, it may make sense for sites that do not use many customizations or plugins, or sites that just sit there and are not maintained anymore.
The automatic-updates feature will only apply security or stability updates automatically, while feature releases, those from 3.7 to 3.8 for example, won’t be applied automatically.
Note: The feature is enabled by default and there is no way to “turn it off” from the admin. Mind you, it can be done. Here’s how:
- Locate your wp-config.php file (it’ll be in the site’s root)
- Add the line define( ‘AUTOMATIC_UPDATER_DISABLED’, true ); to the file and upload
- Confirm the change has been made by going to /wp-admin/about.php
WordPress 3.6 was released in August. If this faster release cycle sticks, we’d expect to see WordPress 3.8 before the end of the year. Version 3.8 is in fact currently scheduled for December.
You can check out all changes in 3.7 on the WordPress Codex.