The next major version release of WordPress is approaching, the time has come to take a look at the latest changes and improvements to the platform. Of course, this won’t be an exhaustive list, since I will only really be covering changes that will be more apparent to people who regularly log into the admin area. Developers who want to find out how the changes will affect them, might be better off checking out the WordPress development blog.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the newest features and updates:
A small but welcome change, and something we’ve seen built into a few themes by default that now makes its way into WordPress proper is the ability to create your favicon through the Customizer. Simply upload the image (512x512px and up) you would like to use as your favicon, crop it, and you’re ready to go. You’ll get a live preview of the final version as either the browser icon or an app icon in the cropping tool, which will give you plenty of opportunity to fine-tune your favicon.
User passwords tend to be one of the weakest links in website security – with this in mind the password reset screen is earning itself a few improvements. For one, when you arrive at the screen, the password field will automatically be auto-filled with a strong password.
This also affects new user creation – when you create a new user they will receive a password reset link in their e-mail, rather than their password in plain-text. I know the temptation exists to create an easy-to-remember password for most admins, at which point they would need to rely on users to change their passwords on logging in for the first time.
Password resets will also now have a time-limit – meaning that a password recovery link will expire after a period of time.
In order to reduce the amount of clicking around that users need to do when formatting text in the visual editor, certain text patterns will now automatically transform when you type – the most obvious of this being the transformation of text into ordered and unordered lists when starting a line with a number (1,2,3…) or a *-symbol.
This should also improve usability for users making use of the editor on mobile devices.
An inline link toolbar has also been added to the editor – putting your cursor on a link (as pictured below), will open the toolbar containing the URL, as well as an edit and remove button. Clicking on the link in the toolbar will open it in a new tab in your browser, giving you an easier way to check that it’s working.
Most users love seeing comments on their blog posts. But they’re less likely to want to see comments on static pages, which was why needing to manage the comments setting on each additional page you added to your site could be a bit of a pain, even if it was a minor one.
This change will see the default for static pages change to a No Comments setting, while post pages will still have comments enabled.
Perhaps one of the most hotly debated changes in recent times, the release of 4.3 will also see the ability to manage menus through the customizer. It is part of a move by the WordPress development team to push for adoption of the Customizer, a move that was less than well received by a portion of the community – including a couple of notable names in the WordPress community.
The Customizer allows you to preview changes to your site in a live preview before finalizing them, and for the time being you can still manage your menus through the old interface via the admin panel – although there are some indications this feature will be deprecated in some future release.
If you are wondering how this will affect HeroMenu, the short answer is that it won’t, because our menu runs on its own framework and completely replaces the WordPress menu system.
That’s it for the changes coming. At the time of writing, WordPress 4.3 is targeted to drop on the 18th of August, although this might vary based on how development proceeds. We will communicate any changes we pick up via our Twitter feed and Facebook or Google+ pages.
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