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Seven Things You Should Know About WordPress 3.2

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 18 April 240.
Planet PHP

WordPress has announced that the initial release candidate of WordPress 3.2 is now available, meaning that the general release of WordPress 3.2 is right around the corner.

There are some really cool new features and improvements sure to make a lot of folks happy, but there are also some significant changes in WordPress requirements that you should be aware of, lest you click the magic upgrade button in your WordPress admin and be disappointed.

Here are the top seven points you need to know about WordPress 3.2:

The Death of MySQL4 & PHP4 and Why You Should Care

As most of us know, keeping WordPress up-to-date is extremely important. It's easy to understand how WordPress installations remained out of date prior to the automated update features being added to core WordPress several versions back, but these days there's almost no excuse.

It never ceases to amaze me how often I work on a new client's existing WordPress website to see them running versions of WordPress as old as 2.7 and 2.8. Because of its incredible popularity, WordPress is constantly targeted by hackers looking to exploit security vulnerabilities in the system. These vulnerabilities are usually caught and patched, resulting in incremental updates that keep WordPress fresh, clean and safe.

By not keeping your WordPress installation current, you risk falling victim to malicious attacks that are entirely preventable-given that you actually guard against them by updating your code.

With that said, WordPress has up until this point been a very pleasant citizen, being more than happy to work with you and live on older, antiquated web servers. This has meant that WordPress has essentially been backwards compatible, happily supporting MySQL4 and PHP4. However, try to upgrade WordPress to 3.2 on a server that doesn't have either MySQL5 or PHP5, and you'll see something like this:

MySQL5 and PHP5 systems have been running stable now for several years and they collectively add quite a bit of functionality, but there are still servers out there that run old web services for any number of perfectly valid reasons.

If you are currently hosting with a larger hosting provider like Hostgator, Bluehost, Softlayer, Rackspace, LiquidWeb or the like, don't sweat it-you are probably just fine. But if you happen to be with a smaller hosting company, have an account with several aolegacy sitesa that require older services, or are even running your own server, you may end up needing to upgrade both WordPress and the server it lives on.

If you don't know whether or not your sites are running on a server that will support WordPress 3.2, there's a handy little plugin written by Ryan Duff called WordPress Requirements Check. Just download it and add it to your WordPress installation, and it'll let you know whether or not you are ready for the next version of WordPress.

So don't be caught with your pants down-the official release for WordPress 3.2 is slated for on or around June 30th, so there's still time to clean up your act and be able to join in the fun!

Bye Bye, IE6

Considering that even Microsoft is counting down the days till none of us ever have to deal with that wretched Internet Explorer 6 ever again, the official dropping of support for IE6 is hardly a surprise.

Still, seeing it in online print should give seasoned web development veterans warm fuzzies on some level. IE7 is also on the way out, though WordPress won't officially drop support for it for a little bit yet.

Surprise! A New, Streamlined Admin Interface

Now that we've covered the important stuff that is going away that you need to be aware of, let's talk about what's new and good coming to a WordPress installation near you soon! We'll start with the new and improved, streamlined WordPress administration interface.

With the release of WordPress 3.0, we were introduced to a lighter, friendlier feel in the WordPress administration interface, and the refreshed version of the WordPress 3.2 in

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