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What’s New in WordPress 3.8

By Craig Buckler

WordPress

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This article is outdated, check out what’s new in WordPress 4.6 here.

If you haven’t upgraded to WordPress 3.7 yet, don’t bother — WordPress 3.8 is available to download now.

Since this is a major revision, you’ll need to manually upgrade rather than rely on an automated update. That means logging in and hitting “Upgrade”. Remember to back-up your files and database first. I would also recommend checking plug-in and theme compatibility in an offline version of your site too.

Version 3.7 changes were primarily under the hood but WordPress 3.8 introduces more obvious updates. The whole administration interface has been overhauled…

WordPress redesign

At first glance, I thought it was reminiscent of earlier versions of WordPress but look around and you’ll notice several interesting changes:

  • A modern flat design is used throughout.
  • It’s responsive and the smartphone/tablet view is far more usable than before.
  • Open Sans is the default font — it looks clearer and less cluttered.
  • Scalable, fast-loading webfont icons are used in preference to images.
  • Eight administration color themes can be selected in your profile…

The interface is noticeably faster than previous versions. Most pages weigh in at less than 300Kb (compressed) with the bulkiest rarely exceeding 500Kb. I suspect it could go a little further if the team switched from JavaScript-based animations to CSS3 but it remains impressive.

Smartphone and tablet access has been significantly improved. I recommend you try it. In my opinion, it’s superior to native iOS and Android WordPress apps which rarely work as you expect or support plug-in functionality.

New Twenty Fourteen Theme

Twenty Fourteen is the new magazine-style default theme:

Twenty Fourteen theme

As you would expect, the layout is fully responsive. Important content links on the home page can be featured in a grid or slider view. You will require some work to make the best of it, but theme and widget management is better than ever.

Other changes are fairly minor or bug fixes. A full list of all updates can be viewed at codex.wordpress.org/Version_3.8

WordPress is currently used by 20.9% of all websites. Of the sites using a CMS, WordPress accounts for almost six in ten installations. Version 3.8 feels faster and fresher than ever; can any other application ever hope to match its success?

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

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