WordPress 3.5 “Elvin” Launches With A Completely New Media Manager, Retina Support, Responsive Default Theme

WordPress just launched version 3.5 of its self-hosted blogging and CMS platform. This new version, called “Elvin” in honor of drummer Elvin Jones, mostly changes how WordPress users interact with images and includes a number of smaller tweaks to various other parts of the application, too.

The first thing you will notice after the update is the new image uploader. WordPress says working with the new image management system is “a beautifully simple experience.” In the announcement, WordPress and Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg says that “media has long been a friction point and we’ve listened hard and given a lot of thought into crafting this new system.”

The reality, however, is that this change takes quite a bit of getting used to. Here at TechCrunch, we’ve been using the new version for a bit now and even though most of us have gotten used to the new media manager, it often feels like it takes an extra click or two to do basic things like adding featured images to a post.

One thing the new media manager definitely gets right is the new workflow for creating galleries. This used to be a major pain point, but is now significantly easier thanks to drag-and-drop reordering, inline caption editing, and simplified controls.

Here is a brief run-through of what the new image workflow looks like in WordPress 3.5:

[wpvideo jQDfEbzZ w=400 h=224]

Also new in this version are refreshed styles for the dashboard and a new color picker. The whole admin area has now also been updated to look good on high-resolution Retina displays.

In addition, WordPress is using this launch to introduce its newest default theme, Twenty Twelve. The new theme, writes Mullenweg, “has a very clean mobile-first responsive design and works fantastic as a base for a CMS site.”

The new version, of course, also comes with a number of new features for developers. You can find a full list of those changes here.