Why you should upgrade to WordPress 3.5 ASAP

As you know WordPress 3.5 was released on Dec. 11th. Aside from all the main reasons you should always keep your WordPress version up to date, I want to share with you some drastic reasons on why you should make the updates ASAP.

photo credit: teamstickergiant via photopin cc

1. The Media Manager / Gallery Abilities

OMG. This is the moment we have been waiting for. No longer will we be forced to use a plugin to manage our galleries. Galleries are now part of the core of WordPress. You will notice when you add a pic now you have the ability to create a gallery. Once you upload and multi upload your pics for your gallery you can insert it automatically in a page or post using id’s. The sort order is cool too – you can just drag your images to the position you would like them to be placed in and easily add your title and caption. If your theme has gallery/ portfolio styling, it will will pick it up and runs seamlessly. Here is an example of our galleries using the WordPress galleries and Woo Themes portfolio custom post type.

Description of Media Manager Update via WordPress Codex:

  • Beautiful interface: A streamlined, all-new experience
  • Create galleries faster with drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls
  • Insert multiple images at once with Shift/Ctrl+click

2. New Responsive Twenty Twelve Default Theme

If using the default WordPress theme is your thing, then you will be super excited about the new Twenty Twelve theme. It is packed full of updates replacing Twenty Eleven. It’s a responsive theme that also includes some cool theme features including: Sidebar WidgetsNavigation MenusPost FormatsPost ThumbnailsCustom BackgroundsCustom HeadersAutomatic Feed Links, and Editor Style.

Description of  Default Theme Twenty Twelve via WordPress Codex:

  • Simple, flexible, elegant
  • Mobile-first, responsive design
  • Gorgeous Open Sans typeface
  • Uses the latest Theme Features

3. New Admin Features

For us WordPress junkies who love to geek out, the Admin area also got a facelift. New year to you. You go WordPress! Some cool stuff includes new welcome screen, retina ready, and hide link manager just to name a few. I don’t mind the link manager being hidden as my dashboard was getting a bit full anyway and I’d like to keep it clean. It is all in the details for WordPress and sometimes it is just nice to feel spoiled.

Description of  Admin Enhancements via WordPress Codex:

  • New Welcome Screen
  • Retina-Ready (HiDPI) Admin
  • Hide Link Manager for new installs
  • Better accessibility for screenreaders, touch devices, and keyboard users
  • More polish on admin screens, including a new color picker

4. For Developers

In this update we saw quite a few new highlights for developers. One of the cool ones to point out is the show_admin_column which allows automatic creation of taxonomy columns on associated post-types. Previously, plugin and theme developers had to manually insert this to anything to make their job easier is always nice.

Description of  Developer Highlights via WordPress Codex:

  • WP_Comment_Query and WP_User_Query accept now meta queries just like WP_Query
  • Meta queries now support querying for objects without a particular meta key
  • Post objects are now instances of a WP_Post class, which improves performance and caching
  • Multisite’s switch_to_blog() is now significantly faster and more reliable
  • WordPress has added the Underscore and Backbone JavaScript libraries
  • TinyMCE, jQuery, jQuery UI, and SimplePie have all been updated to the latest versions
  • Image Editing API for cropping, scaling, etc., that uses ImageMagick as well as GD
  • XML-RPC: Now always enabled and supports fetching users, managing post revisions, searching
  • New “show_admin_column” parameter for register_taxonomy() allows automatic creation of taxonomy columns on associated post-types.

Other Changes and Recap

One small change that might freak you out is the renaming of the “HTML” editor tab to “Text” in a page or post. I honestly don’t like this, but oh well. I write code in my notepad text editor so I get it, but still. Not excited about the change!

Basically, if you don’t upgrade for any other reason than the galleries you are missing out. The media manager overhaul is to die for and long awaited. Other main items are the overall “tidying” up. It is just a lot cleaner, and who couldn’t use some spring cleaning in their dashboard.

To date there has been over 2,300,000 downloads of WordPress 3.5 and the counter keeps going up. If you still aren’t convinced check out the full list of highlights and upgrades on the WordPress Codex.

Go forth and upgrade!

Source: WordPress Codex

Rachael Butts
I'm a self-made WordPress designer who loves running my own shop...and coffee. You can find me at Facebook, Twitter, and Google+


  1. says

    Riiiiight… Those new changes they made to WordPress are all bright and shiny, but it's a big leap to make. 3.5 is now incompatible with TONS and TONS of plugins, and most of those plugins will probably stay incompatible due to being rarely upgraded/abandoned. The sad part is that some of those plugins were an one-time work and no one made a replacement/similar functionality.
    I had to downgrade a client's website on a live site because they updated it and the new version broke almost everything – slider, lightbox, the admin panel itself. On a clean local install, the admin panel worked fine, but almost all of the plugins i use to work with graphics weren't working.
    Why are you suggesting everyone should jump on the 3.5's bandwagon right away, I cannot understand.

    • @MilahBee says

      .El I'm so with you! One of my clients had the coolest plugin ever, this Pinterest RSS Widget. Now the images are not showing up. The developer is looking for someone to manage the plugin, so now I'm trying to determine the "fix" on my own. I've seen so many post about it breaking the plugins. Yes you want to be up-to-date with WordPress versions, but it doesn't feel like a win when everything breaks!

  2. Rachael J Butts says

    Hi Date-

    Because in reality you should only be using plugins that stay up to date with WordPress updates. Good plugin developers will be ready for future upgrades. If you are using plugins that are not compatible with new releases then I would probably find a better plugin and theme.

    I upgraded a lot of clients sites recently and they all worked great because we only use plugins that are ready for new releases. Never stay with a plugin that won't be compatible or theme that won't be compatible.

    You also need to stay up to date on all plugins, theme, and WP ALWAYS to ensure proper security of you and your client's sites.

    That is my two cents :)

  3. says

    I have noticed no difference in the upgrade, except that my "upload media" and "add" button for tags no longer work. I have to manually copy and paste my photos in and edit from the post, and I can only add my tags from the quick edit screen. I see nowhere on WordPress for support on this, and no place where I can email my beefs with the upgrade. HELP!!!

  4. Rachael J Butts says

    I would check and see if one of your plugins is causing this error. Try disabling all plugins, check to see if buttons are now there, and then turn on each plugin 1 at a time until you find the culprit. Good luck!

  5. says

    Creating image galleries is really easy in the new version. I also like that users can now see the changes in the same window without actually saving any changes.

  6. says

    The major problem I ran into is that I write a lot of posts in advance and sometimes I embed videos, and when every one of those posts have been going live it’s been erasing all my embeds. I’m not the only one having this problem either.

    • Rachael J Butts says

      I would definitely write that in the WordPress forums. Erasing .html when switching to the text tab has always been an issue. Did you try writing new posts and setting them as drafts after the upgrade, or are all these draft posts written before?

  7. dacktyl says

    I can't access "text editor" after updating to 3.5. Did anyone else encounter this? If so, what can be done to fix it? Thanks.

  8. Rachael J Butts says

    They changed the name to "visual/text" Text editor became "visual" and html became "text". If you can't access one or the other it is because of a plugin error. Try deactivating your plugins and reactivate one at a time checking until you can edit it and you have found the culprit. Good luck!

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