What's new in WordPress 4.0

WordPress hits the big 4-0, offering, in their own words, ‘Seamless, content-first publishing.’
If you were expecting a major new version of WordPress, you’ll be disappointed. The new features in WordPress 4.0 ‘Benny’ are certainly welcome, but are just an incremental upgrade from 3.9 rather than a brand new piece of software. And that’s a good thing, because it means there’s no great learning curve to get over like there often is in major software upgrades.

Intuitive editing

When working with content in WordPress, one of my bugbears has always been that if you have a long page the editing controls move out of sight and if you’re at the bottom of a long tract of text and you want to use a button in the content editor, you had to scroll all the way up to the top to find it, and then your content went out of sight. Annoying.
But that’s fixed in 4.0. As you scroll up and down, the toolbar stays firmly in place to give you constant access to the tools you are likely to need.

Seamless media embeds

Another annoyance that 4.0 has removed is the fact you couldn’t see embedded media in the editor. You just got a grey box to show it was there. Now you can see embedded videos, tweets, etc, right in the content editor making it much easer to see how your page will look.

New media manager

Browsing images has become a much more pleasant experience with the updates to the media manager. Now showing pictures in a bottomless grid format, and a detail window in which you can scroll through media, and play video and audio, again makes handling your media a much more efficient process.

For admins

The visual overhaul of the plugin browser will delight admins who are regularly looking through the plugin catalogue and all reviews are now baked in to the browser so you don’t need to leave your site to read them. And very nice it looks too.

For developers

  • Customiser API – wider array of control available for the customiser panel
  • Query ordering – more flexibility when ordering queries
  • Updated libraries – TinyMCE 4.1.3, jQuery 1.11.1, MediaElement 2.15