Sanat Singha is a technical writer, an editor, a blogger and a web marketing consultant. Contact him at wsigmas@gmail.com

If you are a blogger and your blog is hosted on WordPress platform, you have enough reasons to feel proud. Currently, you are among 30 million users (like me) who are using WordPress as a sole Content Management System (CMS).

Well, the story does not end here. After WordPress 3.1 made a big blockbuster last month it is time to rejoice with the latest version – WordPress 3.2. Wait a bit! The final version is on the radar to release on 30th June.

WordPress 3.2 for you:

So, what is in store for WordPress 3.2 user? How could this open source blogging and publishing platform make blogger’s job more convenient and interesting? I am crazy about trying this for my other blogs. And, I am sure you people can’t help but download 3.2 version for your next blog installation. Should you, you sure will miss a lot.

Wordpress 3.2

Automattic has just released RC 1 (Release Candidate) of WordPress 3.2 after successful Beta testing. It comes with a pack of new features like Dashboard views, New admin layout , Distraction Free writing, Auto upgrading improvements and a new theme Twenty Eleven.  However, the theme is yet to be available in Release Candidate stage.

So, what is new in WordPress 3.2 that makes you read this post?

Lead developer at WordPress, Mark Jaquith recently announced that WordPress 3.2 contains inspiring features and updates that will make CMS faster and lighter than ever before.

Let’s check out what those are

1. New admin layout – there are changes in user interface i.e. dashboard. With this new dashboard view you will feel fresh and may forget the old one too.

2. New themes – Now you will be able to install more themes.  Isn’t it great news for those who are passionate about applying the finest theme for free?

3. Widget option – There are some fascinating improvements you can see in new widget view. Especially, in sidebar option you can find multiple customizations by default.

You will also find separate sections like Showcase sidebar, Footer area One, Footer area Two, Footer area Three. It means, you can forget about visiting sidebar.php and avoid editing hard codes for new sidebar widget installation.

Earlier you had to edit footer.php to do changes (for example: alignment changes, text addition) in footer section. But, now you can simple go to widget view, access footer panel and do whatever you wish to do.  It is safe, easy to use and does not require any technical expertise or knowledge in PHP.

4. New Plugins – The layout and screen options are more user-friendly.

5. New Post view – It’s really worth watching. Now you can chose format while drafting new post. There are around seven different formats available. These are Standard, Aside, Link, Gallery, Status, Quote, and Image.

6. Distraction-free writing – Now you can have cleaned up writing interface just by hiding Custom fields, Author etc. You have full-screen writing space so that you focus on content rather than other nitty-gritty.

7. Improvements in loading speed – There is a common say that WordPress can halt a website if the database is larger in volume. This old feature will be dropped with WordPress 3.2 version. Means, uploads will be much faster than ever before.

8. Improved upgradation – Developers are continuously working on file upgradation rather than entire package. The version 3.2 will carry more updates.

9. New theme – You may know about Twenty Ten theme which was introduced with WordPress 3.0.  Now developers are planning to launch a new theme Twenty Eleven. This comes with two color schemes – light and dark and in-built theme options so that you can pick color scheme, link color and layout. This theme has no sidebar by default, but you can enable it from Theme Options page.

The header image area of Twenty Eleven theme allows you to pick random images for each page. There will be more upcoming features that developers are trying to include.

10. Hosting requirements

So, you are ready to download WordPress 3.2. Here are a few basics that you need to remember and arrange. WordPress 3.2 requires PHP 5.2.4+ and MySQL 5. It means, if you are currently using WordPress 3.1 and have a support of PHP4 and MYSQL4, you have to contact your hosting provider soon. Ask them if they are already using the latest technology. Quality hosts are compatible with WordPress 3.2.

If you want to know whether your current hosting company is using WordPress 3.2 or not, download a Plugin called WordPress Requirements Check.  The Plugin will inform you about hosting compatibility for this new version.  If they don’t permit it is better to switch your host.

For practical experience you can check also out Live Demo for WordPress 3.2.

Final Take:

The final version of 3.2 is expected to come out on 30th June this year.

There were around 350 tickets closed and tons of changes done. Means, good things come in a package. Before, the final version is released theme and plugin developers are requested to put their own suggestions and stuffs. Thus, for any complicated issues, we may expect quick fix before the final release.