I usually do a review of what is coming in the run up to a release. However, there have been so many blog posts about 3.12 already that I don’t feel I need to go over individual features. If you haven’t read Planet GNOME in a while, now is a good time to check it out: there’s lots of great content on there right now.
It is worth looking at what the individual features in 3.12 add up to though. A release is more than the sum of its parts, and this is especially true of 3.12.
One important thing you will see in 3.12 is that, more and more, GNOME’s core applications are coming together. Videos will look and behave like a GNOME 3 app: it will let you browse your content, and it offers a modern, streamlined viewing experience. gedit has also had the GNOME 3 treatment. It has retained all its existing functionality, but in a more compact interface . Many of the other apps have also matured of course, Software and Web in particular.
The other big news for 3.12 is that a number of significant gaps have been filled in. For a long time people have wanted to be able to manually organise their apps: now they can with the new apps folder feature. We’ve also added functionality to make installing sofware updates easier and more convenient, as well as the addition of wired networking controls to the system status area.
There are also major developments in the developer space, with the new notifications API, new GTK+ widgets, new capabilities for launching processes, and improved documentation. I think that 3.12 is probably our strongest for developers in a long time.
Finally, and for me perhaps most significantly, 3.12 looks set to be the best quality release so far. Signs of ongoing improvements are everywhere. There are performance gains for startup and (hopefully) memory usage, the theme and animations in the shell has been refined in quite a few subtle ways, high-resolution display support has been extended, and a great many bugs have been fixed. As each release comes and goes, GNOME 3 gets better and better, and 3.12 is no exception.
There’s plenty more that I could mention about this release, of course, and the release notes will provide full details, but what is important is the progress that GNOME is making. 3.12 feels like another significant upgrade, and is another release where it feels like things are coming together more and more.
 The other day I did a quick comparison, and found that the chrome in the new version is around 60 pixels shorter than before. That’s an impressive space saving, and makes the app much more focused on what you are editing.