WordPress is entering the final testing phases ahead of the release of the next major version.
Andrew Nacin, the lead developer for WordPress, has announced that the first Release Candidate version (RC1) of WordPress 3.4 is now available for testing purposes, although Nacin urges website owners not to use it on publicly accessible websites at this point.
The purpose of a release candidate is so that webmasters and developers can test their themes and plugins against the new version and, if any incompatibilities are discovered, to report them back to WordPress ahead of the final release.
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Website owners should also remember to back up their files and databases before performing any upgrades to their content management system.