WordPress 4.4 is shaping up into quite an exciting release. It has lots of new features that will make things easier for both bloggers and developers.
According to WordPress.org, here are some of the new features that most developers are looking forward to in WordPress 4.4.
Embed Your WordPress Posts On Other Sites
As Pascal Birchler writes, WordPress has been allowing users to embed content from other sites, but imagine that you could embed your WordPress posts on other sites? Now that will be a reality when WordPress becomes an oEmbed provider as well as a consumer.
This function will allow any any oEmbed consumer to embed posts from WordPress sites. Now, when you want to refer to another WordPress post, instead of just providing a link, you will be able to embed the post itself.
To enhance security, embeds will appear within a sandboxed iframe that can be styled or replaced entirely by the theme on the provider site.
As I wrote in the post here, WordPress users had to install responsive image plugins that use the srcset attribute, which is fully supported by most modern mobile devices. This is a proposed attribute for the <img> element that would let you specify alternate versions of a file to download.
Joe McGill notes that WordPress 4.4 will add native responsive image support by including srcset and sizes attributes to the image markup it generates. So you will no longer have to install a plugin to make your images adapt to mobile screens.
“By including the available sizes of an image into a srcset attribute, browsers can now choose to download the most appropriate size and ignore the others —potentially saving bandwidth and speeding up page load times in the process.”
As a safeguard against adding very large images to srcset attributes, the developers have included a max_srcset_image_width filter, which allows themes to set a maximum image width for images include in source set lists. The default value is 1600px.
The addition of responsive images to core WordPress is a huge relief for all users who were facing issues with adapting their images, so mobile users could view them easily. It will make a big difference to user experience, especially in terms of page speed.
Whether this will work for plugins like WP Touch, remains to be seen. Right now, WP Touch only offers responsive images as an extension to premium users of their plugin.
REST API Infrastructure Introduction
This is great news for WordPress developers. As Ryan McCue notes, WordPress 4.4 will make it possible for everyone to build RESTful APIs in a much easier fashion, which will benefit people building custom APIs for their site.
The infrastructure handles the routing, argument handling, JSON serialisation/deserialisation, status codes, and all the other REST stuff.
The API comes in two parts: infrastructure and endpoints. In 4.4, the infrastructure is now available as part of core, while the endpoints continue to only be available in the plugin. Client authors can make sure sites they want to work with have the WP API plugin installed, which isn’t a change from the current state.
New Classy and Strong Comment Object
As Rachel Baker reports, WordPress 4.4 is a rebuilding release and the comments system is much improved under the hood. If you’re still using the native function for comments on your WordPress site, this will impact you.
If, on the other hand, you took my advice and installed Facebook comments, it shouldn’t make any difference to you.
More Semantic Headings On The Admin Screens
Andrea Fercia reports that WordPress 4.4 aims to fix the fact that the headings hierarchy in the admin screens have been setup without careful thought.
This change was mainly focused on helping those users of assistive technologies such as screen readers. Users of assistive technologies use headings as the predominant mechanism for finding page information.
When heading levels are skipped, it’s more likely for these users to be confused or experience difficulty navigating pages. It’s extremely important for WordPress to provide a correct headings hierarchy, ensuring no headings levels are skipped.
If you’re a plugin or theme author and you’re providing custom admin screens for settings, it’s important that your plugin screens should start with a H1. Make sure you update your custom admin screens to follow the proper heading structure.
Multisite Focused Changes
Jeremy Felt reports on the changes that were made for multisite installs. Like taxonomy and comments, the multisite features gains a new class, WP_Network. Additionally, there are now *_network_option functions which make it easier to use multiple networks. To read more about the changes, read his post here.
New Default Theme, Twenty Sixteen
Twenty Sixteen, the default theme in WordPress 4.4, is brand new. It is designed to be a fresh take on the traditional blogging format, including a mobile-first approach.
- Multiple menu positions and a social menu.
- Optional sidebar.
- Custom color options and beautiful default color schemes.
- Harmonious fluid grid using mobile-first approach.
- Custom background and header.
- Overflow displaying large images.
- Ability to add intro to post using custom excerpt.
Personally, I can’t wait to see what Twenty Sixteen it looks like!
In addition to all the updates above, developers have made lots of improvements to the Taxonomy component for WordPress 4.4.
What do you think of all these new features and updates in WordPress 4.4? Do let me know in the comments below.