Every new version of WordPress comes with its own set of new additions, changes and features. When it comes to major releases, the changes and features are more pronounced.
It is only a matter of time before the latest version of WordPress, that is, WordPress 4.5, will be with us. And much like all other major releases of WordPress, this one too comes with a whole new set of features and updates.
So, what new stuff does WordPress 4.5 bring to the table? In this article, we discuss all that is coming in WordPress 4.5
WordPress 4.5 — What Will it Bring To The Table?
The major changes can be summed up in two broad heads: Customization and Editing, and I will be addressing them as such.
1. Live Responsive Previews
The Theme Customizer has been around for quite a while now, and the biggest advantage that it serves is that it allows us to have a live preview of how our website is going to look with a certain theme. We can preview the typography, colors, images, backgrounds, sidebars and widgets, and a lot more, before actually hitting Save and making the theme live.
That said, there is a lot that the Theme Customizer does not yet show us: for example, responsiveness of a given WordPress theme. Nowadays, almost all good WordPress themes are responsive, simply because mobile devices are becoming extremely common. Of course, you can check the responsiveness of your theme by resizing your browser itself, but will it not be cool if the Theme Customizer could help you in this?
Well, help is at hand, because starting WordPress 4.5, the Theme Customizer will allow you to have live responsive previews — you can check the responsiveness of the active theme that you are tweaking, and also view how it will look across different devices and screen resolutions, such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The concept is pretty simple: on any page in the Customizer, you can simply select the icon for the device that you wish to check your theme for, and the preview will automatically respond accordingly.
2. Custom Logos
Custom logos are hardly a new term or concept for WordPress users. In fact, any WordPress theme worth its name, be it free or premium, offers support for custom logos wherein you can upload your logo in place of showing the site title in text.
Starting WordPress 4.5, you can now have native support for custom logos built within WordPress itself. In other words, you can just head over to the Site Identity section of your Theme Customizer, and upload a custom logo therein, without having to worry about any other settings or compatibility issues. Twenty Fifteen and Twenty Sixteen, the last two default WordPress themes, have also been updated to support custom logos via the Site Identity section of the Theme Customizer.
1. New Formatting Shortcuts
WordPress 4.5 now comes with formatting shortcuts that let you create, among other things, lists and headings. You can make use of horizontal lines and <code> to accomplish the needful.
For example, say you wish to type something as code. Now, all you need to do is type it as `code` and WordPress will take care of the rest. No third-party formatting plugin will be required.
Similarly, **bold** will create bold text.
Formatting shortcuts in themselves have been around for quite a while by now. These were introduced first in WordPress 4.3, as a time-saving measure.
Naturally, for folks who work primarily via their keyboards, or have to deal with large amounts of text and formatting, such inline formatting shortcuts can be a real advantage, especially because you can save a great deal of time and efforts by relying on such shortcuts.
As a result, it is fairly obvious that this particular feature of WordPress 4.5 will prove to be highly useful.
2. Inline Link Editing
This is yet another shortcut that can prove to be really helpful. Basically, using Ctrl+K in the post editor will allow you to add inline links to your content. Once again, this shortcut is not a new innovation, and has been around for quite a while.
So, what’s the big deal?
Well, so far, hitting Ctrl+K in the post editor would show the link editing popup, which was slightly distracting for some users. However, now in WordPress 4.5, the Ctrl+K shortcut will just show a serene inline menu, wherein you can simply type the link text and then proceed with further editing or writing. That is it — no popups, no annoying nags or buttons.
If, however, you wish to tweak further, the Settings button in the inline link menu will take you to the routine or standard link popup, and you can then provide further options for your link (such as, opening the link in a new window, etc.)
Improvements and Changes Related to Development
WordPress 4.5 comes with certain other additions and features, which are, as usual, labelled as “Under the Hood”, because these pertain to the development side of things and are otherwise not directly affecting the frontend. Here is a quick run-down, with links to relevant threads on Make WordPress, just in case you wish to learn more about a given feature:
- Smart Image Resizing: In WordPress 4.5, generated or resized images can now load up to 50% faster, without negatively affecting the quality of images. More info.
- Selective Refresh: The Theme Customizer now comes with a new framework, that lets you render part of the preview without having to load or refresh the whole preview — this will save your time as well as website resources as the same preview will not have to be loaded again and again. More info.
- Embed Templates: Embed templates are now written in parts, and your themes can now directly override them using the template hierarchy. More info.
- Improvements in Script Loader: wp_add_inline_script () now lets you add extra code to registered scripts. This provides better support for script header/footer dependencies. More info.
WordPress 4.5 surely seems to be an impressive release of WordPress, and it comes packed and loaded with several features. More importantly, the set of features and changes in this new release of WordPress are appearing to be more catering towards usability and usefulness, such as the role of keyboard shortcuts in editing or the live preview of responsiveness in the Theme Customizer.
And before I forget, WordPress 4.5 now also allows you to login via either your username, or your registered email address. If you have a keen eye for detail, you might notice this very small change on the login screen:
Over To You
If you wish to give it a spin, you can try the RC-2 version of WordPress 4.5 right away, even before the stable release is shipped. For that, you will need to install the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, and then run the WordPress Update for the latest version of WordPress. Of course, it is highly recommended to give such pre-release versions a spin only on your test setups or unimportant websites. Production sites should never be used for testing non-stable versions of the software.
What do you think of WordPress 4.5? Share your views in the comments below!