This week sees the release of a new version of everyone’s favorite Content Management System. It’s an opportune time to take a look at the new features and improvements we can expect from WordPress 3.4, which is scheduled for release on Tuesday.
Improved Theme Control
One of the improvements to WordPress we are most excited about is the enhanced theme control. The addition of a Theme Customizer and Theme Previewer will put an end to the tweak and preview cycle that past versions of WordPress entailed. The Customizer allows users to make changes to theme options, which are then updated in real-time (or close to it) in the adjacent theme previewer. Changes in the previewer are not made “live” on the site until the user is satisfied with the changes. You can take a look at how this works in the video below.
Better Handling of Custom Headers
One of the more irksome tasks in previous versions of WordPress has been the addition of custom header images. Unless they were exactly the correct size, things did not go well. In version 3.4, themes can be developed with the ability to adapt the image size to the theme header. An additional perk is that header and background images can now be set-up through the Media Library.
The dashboard has seen a host of usability tweaks to make managing a site a little bit more pleasant. Post Formats have been added to the navigation menus, new comments can be made from within the dashboard, rather than just replies to already existing comments, and performance improvements to the recent comments widget will make it work much better with blogs that get a large number of comments.
The WordPress developers have also fixed an annoyance in the way WordPress handled image captions. It will now be possible to use HTML within the image caption field, allowing for much easier control of the formatting and layout of captions.
Developers will find something to like with the addition of various jQuery treats, including the Touch Punch plug-in to improve user experience on mobile devices, and updates XML-RPC and various other libraries including PHPMailer and TinyMCE.
These are only a few of the many improvements that have been made. Take a look at a comprehensive list of the changes coming in WordPress 3.4, and let us know what you are most looking forward to in the comments below or on Twitter.