WordPress.org, the community that creates the popular WordPress blogging platform, has released WordPress 4.0, commonly called “Benny.” Although “WordPress 4.0” appears to be a major release, the makers of the software say it’s just another release and “4.0” happened to be the next number in line after the previous release, 3.9.
The term “Benny” comes as an honor to Benny Goodman, the world-renowned and highly popular American jazz clarinetist and bandleader because, the team says, WordPress 4.0 simply does what Benny was good at: putting polish on things.
The release began entering hosted blogs yesterday and has been proliferating since. So far, initial reviews of WordPress 4.0 have been positive. Computer World says that the update “adds useful features to a rich platform.”
New features are chronicled by Site Point, which include:
- Choosing Your Own Language On Installation
- New Grid View for the Media Library
- Improvements to the Content Editor
- More Support for “oEmbed”
- Improvements to TinyMCE Views
- New Plugin Installation Experience
- New Widget Customizer Panel
- New Accessibility Features
- Updated External Libraries
Chris Burgess of Site Point then walks through each of those updates one by one. A WordPress.com video shows how these changes work.
For most bloggers commenting on the update so far, WordPress 4.0 adds much easier media embedding and uploading while the “endless preview” pane for blog article editing means less scrolling and faster input. CMS Critic says it has “made WordPress prettier.”
The first thing most users will notice will be that the back-end editing screen for a new post is simplified so that the editing block is a box-less area that scrolls as you move around it, but the right-hand column of options does not. This “endless preview” allows for easier access to things important to most bloggers, such as tag lists and categories and gives the opportunity for some important plugin additions to be featured there for easier access.
Many bloggers will also note that the new media embedding, which supports most popular media sites such as YouTube, Twitter, etc., now shows the media in the preview rather than just an empty block or simple URL. Embeds can usually be done by simply inputting the URL on its own line, automatically triggering the WordPress 4.0 embed tool.
Other changes are to the back-end which some users may not see as often, but which are often core to the functionality of a unique WordPress blog. With 4.0, this includes finding plugins, installing new items and changing screen interfaces for customization.
Since the release of WordPress 3.9 in April, these features are things that open source programmers have been working to improve with the new 4.0 release.