The boffins at WordPress.Org have been working hard on their latest creation titled ‘Pepper’ after the late jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III. The beta version of WordPress 4.6, was released back in June this year. Since then, no less than 3 further beta iterations had been made to obtain community feedback and help iron out the bugs. While not a major change to the current platform (Version 4.5.3), the final release of WordPress 4.6 promised many new user centric features and core enhancements which make updating all the more worthwhile.
On August 16th WordPress released its final version of 4.6 titled 'Pepper' to the public. With further input set to come from the millions of users of the platform we anticipate that a few more minor releases may follow.
Our own WordPress developers at The Digital Embassy have been following this release, and contributing input to the WordPress community as required. While many of the changes are developer focused, most will enhance the user experience and provide benefits in security, workflow and speed.
Below are just some of the features to expect with this latest edition. The full release notes are available here.
Shiny Updates v2
Shiny Updates now replaces progress updates, or what WordPress referrers to as The Bleak Screen of Sadness™. These updates are designed to provide a simple and more use centric experience when installing, updating, and deleting plugins and themes. Rather than disrupting users workflows Shiny Updates are designed to deal with these details behind the scenes, leaving users with clear actions and results.
WordPress claims these new features will suit the majority of users in an effort to simplify the user experience by removing the display of technical steps which it considers unnecessary. Actions will no longer require the page to reload each time creating a simpler, and faster workflow experience. For users, one big change they will notice will be with search, which now incorporates AJAX on both the Installed Plugins screen as well as the Add New Plugin screen. This means the search results will change as you type, drastically simplifying your workflow and providing a much more intuitive user experience.
Support for Native Fonts in the Administration area
Since WordPress switched to Open Sans in version 3.8 at the end of 2013, the landscape has evolved when it comes to the state of typography. Today, the majority of WordPress users are now on devices that support a much broader range of system fonts for their user interface. These font’s load faster, have enhanced language support, and help make web apps display in a similar way to native apps. By using the same font that the user’s device does, WordPress appears more familiar and consistent to the user as a result.
Editor Improvements with an autosave and link checker
The new WordPress post editor improvements featured in version 4.6 have been introduced to provide users with more reliable recovery mode or autosave functionality in the editor, as well as support for live detection of broken URLs while you type. This means that as soon as you add a link, the system will automatically confirm if the link is valid or not.
Import Screen Redevelopment
The Import Screen has been completely redeveloped to improve accessibility and making it much easier to install and run an importer.
WordPress 4.6 now improves the way translations are loaded for plugins and themes which are hosted in the WordPress Plugin and Theme Directory. The latest version of the platform now scans the ‘wp-content/languages’ directory for available translations and automatically loads them if it encounters a text domain for the first time.
Emoji support has been updated to incorporate all of the latest Unicode 9.0 emoji characters.
Test before updating to WordPress 4.6
While many of the changes in WordPress 4.6 take place in the background, it will be important to test your plugins, themes, and sites with WordPress 4.6 using a staging environment before updating to the latest release. Remember, a few hours of testing can save you many hours, or even days of frustration and wasted development cost later.
If you have a WordPress website and would like expert assistance with updating to the latest 4.6 version be sure to contact our HelpDesk support team.
About The Digital Embassy
The Digital Embassy™ is an Australian Google and Microsoft Certified Partner leading clients through the digital experience. As ambassadors for best practice in web design and evidence based digital marketing we employ local industry certified personnel to help brands increase consumer engagement and reduce advertising costs.
Our core competencies lie in Digital Strategy, Responsive Website Design, Mobile App Development, Content Marketing and Production, Inbound Digital Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), AdWords campaigns, Web Hosting, Support and Training.
The Digital Embassy™ is a pre-qualified ICT service provider for Government in SA, VIC and NSW.