If it’s true that the best gifts come in small packages, then WordPress 3.9 is set to be a stellar release. It’s full of tiny improvements that improve the publishing experience, especially when it comes to editing content. You can now check it out first-hand, since 3.9 Beta 1 was released today. The official release is scheduled to drop during the week of April 14th. Andrew Nacin announced the beta with the customary haiku, which nicely sums up what you’ll find in 3.9:
Lots of improvements
Little things go a long way
Please test beta one
There are some exciting new features coming in 3.9, but a good portion of core development has also been dedicated to iterating on features introduced in previous releases. Nacin summarized a few of the major new items that need testing:
- Updated to TinyMCE 4.0
- Widget customizer now rolled into core for live previews while managing widgets
- WP 3.8’s theme browsing experience extended to the theme installer
- Live preview for galleries in the editor – no more placeholder
- Drag-and-drop images directly onto the editor to upload
- Multiple improvements to image editing
- New audio/video playlists
Nacin asked WordPress users what they’re most excited about for WordPress 3.9 and here are a few responses from the community:
@nacin it's small, but i love the improvements to editing images and no more new windows. sometimes it's the little things.
— David Bisset (@dimensionmedia) March 11, 2014
— George Stephanis (@daljo628) March 11, 2014
@nacin the ability to position cropped images. It's a small but very useful. I'm sure others will point out the major features ;)
— Syed Balkhi (@syedbalkhi) March 11, 2014
How to Test a WordPress Beta Release
All of these enhancements need to be tested, as some are still a little rough around the edges. You don’t have to be an expert developer to get on board to test the upcoming 3.9 release. All you need is a test environment. Install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin and select “bleeding edge nightlies.” Alternatively, you can simply download the zip file for the beta.
If you think you’ve found a bug, feel free to post it on the Alpha/Beta forum. That is the easiest entry point for testing the beta and being part of making it better. If you’re able to submit a bug on WordPress core trac, that’s even better. For more details on the specific issues to test, make sure to check out the 3.9 Beta 1 announcement post.