WordPress 3.3 was just released! WordPress 3.3 is a major release with major overhauls to the user interface (UI), the media center/media uploader, and several more improvements.
I have been following the development cycle and absolutely love 3.3. One of my favorite changes is regarding the permalink structure options. In the past, our favorite permalink structure was to use the custom option /%postname%. This would result in a post URL of http://yourdomain.com/your-post-title which is good for users and SEO, but would cause performance problems when you get a lot of posts and pages in your database. This has been remedied in 3.3 and now is one of the options in the permalinks settings screen.
Remember to completely back up your files and database before upgrading, and if you haven’t yet even upgraded to WordPress 3.2, be sure your hosting company is running PHP 5.2.4 or greater and MySQL 5.0 or greater.
If you are not 100% sure what your host is running, call them or install the Heath Check Plugin to check your current hosting configuration (requires at least WordPress version 2.9.2).
If your current hosting company isn’t up to par for 3.3, we recommend WP Engine, SiteGround, or Media Temple for WordPress hosting.
What’s New Direct From WordPress.org
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.