WordPress 3.2 has officially been released. You can either update right from your dashboard or download it from WordPress.org. The main focus of this release was to speed everything up. Lighter and faster was the goal and we definitely accomplished it. The dashboard loads faster than ever before, as does every other admin page.
The speed difference is amazing and you can expect it to get faster still in the versions to come. The main reasons are that we have stopped supporting ancient (in internet time) software. The WordPress admin no longer supports Internet Explorer 6 (a 10 year old browser that even Microsoft wants to see disappear) and bumped the required PHP version to 5.2.4 and the required MySQL version to 5.0. Well over 90% of all WordPress installs will be completely unaffected by these changes in the system requirements, but for those of you on older versions a quick E-Mail to your hosting provider will probably get you what you need.
Additionally in 3.2 Distraction Free Writing was introduced. You can now go full-screen when writing a post and see nothing but the text you are typing. All the extra things that normally distract you simply fade away, letting you really focus on your writing. I honestly wasn’t very sure about this feature during the planning phases of 3.2, but having used it and tested it throughout the process, I can say that I was converted. I definitely recommend everyone try it out and see how much time you save while writing your posts!
There are a ton of other small enhancements in 3.2, but the last ones I want to mention are a couple new links in the footer of WordPress admin. One says “Freedoms” and one says “Credits”. WordPress is licensed under the GPL and the Freedoms link takes you to a page that explains in relatively simple terms how you benefit from this particular license. The Credits link will show you who you can thank for WordPress 3.2. Well over 100 people contributed to making WordPress 3.2, and here you can see who those people are as well as see a list of third party libraries that WordPress uses. If you get a chance, thank these people for helping to create a great product that you can use for free!