A new release of WordPress is available. This update is a major one in that it brings with it some significant changes to the CMS.  What changes can you expect? Read on.

Redesigned and Streamlined Dashboard

As you can see in the image below, the dashboard has been reworked to provide a more streamlined experience:

WordPress 3.2 Dashboard

The new dashboard seems quicker in our trials and certainly offers a more visually appealing look with improved typography and, according to the release announcement, improved code in the back end.

Improved Post Editor

Undeniably, the most important part of WordPress is the post editor and this has been improved as well. You'll notice a smoother, slicker post editor with a number of new features such as Fullscreen Mode which Matt Mullenweg describes as ..

...my personal favorite feature of the release. All of the widgets, menus, buttons, and interface elements fade away to allow you to compose and edit your thoughts in a completely clean environment conducive to writing, but when your mouse strays to the top of the screen your most-used shortcuts are right there where you need them. (I like to press F11 to take my browser full-screen, getting rid of even the OS chrome.)

Here's a pic of the new editor normally:

WordPress 3.2 Post Editor

and here is a pic of it in "zen mode":

WordPress 3.2 Post Editor - Full Screen

In full screen, as you type, the top controls fade away which allows you to see only the text as you type. This is a very cool new feature that should help inspire writers by removing potential distractions.

Other features include:

Under the hood there have been a number of improvements, not the least of which is the streamlining enabled by our previously announced plan of retiring support for PHP4, older versions of MySQL, and legacy browsers like IE6, which allows us to take advantage of more features enabled by new technologies. The admin bar has a few more shortcuts to your most commonly-used actions. On the comment moderation screen, the new approve & reply feature speeds up your conversation management. You’ll notice in your first update after 3.2 that we’ll only be updating the files that have changed with each new release instead of every file in your WordPress installation, which makes updates significantly faster on all hosting platforms. There are also some fun new theme features shown off by Twenty Eleven, like the ability to have multiple rotating header images to highlight all of your favorite photos.

Want to know more? Check out this video highlighting the features before you upgrade:

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Last but not least, grab a copy from WordPress.org