A Look at WordPress 3.6 – New Features & New Default Theme

The beta for WordPress 3.6 has been out for a couple of weeks now and is looking to launch towards the end of this month – if you haven’t had the time or inclination to install and test it out then today’s post is for you – I will be looking at the new features and the new default theme – Twenty Thirteen. There are some nice new additions in this version of WordPress:

  • Post Formats:  Post Formats now have their own UI, and theme authors have access to templating functions to access the structured data.
  • Twenty Thirteen: We’re shipping this year’s default theme in our first release of the year. Twenty Thirteen is an opinionated, color-rich, blog-centric theme that makes full use of the new Post Formats support.
  • Audio/Video: You can embed audio and video files into your posts without relying on a plugin or a third party media hosting service.
  • Autosave:  Posts are now autosaved locally. If your browser crashes, your computer dies, or the server goes offline as you’re saving, you won’t lose the your post.
  • Post Locking:  See when someone is currently editing a post, and kick them out of it if they fall asleep at the keyboard.
  • Nav Menus:  Nav menus have been simplified with an accordion-based UI, and a separate tab for bulk-assigning menus to locations.
  • Revisions: The all-new revisions UI features avatars, a slider that “scrubs” through history, and two-slider range comparisons.

Post Formats

My favourite new feature is that the Post Formats have been brought properly into WordPress with a better UI. When writing a new post now there are controls at the top to choose which post format you want to use :


If you choose audio or video, a box appears where you can enter an embed code or upload your media :


A nice new touch is the post format icons are now used next to your post listins so you can see at a glance which format each one is :



With 3.6 there is a new auto-saving feature which will save the post you are working on to your computer locally, so imagine if there is a power outage or your browser crashes – WordPress can recover the post.

Post Locking

The post locking feature is handy for sites with multiple authors – if someone else is currently working on that post you will see a clear warning at the top and you can take over editing the post. The other user will see a message saying you have taken over :


Nav Menus

Creating navigation menus has been simplified slightly and split into 2 tabs – one for creating and editing your menus :


The other tab is for choosing the location for the menu you just created :



The last new feature is another nice one – clicking on post revisions now shows a slider at the top which you can use to revisit old versions of the post and see what has been changed and by whom :


Twenty Thirteen

The new default theme which ships with 3.6 is a big bold theme with a graphic header area at the top – custom fonts for headings and styling for different types of post format :





I really like the new features – the new Post Formats UI in particular was well needed – I had been building custom things into my themes to handle this which I can now remove an rely on WordPress to handle this. Everything else feels nice and is step in the right direction.

I am not keen on the new theme at all – it’s too big for me and has too much styling – I believe the default theme should be plain and simple to allow people to customise it how they see fit – Twenty Thirteen doesnt do that for me and is trying to be too flashy. Some people will like this theme but luckily the old default themes will still ship with WordPress.

What do you think of 3.6? Any new features you particularly like ?



Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, An Internet Company based in Manchester, UK. I founded WPLift and ThemeFurnace, find out more on my Personal Blog. Thanks!

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7 thoughts on “A Look at WordPress 3.6 – New Features & New Default Theme”

  1. It looks like many new changes are happened. I would be happy to try out new Post formats UI. Manage locations in Navigation Menu truly simplifies the menu editing. I’m not much bothered about the other few changes

  2. Looks great, cant wait to include the new post types into my wordpress themes. That step comes much too late but late is better then never!

  3. I agree with the assessment that default theme is too fancy. I don’t remember when I had actually taken a look at Twenty Ten, Eleven, Twelve, etc. as I have half dozen flavors of my own default/base theme.

    However, for any new developer who is switching over from Drupal for instance,

    (There has been loads of developers who are abandoning Drupal since version 7 was introduced; think of Windows 8)

    any unnecessary css codes in default theme will only slow them down.

    I hope that WP should be mindful of this fact and try to keep the default theme as simple as possible.

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