WordPress 3.8 Features Confirmed: MP6, Dashboard Update and Widgets Makeover

WordPress 3.8 Features Confirmed: MP6, Dashboard Update and Widgets Makeover

The features set to make it into WordPress 3.8 were decided during an epic three-hour IRC meeting, during which team leaders ran their proposals past WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg.

The plugins given the greenlight include: MP6 (a visual overhaul of the admin area), DASH (a redesign of the dashboard landing page), THX38 (a reimagining of the theme installation experience) and Widgets Area Chooser (a redesign of the widgets area interface).

Unlike previous versions of WordPress, all of the features planned for 3.8 are being developed and tested first at standalone plugins before they are integrated in core.

Widgets Area Chooser
Widgets Area Chooser has been developed by designer/developer Shaun Andrews and is available to download in the WordPress Plugin Repository.

Omnisearch/Global Admin Search (which merges the various admin search forms into one) had been a possible inclusion, but it was decided during the meeting the plugin needed more work before given the go ahead for inclusion in core.

Shortly before the meeting, designer/developer Shaun Andrews submitted a proposal for his Widgets Area Chooser plugin to be included in 3.8. The plugin offers a redesign of the WordPress admin area’s widgets interface.

Mullenweg said the plugin was a “small but useful addition” and asked Andrews, who works for Automattic, to get the feature onto WordPress.com for further user testing before it was merged with core.

MP6 Customizer
The MP6 Customizer screen has a slick new coat of paint.

DASH was given the all clear with no major hurdles. The plugin’s team leader Dave Martin will work with core contributor Mark Jaquith on merging the plugin into core.

THX38 was also approved. Mullenweg noted the visual design of the plugin felt “more fun, more friendly”. He emphasized the need for the feature to be “speedy” once integrated into core.

Last but not least, MP6 was greenlighted for inclusion. It’s not surprise the project was approved as the MP6 team has been working on overhauling the WordPress admin area’s visual for almost a year.

Mullenweg said MP6 was a “shot in the arm, forces plugin devs to up their game, makes WP feel modern, and the importance of the responsive aspect of it cannot be overstated.”

Work on the default Twenty Fourteen theme was also discussed during the meeting, and whether it will be released with version 3.8.

The magazine-style design will be the most feature-rich default theme made available for free, though there were doubts among core developers whether the theme was polished enough.

Twenty Fourteen could still be released, Mullenweg said, but there needed to be “a lot of hussle” over the next week. Otherwise, Twenty Fourteen could be held back for release with WordPress 3.9 sometime next year.

The theme is expected to be made available on WordPress.com for user testing. Check out our Twenty Fourteen Theme Takes a Step Further for more details about the theme.

Mullenweg hinted during the meeting that he wanted the Twenty Fifteen default theme to “loop back” to a be more “CMS-y theme”.

Do you think these features are worthy of inclusion in WordPress? Tell us what you think in the comments below.