What You Need To Know About WordPress 3.5


Version 3.5 is the second major release of WordPress in 2012. It’s focused on improvements of existing features, such as the media library, plugin installations and the theme previewer. Let’s look at some things you’ll need to know about this new version of WordPress.

WordPress 3.51
WordPress Moleskine notebook (Image: Nikolay Bachiyski2)

Media Uploader Improvements

The biggest improvement in the upcoming WordPress 3.5 is the way that users will add photos in content. With a more simplified interface, WordPress will make the whole workflow of uploading and inserting images much easier, even for beginners.

To insert an image, click the new “Add Media” button:

“Add Media” button

A lightbox will pop up, where you can add images either by dragging and dropping or by clicking on “Select Files.”

Media uploader

After adding it, the image will appear in the pop-up dialog. When you click on it, the image’s settings will appear on the right, instead of opening in a new tab.

Media uploader

When you’re done, just click the “Insert into post” button, and the image will be added to the post.

New Default Theme

In 2010, WordPress’ development team started to use a new default theme every year. This year’s default theme will be released with WordPress 3.5 and is named Twenty Twelve.

Twenty Twelve

It is the first default theme that is fully responsive. Being able to adjust well to any screen size, it is very friendly to mobile devices.

Twenty Twelve on a small screen

Twenty Twelve also includes a front-page template, which has its own widgets instead of a sidebar. So, you can customize the front page by setting up a single page. This feature makes WordPress function more like a CMS.

Twenty Twelve’s front-page template

In addition, the theme is Retina-ready, which means it can be used on screens with high resolution (such as the new iPad). And it comes stocked with the Open Sans font family, which makes it more stylish.

Links Manager Is Gone

In fresh 3.5 installations, the links menu will be disabled by default, in order to make WordPress’ core lighter. If you already have links when you update, they will continue to exist.

The links menu does not exist anymore.

To get the links feature back, you’ll have to install the Link Manager10 plugin.

A menu with the Link Manager plugin

Favorite Plugins

WordPress’ plugins directory12 now allows users to mark any plugin as a favorite just by clicking a button.

The “Favorite” button for plugins.

In the new version of WordPress, you can access your favorites directly from the admin panel, which makes installing these plugins a lot easier. To see the list, go to Plugins → Add New → Favorites, type your WordPress.org user name, and then click “Get Favorites.”

Pulling up the list of favorite plugins from WordPress.org

Favorite plugins

Welcome Screen

The welcome screen is now simpler and more user-friendly, including basic tasks that users need.

The new welcome screen

Color Picker

WordPress has also introduced an improved color picker:


Other Enhancements

Many other new features are invisible to basic users but important to developers:

  • XML-RPC is enabled by default, which makes it easier to connect with mobile apps.
  • The static front-page options under the “Reading Settings” menu have been improved.
  • Child categories are no longer promoted to the top level after a minor edit.
  • Some external libraries (such as TinyMCE, SimplePie, jQuery and jQuery UI) have been updated. Also, Backbone 0.9.2 and Underscore 1.3.3 have been added.
  • Support for Instagram, SoundCloud and SlideShare have been added.
  • Multisite can now be used in a subdirectory.
  • The “HTML” tab for editing has been renamed to “Text.”
  • Support for screen readers and keyboard navigation have been improved (e.g. you can navigate the admin panel with the Tab key).
  • Many visual elements have been converted to CSS3 elements in order to support HiDPI (including Retina) displays.

Resources Around The Web

Last but not least, here are some official WordPress links you might find useful.



  1. 1 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/wp-new-version.png
  2. 2 http://www.flickr.com/photos/nbachiyski/2186228674/
  3. 3 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/media_button1.png
  4. 4 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/media_uploader.png
  5. 5 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/media_file.png
  6. 6 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/twenty_twelve1.png
  7. 7 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/twenty_twelve_responsive.png
  8. 8 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/twenty_twelve_frontpage_page_template.png
  9. 9 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/links_after.png
  10. 10 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/link-manager/
  11. 11 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/links_before.png
  12. 12 http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/
  13. 13 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/favorites_button.png
  14. 14 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/favorites_tab.png
  15. 15 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/favorites_results.png
  16. 16 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/new_welcome_screen.png
  17. 17 http://www.smashingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/color_picker.png
  18. 18 http://wordpress.org/news/
  19. 19 http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_3.5
  20. 20 http://wordpress.org/about/roadmap/

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Konstantinos Kouratoras is a web developer based in Crete, Greece. WordPress lover, Linux enthusiast and amateur photographer. You can contact him through personal website or follow him on twitter.

  1. 1

    I think the new Media Uploader is a really grand improvement. It allows to simplify creating the most part of plugins that use media resources.

    Thanks for the excellent article!

    • 2

      Konstantinos Kouratoras

      December 15, 2012 9:58 am

      Thank you! Indeed, the new media manager is great!

    • 3

      Hi Paul,
      Totally I agree with you about the point that the best improvement in WordPress 3.5 is the media uploader. Think I just found out something cool to play with.

      Thanks for your post as well,Konstantinos Kouratoras.

  2. 4

    Is it just me, or does the new “text” tab really chop up the html into one big block of text – meaning, it does not retain any html layout that makes any sense after you update or publish. I’m sure not many noobies want to look under the hood and do any editing to their html, but there are a lot of us that DO like to make sense of what html code is there and edit it, or create directly using html.

  3. 5

    Thanks Konstantinos. It would be good to see some detailed tutorials on the changes in the new media uploader from a developer’s perspective, or perhaps a comprehensive tutorial on how it is working for developers. Great overview though!

  4. 6

    Thanks Konstantinos for the detailed information about WP 3.5. I agree that WordPress Media uploader got a major facelift in this update.
    With an entirely new and enriched media experience, WordPress 3.5 strikes the jackpot with this new feature. Kudos to WordPress core development team.

  5. 7

    Thank you, Konstantinos! Get to read a brief but highly informative article about the most important WP changes from the average blogger’s point-of-view. I’m a developing with over 100 WP sites. . . not I have a better idea what to be telling my clients as we switch them over to WordPress 3.5. Kudos!


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