It feels like we just upgraded to WordPress 3.6, and now WordPress 3.7 Beta 1 is already available for download.
Andrew Nacin, a lead developer on the WordPress core team, made some really good points in his announcement about which features we should be looking at for WordPress 3.7.
First, Automatic Background Updating. This is something that many developers have wanted for a long time, and it will hopefully prove fruitful in keeping installations of WordPress up to date. Andrew recently gave a lightning talk on WordPress core and backwards compatibility, so having sites updated in the background largely shouldn’t be an issue)
UPDATE As clarified earlier on make.wordpress.org, the automatic updates will be by default, only for minor releases — aka security releases. So there’s no need to worry about feature upgrades between major releases, those will still be by choice. You can also disable automatic updates if you want to.
There were some other minor cosmetic updates which aren’t very noticeable. One feature that is noticeable is the new password meter that they borrowed from Dropbox.
In what seems like a small update, it’s certainly not a small update.
Search results are now ordered by relevance, rather than just by date. When your keywords match post titles and not just content, they’ll be pushed to the top.
Search has been a weak area for WordPress for many, many years, so it’s really exciting to see the core team is finally paying attention to it.
The last feature that Nacin mentions is the updated WP_Query to provide for more advanced queries (#18694 on WordPress Trac). This feature is being headed up by Viper007Bond, and it’s something that a lot of us are really excited about. My feeling is that this is what is going to help WordPress 3.7 feel more like a “platform” rather than just a blogging CMS.
As promised in Matt Mullenweg’s recent State of the Word address, the core team is committed to delivering both WordPress 3.7 and WordPress 3.8 in the 2013 calendar year. That means faster releases and sticking to the schedule.
Here is a quick glimpse at the WordPress 3.6 release schedule.