WordPress 4.2 beta 1 is now available for early testers to download. It’s “pencils down” time for core contributors as far as new feature requests are concerned. This is the point in the release cycle where contributors are focusing their efforts on bug fixes and inline documentation.
Drew Jaynes, the 4.2 release lead, posted the beta release announcement and summarized the main features that could use further testing. The Press This bookmarklet feature has been totally redeigned to be more intuitive and mobile-friendly. If you want to test it out, install the beta and then navigate to the Tools screen in the admin.
Jaynes also encourages users to test drive the new theme browsing and switching capabilities that are now built into the customizer. “We’re especially interested to know if this helps streamline the process of setting up your site,” he said.
The customizer theme switcher is one of the more controversial additions to this release. The new feature was met with a significant amount of resistance from our commenters when it was approved for merge into WordPress 4.2.
The installation and update process for plugins has been beautifully re-tooled to provide a smoother, more convenient experience where users can perform these actions without leaving the Plugins screen. Feel free to leave any feedback on the corresponding ticket for this improvement.
WordPress 4.2 also expands core support for emoji. Jaynes suggested that users go to town on testing it everywhere.
“If you felt like emoji were starkly missing from your content toolbox, worry no more,” he said. “We’ve added emoji support nearly everywhere, even post slugs.”
According to the current 4.2 project schedule, the official release is targeted for the week of April 22nd. A series of betas and at least one release candidate are likely to precede the official release during the course of the next month.