WordPress 3.7 is out and while it may not look all that different, we’re all better off for it. There’s an excellent article on Post Status about the update, so I won’t go into too much detail but there are some exciting changes in this newest update.

Automatic (and seamless) Background Updating

WordPress now comes with background updating out of the box. This is a wonderful new feature and something that I’ve been eagerly anticipating for a while. I hate going through all of my WordPress sites and manually backing things up, and updating each site one by one. It may seem a trivial task, but if you have more than one or two WordPress sites it can be a real time sucker.

This automatic background updating comes with a few caveats, however. For example, by default it will only update to security releases (eg: 3.7.0 to 3.7.1) and it will not automatically update to a new version (eg: 3.7 to 3.8). This is for fairly obvious reasons such as, WordPress doesn’t want to be responsible for breaking your damn site. However if you feel like living on the wild side, you’re free to add the following to your wp-config.php.

define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', true );

That tells WordPress to go ahead and throw caution to the wind and just update the damn core while it’s updating everything else! Note that I don’t recommend this on a clients site. If it’s your own site, then whatever. That’s your prerogative.

You can also do some cool things like auto updating (many, but not all) plugins and themes using auto_update_theme and auto_update_plugin. But you can read more about that in the Codex.

Better Search Functionality

WordPress search has (historically) sucked pretty hard. Don’t get me wrong, it works…alright…sometimes. Essentially up until now it’s been ranked more on publish date than post relevance. All of that has changed with Basie and we’re finally going to be seeing better search. This is super important for sites that have a ton of content, so an updated search feature is more than welcome.

I’ve been tossing around the idea recently of a plugin for extending the search to query the database asynchronously and provide on page results without loading a new page, ala Google Instant Search. Generally you don’t want your search pages indexed anyway. It may be out of my immediate wheelhouse but I may give it a go anyway.

But that’s not all, folks!

While those are the two features I’m most excited about, there are a ton of new and improved things in Basie like an improved password meter, better language packs, improved inline documentation and so much more. You can read more about everything at Post Status, as I mentioned above.