WordPress 3.4 was released last week and with it came many improvements for users. But many of these improvements (for most users) will be seen under the hood. That’s right, for most long term users of WordPress, you probably already have your favorite theme and you don’t change it because it works for you. So the biggest addition to WordPress, the Live Preview and Theme Customizer, probably won’t be of much use to you. Also, for developers who build WordPress-powered sites for clients, you probably could care less about the theme customizer… because you’ll be doing all that work for the client and you probably don’t want the client messing with your custom theme… or trying out other themes that will make their site look like junk…. and then they come complaining back to you that their site broke. But because the theme customizer with live preview is such a huge part of WordPress 3.4, let’s show some screenshot.
As you can see, the theme customizer is an attempt by WordPress to provide simplistic editing options while offering the user a live preview of the changes. Now it is true that theme developers can tap into this new theme customizer area and Otto (a WordPress developer) has written a post on how to integrate the theme customizer in your theme. But I’m pretty sure most premium and advanced-free theme developers will keep to their own control/settings panels. This seems to me like trying to put training wheels on a high performance racing vehicle.
Let’s talk about some of the other new features in WordPress 3.4
Now it is easy to embed your “tweets” into WordPress. Simply copy/paste the URL of an individual tweet into your page or post and WordPress will auto-embed the tweet with a rich-set of options and tools integrated right into your site using oEmbed.
There are a number of additional features and modifications in WordPress 3.4 like:
- Lots of header area improvements, like the ability to add custom header images (if you are using the default WordPress header images).
- Add HTML into the image captions. Now the caption field will take HTML so its easier to provide links in the caption area.
- Much better use of page templates. If your theme utilizes custom page templates, you can now organize them into folders because WordPress 3.4 will search through any sub-directory of a theme folder to identify and find page template files.
- HUGE improvements to the WP_Query function that provides a lot of speed improvements.
- Another area that saw some coding improvements was with the XML-RPC protocols and how your WordPress can interact with outside applications trying to use WordPress.
- Post Formats can now be identified and added in the Custom Menus area.
- WordPress also comes with several pre-coded redirects, so that you can visit http://yoursite.com/login, or http://yoursite.com/dashboard, or http://yoursite.com/admin and without a need for a plugin you are directed to the correct location.
What do you think about WordPress 3.4? Do you have a favorite new features? What are your thoughts so far?
And remember, before you upgrade anything on a WordPress site you need to make sure you have a good backup of your site (and preferably a backup that is easy to restore). BackupBuddy is the perfect partner for any WordPress website. Providing you the necessary backup protection along with easy migrations and restorations. Check it out today.