Today WordPress have updated their platform to version 4.0 “Benny”, in honour of Jazz clarinettist Benny Goodman. This is now available for download via the WordPress dashboard or through the WordPress website.
While WordPress claim v4.0 is just a follow on from 3.9, it seems they have made more changes and upgrades then they did in previous ‘minor’ versions.
The Main Points
Live view in the ‘edit’ screen
This is my favourite of the upgrades.
Previous to 4.0, if you wanted to see a preview of your post/page you would need to save as a draft and view the draft or hit the ‘Preview’ button, which in my experience didn’t always show the most recent changes (this could be caused by the time intervals for auto-save).
In the new version the preview will be shown in your ‘Visual’ edit box. Even embedding elements like YouTube videos are shown live in the edit window and can be played.
No more do you need to navigate away from your dashboard to see an accurate preview!
Floating editing tools
When making a long post or page with a lot of content, you need to scroll back to the top of the screen to use any of the editing tools in the right column (default view).
This column is now ‘fixed’ in screen view, scrolling down the page along with you.
This will greatly improve productivity and efficiency if you post a lot of content to your website.
In built plugin library enhancements
This new version updates the drab and out-dated look of the old plugin library.
Before when searching for a plugin in the library you’d see a list of plugins with a short description and a couple of metrics.
In WordPress “Benny” the plugin library has been styled to better capture the nature of the plugin.
More metrics are included which helps users find the right plugin for their application.
Also with thumbnails, this creates a nicer and more pleasing view of the library.
New Media Library
The media library has also received an upgrade to a more intuitive and user-friendly environment.
With rich looking thumbnails the media library now creates a true visual experience to your media content.
Also good-bye pagination (in it’s simplistic sense of multiple pages) and hello infinite scrolling!
This is a function that has been around for a couple years on other websites but has now been put into the WordPress media library.
Once you reach a set number of media items, instead of navigating to the next page, you can now continue scrolling down and the library will automatically load new content until you reach the end.
This is not a major shock or change to WordPress like the previous we’ve discussed, but I felt it important to talk about.
In WordPress 4.0 there is also a host of security updates, as with every other release.
As the Internet evolves new security threats pop up which must be handled. WordPress do a great job of keeping on top of these threats, but a website is still vulnerable until the update is installed.
Updating your WordPress platform is absolutely VITAL to keeping your website secure.
Without these updates your susceptible to hackers exploiting weaknesses in your website.
Can you really afford to have your website go down, even for a few hours?
Updating to WordPress 4.0
Upgrading your WordPress platform can be a daunting process, with many issues that can arise from performing this action.
If your site runs a lot of plugins for example, you may find complications arising from the upgrade because the plugins have yet to upgrade in-line with WordPress.
Unless you’re an expert, upgrading your system can be risky business. Make sure before any upgrades to a website you backup the ENTIRE website; including all system files on the server and database files.
If you’re stressed about upgrading, get an expert to do it for you.
Mentum Design offer upgrades to WordPress 4.0 for as little as $49.