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What’s New in WordPress Version 4.0

Led by Helen Hou-Sandi and named after Benny Goodman – an American musician known as “The King of Swing” – WordPress 4.0 has arrived! But before you go getting overly excited about the big “4.0”, you’d better be forewarned: in the world of WordPress, contrary to common thinking, full-integer version names don’t necessarily correlate to massive new releases with ground-breaking new functionality. Whilst still an absolutely fantastic new release with a heap of welcome new-and-improved features, like 3.7, 3.8 and 3.9, etc, WordPress 4.0 is simply another iteration in the series. This time around, WordPress 4.0 is all about improving the users experience of creating, managing and publishing content. Let’s delve in for a deeper look at what’s new:

New Language Options on Install

Ever needed WordPress in another language, from now on you can choose your preferred language upon install – via a handy new language chooser that appears before the usual welcome screen. Once selected, the rest of the install process and the WordPress backend will then be in the language you’ve chosen.

WordPress Language Chooser Screenshot

Interested in reading more on the new language chooser – here’s one from the developers.

Seamless Media Embeds

Arguably a bit overdue, WordPress 4.0 brings the ability to seamlessly embed media with absolute ease. Looking to post a YouTube video – or maybe a tweet perhaps? Simply paste in the URL! Best of all, the editor now shows a live preview of your embedded content!

Embeding a Tweet Screenshot

For a list of all currently supported media, consult the Official Codex Embeds page.

A Smoother Content Editing Experience

Ever written a long post in WordPress and been bothered by having to scroll all the way back up to the top of the page to find the publishing options (such as ‘Publish’, ‘Categories’, ‘Tags’, etc) located in the sidebar? Well, not any longer, because thanks to this new update the sidebar now moves down with you as you scroll down the page.

Auto-Scrolling Sidebar Screenshot

…a pretty small improvement for sure, but hey… a nice one nonetheless.

Plus, from now on the editing window will automatically expand to fit your content and the above-editor formatting toolbar will now stick to the top of the editing window as you scroll down for easier access!

Media-Library Enhancements

One of the larger changes in WordPress 4.0, in addition to a infinitely-scrolling media library, there’s also a brand new details-view for each media file – accessible by clicking on one of the thumbnails shown in the library: thereby making editing files in a whole lot easier!

New Media Details View

Note the ‘previous’ and ‘next’ arrows in the top right corner that allow you to shuffle through each if your media files in sequence.

A New Plugin Browser

Last but not least on our list is the new plugin browser. Plugins are a huge deal in WordPress – giving users an absolutely vast array of new functionality to choose from. However, choosing which plugins to install isn’t easy: something WordPress 4.0 aims to set about simplifying with an improved plugin search, and an attractive new interface displaying thumbnail images and important metrics (such as ratings and the number of downloads, etc, etc). What’s more, clicking on any one of the plugins displayed will now show you a series of reviews without taking you away from the window – nice!

WordPress Plugin Browser Screenshot

Note: for a complete list of all that’s new in WordPress 4.0, check out the official version 4.0 codex.

Stay tuned for news and info on WordPress 4.1 (scheduled for release on December 10, 2014) and remember to always backup before updating, just in case something goes awry!

By WinningWP Editorial

Run by Brin Wilson, WinningWP is an award-winning resource for people who use – you guessed it – WordPress. Follow along on Twitter and/or Facebook.
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