Last week, WordPress officially released version 4.0 of WP. I’d actually read some pre-release comments from those that had previewed it beforehand. The reviews were actually not all that enthusiastic. And indeed, after installing this latest version of WordPress, I’ll admit that if you’re expecting a complete revamp (this being a new, left of the decimal numbered release) you may be disappointed. There isn’t a vast difference from version 3.9. However, that doesn’t mean there haven’t been improvements added. In fact, some of the new features are quite good and useful. Here’s a look at the major enhancements with WordPress 4.0.
The new media library grid has a nicer look to it. And clicking on an image will bring up the details screen where you can see a fuller size image and access/edit the media information (title, caption, alt text, description).
While I personally don’t do a lot of video and social media embedding in my posts and pages, those that do will love the new embed features that let you easily add items like videos and tweets. I’ve been trying it out and it works great. Just remember, you need to copy and paste in the URL of your YouTube video—not the embed code.
This one might be my favorite feature in WordPress 4.0. Like most WP site owners, I spend a great deal of time working in the WordPress editor. But it isn’t always easy to maneuver around while editing and adding to your post. The editing area has now been expanded. And even better, the editing area will now expand to fit content that you add to your post or page—with your formatting tools remaining available at the top!
New Plugin Browser
The plugin browser is now more user-friendly looking. When you click the Add New button on the plugin section, the new browser appears. It’s similar to the improvements WP has made to the Themes browser. From the plugin browser, you can now see a description of the plugin, its rating, number of downloads, last update date, and compatibility with your current version of WordPress.
Under the Hood
And, of course there are some new improvements made under the hood for developers.
- More controls supported in the Customizer API
- More flexibility in Query Ordering
- Updated TinyMCE, jQuery, and Media Elements libraries
After installing WordPress 4.0 and testing it out a bit, I have to give it a thumbs up and say the group at WP did some good work. While it might not be as big a jump as most major software upgrade releases, the new features make WordPress even more convenient to use, and the best content management system for many types of websites.