On December 8, 2015, WordPress Version 4.4, named for jazz musician Clifford Brown, was released to the public. It is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.4 make your site more connected and responsive. WordPress 4.4 as expected comes with a new default theme and some other great features. In this article, I will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.4, and which features you should try out after updating your websites.
Important! Don’t forget to create a complete WordPress backup before starting the update.
Introducing Twenty Sixteen
In 2010, WordPress 3.0 came with a new default theme Twenty Ten. Since then, each year WordPress releases a new theme.
As the last release of 2015, WordPress 4.4 comes with a brand new Twenty Sixteen default theme. Here is how it looks:
Twenty Sixteen is a modernized take on an ever-popular WordPress layout — the horizontal masthead with an optional right sidebar that works perfectly for blogs and websites. It has custom color options with beautiful default color schemes, a harmonious fluid grid using a mobile-first approach, and impeccable polish in every detail. Twenty Sixteen will make your WordPress look beautiful everywhere.
Responsive Images Out Of The Box
WordPress now takes a smarter approach to displaying appropriate image sizes on any device, ensuring a perfect fit every time. You don’t need to do anything to your theme, it just works.
WordPress will load an appropriate image based on user’s device and screen size. This is done by adding native “srcset” and “sizes” support to WordPress.
The images that you upload will be automatically cropped to different sizes, and the user’s browser will serve an appropriate size.
Now you can embed your posts on other WordPress sites. Simply drop a post URL into the editor and see an instant embed preview, complete with the title, excerpt, and featured image if you’ve set one. We’ll even include your site icon and links for comments and sharing.
In addition to post embeds, WordPress 4.4 also adds support for five new oEmbed providers: Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck, and VideoPress.
Under The Hood Improvements
The best thing about WordPress is that it can be easily extended with plugins and has thousands of themes that you can use.
WordPress 4.4 brings some exciting changes and improvements for developers. This means that you can expect more features and updates from your favorite WordPress plugins.
- REST API infrastructure
Infrastructure for the REST API has been integrated into core, marking a new era in developing with WordPress. The REST API gives developers an easy way to build and extend RESTful APIs on top of WordPress.
Infrastructure is the first part of a multi-stage rollout for the REST API. Inclusion of core endpoints is targeted for an upcoming release. To get a sneak peek of the core endpoints, and for more information on extending the REST API, check out the official WordPress REST API plugin.
- WP_Network for Multisites
There are many under the hood improvements for multisite networks in WordPress 4.4. Most important one is the introduction of
WP_Network class. It provides a better way to handle multisites and fixes several bugs. (#31985)
- Term meta
- Term, comment, and network objects
WP_Network objects make interacting with terms, comments, and networks more predictable and intuitive in code.
- Comment query improvements
Comment queries now have cache handling to improve performance. New arguments in
WP_Comment_Query make crafting robust comment queries simpler.
Comment form output is now changed to display the comment textarea first and then name, email, and URL fields. (#29974)
I hope this article gave you a good overview of what’s new in WordPress 4.4. I am particularly excited about responsive images, improved embeds and the change in comment box. What are you excited about?
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