On January 18, 2012 many sites around the web — from small personal blogs to internet institutions like Mozilla, Wikipedia, reddit, and I Can Has Cheezburger? – will be going dark in protest and to drive their visitors to sites like americancensorship.org to take action and help fight the passage of the Protect IP Act. So will WordPress.org.
If you want to join the protest by blacking out your WordPress site or applying a ribbon, there is now a variety of blackout plugins in the WordPress.org plugins directory. While joining the protest in this manner is laudable, please don’t forget to also make those phone calls to U.S. Senators — they’re the ones with the voting power.
You are an agent of change. Has anyone ever told you that? Well, I just did, and I meant it.
Normally we stay away from from politics here at the official WordPress project — having users from all over the globe that span the political spectrum is evidence that we are doing our job and democratizing publishing, and we don’t want to alienate any of our users no matter how much some of us may disagree with some of them personally. Today, I’m breaking our no-politics rule, because there’s something going on in U.S. politics right now that we need to make sure you know about and understand, because it affects us all.
Using WordPress to blog, to publish, to communicate things online that once upon a time would have been relegated to an unread private journal (or simply remained unspoken, uncreated, unshared) makes you a part of one of the biggest changes in modern history: the democratization of publishing and the independent web. Every time you click Publish, you are a part of that change, whether you are posting canny political insight or a cat that makes you LOL. How would you feel if the web stopped being so free and independent? I’m concerned freaked right the heck out about the bills that threaten to do this, and as a participant in one of the biggest changes in modern history, you should be, too.
You may have heard people talking/blogging/twittering about SOPA — the Stop Online Piracy Act. The recent SOPA-related boycott of GoDaddy was all over the news, with many people expressing their outrage over the possibilities of SOPA, but when I ask people about SOPA and its sister bill in the Senate, PIPA (Protect IP Act), many don’t really know what the bills propose, or what we stand to lose. If you are not freaked out by SOPA/PIPA, please: for the next four minutes, instead of checking Facebook statuses, seeing who mentioned you on Twitter, or watching the latest episode of Sherlock*, watch this video (by Fight for the Future).
In the U.S. our legal system maintains that the burden of proof is on the accuser, and that people are innocent until proven guilty. This tenet seems to be on the chopping block when it comes to the web if these bills pass, as companies could shut down sites based on accusation alone.
Laws are not like lines of PHP; they are not easily reverted if someone wakes up and realizes there is a better way to do things. We should not be so quick to codify something this far-reaching.
The people writing these laws are not the people writing the independent web, and they are not out to protect it. We have to stand up for it ourselves.
Blogging is a form of activism. You can be an agent of change. Some people will tell you that taking action is useless, that online petitions, phone calls to representatives, and other actions won’t change a single mind, especially one that’s been convinced of something by lobbyist dollars. To those people, I repeat the words of Margaret Mead:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
We are not a small group. More than 60 million people use WordPress — it’s said to power about 15% of the web. We can make an impact, and you can be an agent of change. Go to Stop American Censorship for more information and a bunch of ways you can take action quickly, easily, and painlessly. The Senate votes in two weeks, and we need to help at least 41 more senators see reason before then. Please. Make your voice heard.
*Yes, the latest episode of Sherlock is good. Stephen Moffatt + Russell Tovey = always good
WordPress 3.3.1 is now available. This maintenance release fixes 15 issues with WordPress 3.3, as well as a fix for a cross-site scripting vulnerability that affected version 3.3. Thanks to Joshua H., Hoang T., Stefan Zimmerman, Chris K., and the Go Daddy security team for responsibly disclosing the bug to our security team.
The latest and greatest version of the WordPress software — 3.3, named “Sonny” in honor of the great jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt — is immediately available for download or update inside your WordPress dashboard.
WordPress has had over 65 million downloads since version 3.0 was released, and in this third major iteration we’ve added significant polish around the new user experience, navigation, uploading, and imports. Check out this short video that summarizes the things we think you’ll find are the cat’s pajamas:
Introducing WordPress 3.3 "Sonny"
Experienced users will appreciate the new drag-and-drop uploader, hover menus for the navigation, the new toolbar, improved co-editing support, and the new Tumblr importer. We’ve also been thinking a ton about what the WordPress experience is like for people completely new to the software. Version 3.3 has significant improvements there with pointer tips for new features included in each update, a friendly welcome message for first-time users, and revamped help tabs throughout the interface. Finally we’ve improved the dashboard experience on the iPad and other tablets with better touch support.
There is a ton of candy for developers as well. I’d recommend starting your exploration with the new editor API, new jQuery version, better ways to hook into the help screens, more performant post-slug-only permalinks, and of course the entire list of improvements on the Codex and in Trac.
Roll the Credits
The Credits tab on the new About WordPress screen in the WordPress dashboard provides recognition for contributors to each release, but we like to thank them here as well.
Our goal is to release version 3.3 early next week, so plugin and theme authors, this is your last pre-release chance to test your plugins and themes to find any compatibility issues before the final release. We’ve published a number of posts on the development blog that explain important things you need to know as you prepare for WordPress 3.3. Please review this information immediately if you have not done so already.
If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. Or, if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. Known issues that crop up will be listed here, but let’s all keep our fingers crossed for a quiet Sunday so we can get these new features into your hands early next week!
Last year we wanted to do a video town hall, but ran into technical and scheduling difficulties. This year we’re planning ahead, and will definitely make it happen. We’re currently taking questions, and will record a series of town hall-style videos where we answer your questions. Ask about the roadmap, code, community, contributing, WordCamps, meetups, themes, plugins, features, you name it. No topic (as long as it is about WordPress) is off limits, and we’ll do our best to answer as many questions as we can while we are together. The videos will be posted to this blog and archived at WordPress.tv.
Last year the people who were in attendance also posted pictures and updates to Twitter using the #wptybee tag. We’ll use the same tag this year, so if you’re interested in following along, add it to your Twitter client as a search.
The second release candidate for WordPress 3.3 is now available!
As the first release candidate was well-received, we think we’re really close to a final release. Primarily, we’ve ensured that new toolbar (the admin bar in 3.2) has a consistent appearance across all browsers, and the API for developers is now final. You can check our bug tracker for the complete list of changes.
Plugin and theme authors, please test your plugins and themes now, so that if there is a compatibility issue, we can figure it out before the final release. On our development blog, we’ve published a number of posts that explain important things you need to know as you prepare for WordPress 3.3.
If you haven’t tested WordPress 3.3 yet, now is the time — please though, not on your live site unless you’re adventurous. Once you install RC2, you can visit About WordPress page (hover over the WordPress logo in the top left) to see an overview of what’s to come in WordPress 3.3 (and what to test, of course).
If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. Or, if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac. Known issues that crop up will be listed here.
Release Candidate stage means we think we’re done and are about ready to launch this version, but are doing one last check before we officially call it. So take a look, and as always, please check your themes and plugins for compatibility if you’re a developer.
Stayed up late tonight,
Hammering toward RC1.
Now with more icons!
With all our major tickets closed, we are very close to a release candidate. In Beta 4 we’ve fixed a bunch of bugs, cleaned up the UI, added real text in some of the screens that still had placeholder text in Beta 3 (post-update screen, the Dashboard welcome area, new feature pointers), and generally tightened things up. We updated to jQuery 1.7.1 and addressed a LOT of bugs.
If you are a plugin or theme developer (or distributor), please test against Beta 4 to ensure there are no issues.
If you find any problems, please report them as usual. Many thanks!
Thought 3 was the last?
Ha ha! Beta 4 is here –
Better get testing!
We need your opinion! One of the features we’re adding to WordPress 3.3 (currently in beta 3) is intended to reduce widget pain. Say you’re using Theme A and you have a handful of widgets set up. You switch to Theme B, and it has different widget areas, so you add/remove/edit your widgets. Then you realize that you hate Theme B. “This theme doesn’t represent my innermost soul!” you cry to the heavens. You switch back to Theme A, but because it had different widget areas, now your widgets are messed up. Argh, right? Not for long!
Imagine being able to change themes and modify widgets as needed, and if you decided to go back to your old theme, it would return your widgets to how they were the last time you had that theme activated. Sounds good, yeah? The problem we’re facing is deciding how long to save the old widget configuration, since there are so many potential workflows. If you changed From Theme A to Theme B and added more widgets over the next few weeks, if you switched back to Theme A after a month, would you still expect it to go back to the widgets from a month ago? At what point does it go from handy timesaver to unexpected widget mangler? What do you think?