WordPress 3.4 has been out for a few months now and work has been undergoing on the upcoming WordPress 3.5 ever since.
As the big features are close to completion, the first beta release is here. WordPress 3.5 Beta 1 is the first chance curious users and WordPress plugin or theme creators have of taking the upcoming release out for a spin.
There are plenty of new things in WordPress 3.5, standing out is a new media upload and management experience, everything in this department has been rewritten from the ground up.
"The biggest thing we’ve been working on is overhauling the media experience from the ground up. We’ve made it all fair game: How you upload photos, arrange galleries, insert images into posts, and more," WordPress.org wrote
"It’s still rough around the edges and some pieces are missing — which means now is the perfect time to test it out, report issues, and help shape our headline feature," it said.
There are plenty of smaller changes and improvements as well. There's a new simplified welcome screen to greet new users, there's also a new color picker and the dashboard is ready for HiDPI, aka Retina, displays.
On the accessibility front, Wordpress 3.5 comes with better support for both keyboard navigation and screen readers.
It's easier to install plugins now, you'll find those that you've marked as favorite on WordPress.org in the dashboard and you'll be able to install them from there as well.
Finally, the Link Manager won't be displayed for new installs, meaning one of the traditional blog feature, the link list, won't be made available by default. There's still a plugin for that and you'll still be able to manage your existing lists, but it's still a notable change for old-school bloggers.
WordPress 3.5 Beta 1
is available for download here