WordPress 3.5 – The good and the bad

WordPress 3.5 "Elvin"

The latest stable WordPress version, named after the famous jazzman Elvin Jones is finally available for download. The star of the show is named "Media Manager" - the completely revamped tool for adding multimedia and organising it into galleries is both the best and the worst thing in the latest WordPress release.

The bright side of life

The new Media ManagerThe admin backend of WordPress has received some polishing - buttons look shinier than ever and all the icons are now Retina display ready, which means they have a lot more pixels stuck into them. As I mentioned in this post intro, however, the main thing is called Media Manager. Once you hit the Add Media button to add a photo to your post, you will notice the changes. It looks and feels much better than the previous tool we had for upload, sorting and inserting of images into our posts. Finally, there is a quick, easy and visual way to create and insert galleries. You can now sort the images with simple drag-and-drop, choose which ones to be inserted into the gallery, without having to exclude them in the HTML mode(now called Text mode by the way), which is a great improvement for those of us who use image galleries on a regular basis.

The dark side of the moon

The greatest improvement in WordPress 3.5, however, is the one to blame for the majority of issues that users experience in this version. The most common problem, reported by so many in the WordPress forums is that the Add Media button simply doesn't work. The reason behind most of these issues is called jQuery. For quite some time the people behind WordPress are trying to make developers of themes and plugins use jQuery in a correct, safe and risk-free way. Developers, on the other hand love to hardcode, include old versions of the popular JavaScript library and so on. Usually, this doesn't generate much issues but in the latest versions, the media manager simply stops working, which is really, really bad.

I've been doing a lot of testing today and it turned out that the best course of action if you experience issues with the Media Manager is as follows:

  1. Make sure that you haven't disabled the visual editor for your username. You can do that from Users -> All Users -> Edit button under your username -> Uncheck the "Disable the visual editor when writing" option.
  2. Change your theme to Twenty Twelve (the new default theme introduced by WordPress 3.5). If this solves your issue, then you should check your theme. Most probably it is loading some JavaScript files or even an entire version of jQuery in its functions.php file. In addition, you can contact your theme developer for assistance.
  3. If all of the above doesn't help, then try disabling your plugins one by one and test the Add Media button after each. If it starts working after a certain plugin is disabled, then it's certain that it is causing the problem. Keep it disabled and start enabling the others you've previously stopped. Check if the Media Manager is working after each plugin is enabled since there may be issues in more than one. Once you pinpoint which one is problematic, contact its developers in order to receive assistance.

In addition, take a look at this thread in the official WordPress forum dedicated to the Media Manager problems since it covers more specific cases that may cause troubles.

The panoramic view

All in all, WordPress 3.5 is a great upgrade. It fixes a lot of usability issues and core bugs, adds functionality and helps you produce better and more organised websites. This, however, comes at a cost. Theme and plugin developers will be forced to start writing their code in a more clean and standardised manner. Although that's good for the WordPress application in general, that will cause problems for a lot of users. Hopefully, these issues will be soon fixed and forgotten!

Product Development - Technical

Enthusiastic about all Open Source applications you can think of, but mostly about WordPress. Add a pinch of love for web design, new technologies, search engine optimisation and you are pretty much there!


  1. Reply December 14, 2012 / 17:15 Rahim HankinSiteGround Team

    The add media seems to work ok for me. I didn't realise so many others having been having problems. Perhaps because I'm hosted with wordpress?

    • Reply December 17, 2012 / 01:26 HristoSiteGround Team

      No, it doesn't matter 🙂 Whether you will experience issues or not depends on the theme and plugins that you're using.

  2. Reply December 16, 2012 / 21:51 GregSiteGround Team

    Thanks for the info wish I read it first before upgrading though. My theme casual free from obox-design has the add media issue. Also the switch to text button doesn't work which is more of an issue for me for formatting my posts.

    • Reply December 17, 2012 / 01:24 HristoSiteGround Team

      My advice is to check your functions.php file. You cans earch for lines like this:

      wp_enqueue_script("jquery-ui", "link-to-sopme-script.js", false, "1.0");

      You can then try making it work only for the front end with a simple check:

      if ( !is_home() )
      wp_enqueue_script("jquery-ui", "link-to-sopme-script.js", false, "1.0");

      There is no guarantee that would help but it's worth trying. You may need to do it for several scripts since there can be more than one interfering with the backend 🙂

  3. Reply December 19, 2012 / 13:26 FlorSiteGround Team

    I had issues, but adding define('CONCATENATE_SCRIPTS', false ); in the wp-config.php fixed it!

    I didn't really like this new version, I don't need to look the whole media library everytime I send photos to a post...

  4. Reply December 20, 2012 / 05:26 Ed RivisSiteGround Team

    The solution (that's worked on all my sites so far) is to install a plugin called "Use Google Libraries" - that seems to fix the problem and make the buttons work once again.

    Hope this helps you too.

    • Reply December 23, 2012 / 10:15 Lynda LippinSiteGround Team

      Thanks Ed! That worked for me.

    • Reply February 13, 2013 / 02:34 Filman SantiagoSiteGround Team

      Hi Ed, I tried installing Use Google Libraries but still, the add media button is still not working.

      Any quick fix advise? thanks

    • Reply July 27, 2013 / 02:08 Jonathan CooperSiteGround Team

      Thanks, Ed, 'Use Google Libraries' worked for me, too. I was pretty sure none of the other suggestions would apply to me, because I'd only just created my WP site, using the latest version (3.5.2) and the default 'Twenty Twelve' theme.

  5. Reply March 8, 2013 / 07:40 RachelSiteGround Team

    I've tried all the above and everything else. It simply does NOT work.

    WordPress developers have a habit of throwing up a piece of garbage that doesn't work for most of the time it's up. Then they finally fix it and throw up a newer piece of garbage that also doesn't work.

    I have finally given up with WP once and for all and am transferring all my sites to Blogger, where I have never had any issues.

    I have honestly never understood why so many people think WP is an amazing piece of software. It's not. It doesn't work more than it does and then when you do get it working, things that were working before suddenly stop working.

    I will never use WP again after this as I've lost far too much money messing with a second-rate piece of junk.

  6. Reply March 20, 2013 / 01:42 RonSiteGround Team

    If you start to face many issues with WP try Joomla so far, you will get less stress.

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