The first beta release of the upcoming WordPress 3.6 is here. It's a bit later than some might have expected, but this release is a change of course for WordPress.
All the features have been mostly completed by now, the beta release is intended for testing and just for testing, there won't be any major changes or additions between now and the final release, just bug fixes and improvements.
"We've been working for nearly three months and have completed all the features that are slated for this release," WordPress lead developer Mark Jaquith wrote.
"I felt very strongly that we shouldn't release a beta if we were still working on completing the main features. This beta is actually a beta, not an alpha that we're calling a beta," he explained.
As for what's new in WordPress 3.6, for once, the default yearly theme will ship with the first release of the year. Twenty Thirteen is almost ready and is described as "opinionated, color-rich, blog-centric theme."
It's also built around Post Formats, a feature that's been improved in WordPress 3.6. Post Formats enable themes to differentiate between types of posts and present them differently accordingly. Post Formats now have their own UI.
Also new in WordPress 3.6 is support for HTML5 audio and video embeds. Now, you can simply add a video or an audio file to your blog post and have it played without the need of any plugin.
Posts are now saved automatically locally, meaning you won't lose anything you write if you lose your internet connection or even if your computer crashes.
Post Locking is another new feature, you can now see in real time when someone is editing a post and lock the post to prevent further edits.
WordPress 3.6 Beta 1 is available for download here.