WordPress 3.9 Beta Testing Underway as April Launch Looms

WordPress today announced the second beta release of version 3.9, as they prepare for an April launch.

Amongst the enhancements which WordPress 3.9 could bring, is an improved Widget Customiser which allows you to edit and preview widgets in a similar way that the current Theme Customiser works. 

Further widget management improvements may come in the form of the Better Widgets feature, which enable the sidebar area to be switched to the main screen instead of being constricted to the sidebar, giving users greater control over widget placement and configuration.

Shaun Andrews, who leads the WordPress “Widgets UI Refresh” team believes that both feature plugins would be ready for inclusion into 3.9 core. For now though, let's have a look at what additions the two recent beta tests have revealed.

TinyMCE Updates, Improved Image Editing & More

The first set of  improvements  which WordPress users were asked to test via the first beta release, were as follows:

  • TinyMCE, the software powering the visual editor, updated to the latest version. Be on the lookout for cleaner markup. Also try the new paste handling — if you paste in a block of text from Microsoft Word, for example, it will no longer come out terrible. (The “Paste from Word” button you probably never noticed has been removed.)
  • Added widget management added to live previews.
  • 3.8′s beautiful new theme browsing experience to the theme installer included.
  • Galleries now receive a live preview in the editor. 
  • You can now drag-and-drop images directly onto the editor to upload them. 
  • Some have been improved around editing images. It’s a lot easier to make changes to an image after you insert it into a post,  and you no longer get kicked to a new window when you need to crop or rotate an image.
  • New audio/video playlists.

Today though, with the second beta release of WordPress 3.9, some more notable updates have been made, including:

  • Rendering of embedded audio and video players directly in the visual editor.
  • Visual and functional improvements to the editor, the media manager, and theme installer.
  • Various bug fixes to TinyMCE, the software behind the visual editor.
  • Lots of fixes to widget management in the theme customizer.

To test out the WordPress 3.9 beta 2 and provide the team with your feedback, head over to the official WordPress Blog.