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05 April 2012, 12:01

First WordPress 3.4 beta released for testing

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WordPress logo WordPress UX lead Jane Wells has announced the arrival of the first beta of version 3.4 of WordPress. Aimed at testers, the development release includes improvements to theme search and selection, as well as a new theme customiser with previewer.

Users can now select custom headers and background images from the Media Library, and custom headers sizes are said to be more flexible. Under-the-hood changes include internationalisation improvements, better WP_Query performance and support for installing child themes via the Themes Directory. An API for registering theme support for custom headers and backgrounds, and an XML-RPC API for external and mobile applications have also been added.

According to the project's draft schedule, the first beta was originally planned for 14 March, after which two betas and two release candidates were to be released, with the final version expected on 18 April. Now, Wells says that "If all goes well, we hope to release WordPress 3.4 in May".

More details about the first beta can be found in the release announcement. WordPress 3.4 Beta 1 is available to downloadDirect download from the project's site. As with all development releases, use on production sites is not advised. Users testing the release are encouraged to provide feedback and report any bugs that they find.

Source code for the open source blogging and publishing platform is licensed under the GPLv2. The current stable release is WordPress 3.3.1, a security update from early January that closed a cross-site scripting (XSS) hole.

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