WordPress released version 3.4 last month.
Now a roadmap is starting to take shape for version 3.5.
What can we expect from WordPress 3.5 and on into 2013? Read on to find out.
WordPress 3.5 in a Nutshell
WPCandy had an overview of the things most likely to make the roadmap for WordPress 3.5. None of these are certain yet.
- A new default theme in Twenty Twelve. This came close to inclusion in 3.4 and you can see a demo here.
- Some of the user interface tweaks being discussed at http://make.wordpress.org/ui/.
- Updates to the theme customizer that appeared in 3.4, including header/background image handling and menus.
- Removal of the Link manager.
- Improved gallery management and revamped image upload/insert workflows.
WordPress 3.5 Release Schedule
- December 5th, 2012: Release.
3.5 will be the first version with a dedicated lead developer in Andrew Nacin.
A Focus on Simplicity
While reading through all the usability discussions on http://make.wordpress.org/ui/, one phrase really jumped out at me:
"For those of you building websites with WordPress, I’d love to learn about how you’d approach a simple 10 page static site design".
Joomla is rewriting its design system with Bootstrap. Drupal is rewriting almost its entire core. WordPress is focused on making it easier to build 10 page sites.
When we covered the release of WordPress 3.4, there was only one major feature we though worth covering: theme customization. All the other changes were minor iterations or under-the-hood changes.
Is this focus on simplicity going to continue? Yes, absolutely. In this interview from May, Matt Mullenweg says that he, "had been hard at work coming up with a new interface that will eradicate some of the complexity that WordPress is usually associated with."
He goes on to say, "one of the things I’ve been working on for the past few months is a radical simplification of the interface."
Matt himself summed up his thoughts in this blog post:
"There are hints of this [increased simplicity] already happening in our iPhone and Android apps, but even though I’m thinking about this all the time I don’t have all the answers yet."
In the comments he reassures people that they won't lose access to existing WordPress features, but we should "think of these as alternative ways to use WordPress."
No further details are available, but expect more later this year and particularly in 2013.
The Growth of Jetpack
Another thing worth mentioning did catch my eye over the last few months. That's the growth of Automattic's JetPack for WordPress sites.
JetPack offers analytics, social sharing, WordPress-branded shortlinks and now a commenting service. There's probably more to come in 2013.
JetPack will mean more sites drawn more tightly into the WordPress and also, possibly, more WordPress sites drawn together into a loosely-joined network.
Really, that's about it so far for the development of WordPress 3.5 and beyond.
WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world and their plans read like this:
- Make small improvements with releases a couple of times a year.
- Figure out what can be removed and simplified, rather than added.
It's been a winning formula for them and they're betting that it will continue to be for WordPress 3.5 and beyond.