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WordPress 4.5 is About to Launch: Here are the Highlights

WordPress buttonsWordPress 4.5 is scheduled for release on April 12.

As is true of most development projects, WordPress releases “major” changes using a new whole number. (The next major update will be WordPress 5.0.) They designate planned, incremental changes with the first number following the decimal point, in this case 4.5. Bug fixes and security updates add another decimal, like 4.5.1.

So, this is an incremental update with a few “wow” factor changes. Here’s what you can expect.

Changes in the Customizer

Responsive Preview: You’ll now be able to see a responsive live preview in the customizer. In the lower right-hand corner, the customizer will display three icons. You’ll be able to choose to see a desktop preview, or see what the site looks like on a tablet or a phone.

Logo Support: Up until now, your ability to upload a custom logo has been theme dependent. With WordPress 4.5, that functionality is moving to the WordPress core. Your theme designer still needs to support it, and when they do you’ll be able to upload a custom site logo in the customizer.

Changes in the Editor

Since most WordPress users spend more time creating content than anything else, improvements to the Visual Editor are always appreciated.

New Shortcodes: You’ll be able to use some new shortcodes to make writing or editing faster. For example:

  • Place asterisks on both sides of text that you want to italicize *like this*
  • Place double asterisks on both sides to make it bold **like this**
  • Place back ticks on both sides to indicate it’s code `like this`
  • You’ll also be able to add a link inline — forget the old, distracting link popups — when you highlight the link text and use CTRL-K (CMD-K on a Mac).

Improved Commenting Features

WordPress 4.5 will make it easier to edit a comment before approving it. You’ll also see the comment formatted as it will appear once it’s approved.

Log In with Email

Forgot your WordPress username? With 4.5, you’ll be able to log in with your email address.

Behind the Scenes…

Some changes will work behind the scenes, improving your user experience.

Improved Responsive Image Handling: WordPress will automatically optimize the smaller image sizes even more, although they still recommend you upload images that are properly optimized to begin with.

Selective Refresh: When you’re previewing your site in the customizer, refreshes will happen more quickly because WordPress will refresh only the item(s) you change, not the entire screen.

oEmbeds Adds Support for Twitter Moments and Timelines: In addition to the many items you can embed automatically, WordPress 4.5 will support Twitter Moments and Timelines.

As always, we recommend you wait a few days before upgrading to WordPress 4.5. Although they test rigorously, don’t be a guinea pig — make sure any possible issues are ironed out before you upgrade. Vinny, SiteSell’s plugin developer, recommends waiting until the first bug fix is released (it will be numbered 4.5.1). I’m a bit less conservative, generally waiting 3-4 days. Whenever you upgrade, though, always back up your site completely beforehand.

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This post was originally published on the SiteSell Blog, used by permission.