With the latest version of WordPress just arriving, version 3.4, I’m sure people who are using the self-hosted version of WordPress are interested to know what is included with this update. Along with the usual bug fixes, included are many improvements and additions that will benefit both designers, developers and end users. Let’s take a look and see why.
Web Designers who primarily design custom WordPress themes will be happy to know that the custom headers are now even more customizable. Previously, the height and width of the custom headers had to be a specific dimension. With version 3.4, the size of the custom headers are now flexible and the header image files can now be kept in the Media Library. Background page images are also customizable in this version. Another new feature that designers will enjoy is the Live Theme Customizer. If you happen to sell custom themes or have clients that like to customize and edit their themes, then the Live Theme Customizer will definitely be a feature you’ll want to employ into your work.
Web Developers should also get a kick out of the new version of WordPress too. The new upgrades/features that intrigue me most as a developer are :
- Better page template organization. In the previous version (3.3.2), page templates had to be kept in the main theme’s folder. Now page templates can be kept in separate folder (within the theme folder) for better organizing.
- Updated internal functions and classes for browser targeting (specifically for Internet Explorer versions 7, 8 & 9)
- The theme installer now supports child themes
- Updates to WordPress’ external libraries (jQuery, jQuery UI, SimplePie, PHPMailer, TinyMCE and hoverIntent)
What sets WordPress apart from other CMS’s is the amount of attention devoted to the end user. Here are some new features that the end user will no doubt appreciate and most likely start using right away:
- Adding HTML like bold/italic text and hyperlinks to image captions. (This was a long overdue feature)
- Embedding Twitter tweets into your blog post or page. Previously a plugin was need to accomplish this but now it’s built in!
- Posting comments to a specific post or page while in the editor. Comments were able to be added while only in the front end of the website. Now they can be added in the back end.
Last but not least is the biggest enhancement in WordPress 3.4. The core performance of WordPress, specifically the WP_Query function has been greatly improved. Pages and posts now load up to 2-3 times faster than before, on the front end and back end. This speed increase was the very first thing I noticed after upgrading to 3.4 and I’m sure others noticed it too.
More technical details about the new version can be found here. Also, here is a video from WordPress about the new features of WordPress 3.4: