This article is outdated, check out what’s new in WordPress 4.6 here.
WordPress 4.1, named “Dinah” after the jazz singer Dinah Washington, was officially released today. Here’s a round up of what you can expect with this latest version.
Around seven days ago the WordPress 4.1 Release Candidate became available, this article is based on the information shared in that release candidate. Any last minute changes will be updated as soon as possible.
How Do I Get WordPress 4.1?
Most users will be greeted with a message in their dashboard saying “WordPress 4.1 is available! Please update now”. Clicking this link will take you to a page where can download the update and apply it all in one go. Too easy!
As always, I want to take a minute to remind everyone before applying any updates to your live sites, to make sure that you have a full backup and that you’ve tested theme and plugin compatibility with this latest version. Ideally, you should have a separate environment so you can always test anything that’s important. SitePoint has featured articles on VVV (Varying Vagrant Vagrants) and Chasis which makes managing local WordPress development and testing environments a breeze.
Introducing the New Twenty Fifteen Theme
WordPress 4.1 will see the release of a new default WordPress theme called Twenty Fifteen. The theme was designed keeping a strong blog focus in mind and makes use of Google’s Noto web font. This font covers over 30 scripts and was developed to work across multiple languages, making it the perfect fit to help take WordPress closer towards the goal of stronger internationalization.
Focus – The New Distraction-Free-Writing
WordPress shines as a publishing platform, so it’s no surprise that content creation will always be a focus (no pun intended) of the WordPress core developers. This new version of WordPress has seen revisions to the existing distraction-free-writing functionality. As with distraction-free-writing, it will probably be a feature that users will either love or hate, but it’s good to see the WordPress team are continuing to refine the publishing experience.
Focus makes it easier than ever to concentrate on just your content, without the distraction of the other dashboard elements.
The animated GIF above can only show you so much, using it is a rather unique experience. I’m still getting used to it, but I’m looking forward to trying it out over time. Focus feature can be turned off if you find you don’t like it.
Updates to Language Support
With the release of WordPress 4.0, you were able to choose your own language on installation. This is perhaps one of the most powerful features of WordPress and it’s exciting to see more work in this area by making switching languages after installation an easy task.
WordPress 4.1 has been translated into 40 languages with other languages yet to come. If you want to change the language your site is using navigate to the bottom of the ‘Settings’ and ‘General’ tab.
Since version 4.0 we’re now greeted with a new plugin installation experience which allows you to browse a grid of tiled plugins that more clearly displays information about the number of downloads, ratings, when it was last updated and if it has been tested with your current version of WordPress.
WordPress 4.1 now also provides a filter for ‘Recommended Plugins’ which shows you a list of plugins that are based on other sites that have similar plugins to yours installed.
Log Out of All Other Sessions
Accessible under your profile settings, you can now log out all sessions. This is a handy security feature if you may have left a session open on another device.
Vine Added to oEmbed
Vine is a popular platform where people can upload short 6 second snippets of video. WordPress 4.1 has added Vine videos to the long list of oEmbed support, you can see the complete list here.
Image Alignment Toolbar
WordPress 4.1 brings a new image alignment toolbar, something I think that users will greatly appreciate.
It’s a minor change, but one that will be both a big time saver for experienced users and help newer users feel more comfortable working with images. When I first read about this feature, I didn’t take a lot of notice, but I’ve already started to appreciate it.
Changes for Developers
As with every WordPress update, there are plenty of changes under the hood. Here are some of the more notable changes that developers may be interested in:
- Better support for document
- Improvements to the Customizer API
- New template tags
- Improvements to Taxonomy, Date, Meta and Comment queries
You can get a more complete list in the WordPress 4.1 field notes page here.
In summary, these updates bring some welcome changes to developers and frequent users of WordPress. As someone who does WordPress training, I haven’t seen distraction-free-writing get much use, so I’m very interested in what everyone thinks of the new ‘Focus’ feature.
Chris isn't afraid to admit it: he's a geek from way back, having worked in IT for more than 20 years. He co-founded a digital agency called Clickify, working with a great team of developers and marketers, and is also the WordPress Editor for SitePoint. Chris is passionate about keeping up-to-date with the latest web technologies and can be found at many of the tech events in Melbourne, Australia. For more details, check out his personal site at chrisburgess.com.au.