Named after the celebrated pianist and composer George Gershwin, WordPress 3.2 officially hit the shelves today. The 15th major release of the open-source blogging platform brings a refreshed dashboard design and speed with which is has used to leave IE 6 and PHP 4 in the dust.
On the look and feel side, the default template has been replaced by Twenty Eleven, an entirely HTML5-powered version which corresponds with the project's aim to keep things fresh with a new default theme every year.
“Twenty Eleven is based upon the first-class code from Automattic Developers and its HTML5 supports open the door for more customization than one has done with Twenty Ten theme,” said Dhiraj Srivastav, Senior Software Developer from WordPressIntegration. “WordPress 3.2 provides a completely distraction free writing as all the widgets, elements, and buttons will fade away allowing you to focus only on the Editor screen.”
Meanwhile, a new full-screen writing mode called 'zen' is also available, fading all the buttons and interface elements to white in order to allow the user to concentrate purely on writing. Founding developer Matt Mullenweg claims this to be his favorite feature in the official release post.
Bye Bye Baby
Under the hood, the previously announced streamlining method has officially been employed. While it certainly translates to a faster release, it also comes at a cost: support for PHP4 and versions of MySQL prior to 5.0 have now been removed altogether, and the Admin interface no longer operates in Internet Explorer 6.0.
This can mean bad news for certain themes, so we recommend using a health check plug-in to check if you're actually ready for 3.2. Once that's all set, the update takes about 5 seconds.
Further information about the release, including a full list of changes, can be found here.