WordPress.org today launched WordPress 4.4, which adds a slew of new features to the blog management tool to “make your site more connected and responsive.” You can download the new release now fromWordPress.org/Download (7.3MB).
WordPress 4.4 brings a new default theme called Twenty Sixteen (Twenty Fifteen, in case you’re wondering, was released along with WordPress 4.1 just under a year ago). Here it is in all its glory:
WordPress describes Twenty Sixteen as “a modern take on a classic blog design.” And, as is true of most themes nowadays, it was built to look great on any device. That means a fluid grid design, flexible header, “fun” color schemes, and so on.
But many of you won’t use the new theme, so the first real big improvement is actually responsive images. WordPress is now smarter at displaying appropriate image sizes on any device, without you having to make any modifications to your theme.
This is a big deal, given the aforementioned market share that WordPress controls. “When WordPress adopts modern technologies, the Internet adopts modern technologies,” WordPress Core developer Scott Taylor said on stage at the company’s 2015 State of the Word event this past weekend.
Next up, you can now embed your posts on other WordPress sites, just like you would embed most media content. Just drop the post’s URL into the editor and you’ll get an instant embed preview (in Visual mode) complete with the title, excerpt, featured image, site icon, and even links for comments and sharing.
WordPress 4.4 also adds support for five new oEmbed providers: Cloudup, Reddit Comments, ReverbNation, Speaker Deck, and VideoPress. Nothing huge, but, then again, WordPress supports a huge number of embed types.
Last, but not least, there are a number of under-the-hood improvements:
- REST API infrastructure: Infrastructure for the REST API has been integrated into core, making it easy for developers to build and extend RESTful APIs on top of WordPress. This is just the first half of WordPress REST API support; inclusion of core endpoints is targeted for an upcoming release.
- Term meta: Terms now support metadata, just like posts. Seeadd_term_meta(), get_term_meta(), and update_term_meta() for more information.
- Comment query improvements: Comment queries now have cache handling to improve performance. New arguments in WP_Comment_Query make crafting robust comment queries simpler.
- Term, comment, and network objects: New WP_Term, WP_Comment, and WP_Network objects make interacting with terms, comments, and networks more predictable and intuitive in code.
WordPress 4.5, coming next year, is already in the works, though the company didn’t specify a month for its release. That said, we’re betting it probably won’t be out before April.