A Quick Guide to the New Features in WordPress 4.4

By December 21, 2015General
WordPress 4.4

Ever since its launch, WordPress has gradually become a true user friendly website building platform which has kept focusing on making it easier for people to create awesome content without a lot of hustle. After several beta releases, WordPress 4.4 is finally here, with several features that will make its users even happier, as several things have been incorporated in this version.

Embedding

This is a big improvement compared to the past versions. Before, you could only use some websites which supported WordPress embedding. Now, the list has grown to all websites that support the oEmbed standard. Embedding something is now a piece of cake, as you only need to paste the adequate URL in your post and that’s it. Another important thing is that your posts can now be embedded by other websites. This was possible through the use of a plugin in previous versions, but it is now included in WordPress’s essentials.

You can see the preview below.

New Embeds Feature in WordPress 4.4

This is a great step forward, along with the fact that WordPress websites now completely support the oEmbed standard.

However, since it is hard to predict how users will react to this feature,  you might want to disable this feature, just install Disable Embeds plugin, which will disable this feature. There is no configuration settings, just activate the plugin and it will disable oEmbed for posts on other WordPress websites.

Responsive images

This is a very exciting feature that is being included in WordPress 4.4. WordPress has added support to serve appropriate image sizes to users by default, based on device and screen size. This is done by native “srcset” and “sizes”. It is very important due to the fact that all the images you upload are cropped to fit different screen sizes. This is simply awesome, as it will make your WordPress website compatible with a wide variety of devices present in the market today.

Twenty Sixteen default WordPress theme

Twenty Sixteen

WordPress with the update also introduced a new default theme called Twenty Sixteen. Twenty Sixteen is deeply focused on the mobile experience, and comes with many features. Custom color schemes, background and header options; Menu positions can also be edited to make the theme more user friendly; Posts can be full width and the sidebar is optional. The theme design is very clean and user friendly. The theme was designed by Takashi Irie, who has also designed Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen WordPress themes.

REST API

This is probably the biggest news when it comes to the new WordPress version, the REST API is finally a part of the WordPress’s core. However, even though the infrastructure has been merged, the endpoints have not. Theme and plugin authors are going to be happy but client developers are certainly not going to love this. Basically, this means that if you want to take advantage of the API in your plugin, you can do so, but if you are working on something that uses WordPress data on the outside, you will have to use a plugin that enables you to do so. This is a great step forward and it is believed that endpoints will be implemented in the core in one of the future versions.

Terms and Taxonomies

This is an incredible improvement that numerous WordPress users were requesting. Similarly like posts and users, terms now also have metadata. Now, taxonomies can finally be used properly. Overall, this is a great improvement which will help a great number of users.

Comment system

The comment system is also becoming improved – comments are going to look and function a little bit more like posts – it is all going to look much more natural. According to the WordPress development blog, this change was intended to improve communication and all those who use comments on their website will appreciate this very much.

Out of all these changes, the biggest change is definitely the REST API, which is shifting the platform’s focus to a much more mobile friendly platform, which is very important for the future of this platform. The full API will hopefully be implemented in the core, with the version 4.5, but we will have to wait and see what WordPress developers have in store for the future. Generally speaking, this update is a great step for this platform.