WordPress has announced the first release candidate for WordPress Version 3.4

WordPress has announced the first release candidate for WordPress Version 3.4.

A “release candidate” is the final test version before mainstream public release. In other words, the current release candidate is pretty much what the final version will look like. Unless some major surprises pop up, there is only the crossing of T’s and dotting of I’s at this stage.

In order to get the current release candidate, you can download the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or download the release candidate (zip file).

Here are some goodies of what you can expect (from the WordPress Codex):

Highlights

  • Enhanced theme control
    • Customize theme options before activating a new theme using Theme Customizer
    • Use Theme Previewer to customize current theme without changing the front-end design
  • Media improvements
    • HTML support has been added to image caption field

User Features

General

  • Support HTML in image captions
  • Properly reflect the language on RSS feeds
  • Update license.txt to include ‘How to Apply These Terms to Your New Programs’

Dashboard

  • Dashboard Widgets are available for translation
  • Help Tabs improvements
  • Remove Recently Updated from Plugins widget
  • Add a link to the Customizer from the Admin Bar appearance menu
  • Improve the Recent Comments dashboard widget performance on sites with large amounts of comments

Posts

  • Add new comment from post edit screen
  • Display menu_order value in Quick Edit for non-hierarchical post types
  • Change ‘Post Format’ bulk/quick edit label to ‘Format’

Media

  • Add Twitter.com as an oEmbed providers.

Comments

  • Remove “Approve” bulk action when viewing spam comments as it isn’t shown in the row actions

Appearance

  • Update the header and background Theme Features in Twenty Ten and Twenty Eleven themes
  • Faster theme searching
  • Add Sort by, and Number of Links to show, to the Links widget
  • Introduce new registration methods for custom headers and custom backgrounds
  • Default to keyword searches for the theme installer
  • Contextual help updates

Plugins

  • Clean up the Plugin installer screenshots page; adds CSS resize support to the images to prevent them requiring scrolling and falling below the FYI box
  • Default to keyword searches for the plugin installer

Settings

  • Update color scheme definition for gray admin theme
  • Use blue arrows for blue admin’s screen options and help tabs; adjust baseline to be more compatible with Firefox
  • Timezone and start of week can now be specify through translated strings (rather than PHP)

Install Process

  • Don’t allow empty database prefix for multisite
  • Issue an error during the WordPress install process if wp-config.php is configured with an empty database table prefix, which is not supported

You can see the full list of new features and functionality here.

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