On June 13th WordPress 3.4 was released. If you haven’t already updated to this new version I would encourage you to do so now. We would like to review some of what’s new in WordPress 3.4 in terms of features for new users and developers alike.
I must confess something, I have never really worked to much with the free WordPress themes such as Twenty Eleven or the Twenty Ten. When I started working with WordPress a few years ago so began my journey to the Genesis Framework where making changes to themes and customizing things was not a big learning curve.
Just a month ago I done a site for a local car club working with the free Twenty Eleven theme thinking this will be easy as pie, well that pie turned into a humbling experience. It was harder than I thought, and I’m suppose to know what I’m doing. To make sure my custom edits did not change with any theme updates I had to create a child theme. (insert scratchy record noise ~ learning curve) So you can only imagine how pleased I am to see these new features WP 3.4 has to offer.
Live Preview and Theme Customizer is one of the new features in WP 3.4 that will make working with and using your themes so much easier, trust me!
One of the biggest first steps you take when developing a WordPress site is selecting the theme you will use. Until now, selecting a theme, activating it and viewing it on your site just see if it looks good with your content could take hours, and in the process your site will look a little mixed up during this development process for any viewers.
To access Live Preview and Theme Customizer >> go to Appearance » Themes, there you will see “Live Preview” below each inactive theme, or “Customize” if you are looking at your installed theme.
Selecting Live Preview or Customize will open the same live preview window. From here you would select the items from the left hand menu and see the changes live in the right hand preview window.
Previously to access these setting you had to:
Site Title & Tagline: before you had to go to the dashboard, then to Settings, then to General.
Colors: might mean a trip to the style.css sheet to do custom edits, or under a theme specific color setting!
Background Image: before you had to go to the Dashboard, under Appearance, then to Background.
Navigation: before you had to go to the Dashboard, then to Appearance, then to |Menus.
Static Page: before you had to go to the Dashboard, then to Settings, then to Reading.
And after you had made each of these changes you would need to first save changes, switch to a new tab, refresh your site to see each change. Or even make edits to the style.css file of your site, ftp the new file, save the old file, view site!
WP 3.4 has gathered these 5 features into one easy to access editing screen, with a LIVE PREVIEW. (~ queue the gospel music!)
Custom Header Improvements – Previously your header had to be a specific height and wide usually dictated by your theme. Adding a custom header could involve edits to the style.css and even the home.php or function.php to make the height/width adjustments. In WP 3.4, you now have flexible headers and can now add custom header and background images from the Media Library as well.
Before you could only upload an image you did not have the option to choose from the media library. Also if the your image was not the specific height and width, the auto crop would basically hijack the image! 9 times out of 10 the results was not good!
HTML in Image Captions – Before the caption text of a photo could only be static. If you wanted a link the only thing that could be a link was the photo itself. Now you can add html links to in the caption similar to the text widget. Great for adding a link to the photo author or sitting it’s source!
Embedding Tweets – To do this before meant using a plug-in to embed a tweet. Now it’s just like adding a YouTube video, all you do is add the link to your tweet in a separate line and WP3.4 embeds the tweet with reply, retweet, favorite, and follow features.
Some other features we like:
- PHP end of file closing PHP tags are now removed, no more annoying white space at the end of a PHP file causing it to break.
- Internal functions/classes now output “rtl”, “ie7″, “ie8″, etc, as classes for browser targeting.
- Add new comment from post edit screen.
- Add jQuery UI Touch Punch plugin to handle dragging on mobile devices.
For a full list of the WordPress 3.4 Features visit: http://codex.wordpress.org/Version_3.4
[Blog by Chrissie ]