Although at first look your update or new install of WordPress will feel pretty much the same as it has for the past year or so there are a number of updates that will make your life easier and allow WordPress to function better.
The first thing that you are likely to notice when you upgrade to WP 3.1 is the frontend Administration Bar. This feature will allow you to jump back and forth between the frontend and the backend of WP to manage your site and write posts.
If you don’t like the Admin Bar you can turn it off in your profile by unchecking the Show Admin Bar When Viewing Site option.
When you start digging into your new install you may notice that many options have disappeared when you are writing posts. They are still available and all you need to do is go to the Screen Options settings to turn them back on.
Internal Post Linking is now much faster when you want to make a link to one of your other posts simply highlight the word you want to make into a link then from the visual editor click the link button. When the dialog pops up you will see a option at the bottom Or Link To Existing Content You will be provided with a list of your posts or you can search for posts to link to.
Posts Formats is a new feature for theme developers. It is similar to post types if you have worked with them but instead of building your own type you will be able to assign which of the Formats you want to use in your theme and then assign a post to that format when you publish it. There are 9 different predefined formats that you can use and unfortunately you can’t add more formats this is because of Storage, Backup and other use considerations … basically they want to keep it to a short list that is exchangeable. See Post Formats.
Import and Export added function has been provided when importing and exporting your content.
Advanced Queries will allow you to display your content better for your visitors
Custom Post Types like the Post Formats has been given a cleanup.
Unfortunately there have been so many improvements and added features that covering them all in one post is not really possible but in the next few weeks we will cover some of the more important ones in additional posts.
This is a major developer update and not a security update so it should be tested with your theme on a development site before you upgrade your public site.
We have found the changes did not effect our site’s theme layout adversely.
For more information check the WordPress.org 3.1 Feature List Page