New Features and Changes in WordPress 4.4

WordPress 4.4 Release version pre

WordPress 4.4 will mark the next update of WordPress. The current version, WordPress 4.3 was released on August 18, 2015, and you can find the complete details of WordPress 4.3 here.

Latest Update: WordPress 4.4 Clifford is now available to download. Follow this post for a complete guide to new updates in WordPress 4.4.

Download WordPress 4.4 Clifford

The upcoming version, WordPress 4.4 is slated to release on December 8, 2015.

After a couple of beta releases for the upcoming version, we are now following the changes and new features in WordPress 4.4. You can follow along to see the new features of WordPress 4.4.

First, here’s what the timeline for the release looks like as of now;

WordPress 4.4 Timeline

WordPress 4.4 is scheduled to release on December 8, 2015.

Last minute WordPress slack discussions indicate WordPress 4.4 will release on December 9, 2015. We will update this post as soon as WordPress 4.4 is available to download. ( sign up for our newsletter for latest updates.)

October 22, 2015 Update: WordPress 4.4 Beta 1 released.

October 28, 2015 Update: WordPress 4.4 Beta 2 available for download and testing.

November 4, 2015 Update: WordPress 4.4 Beta 3 available for download and testing.

November 12, 2015 Update: WordPress 4.4 Beta 4 available to download.

November 25, 2015 Update:  As we approach the release date, release candidate for WordPress 4.4 is now available.

All scheduled beta releases and release candidates before the target release of WordPress 4.4 have been mentioned above.

WordPress 4.4 General Features

1. WordPress Embeds

Embeds make embedding rich content in WordPress really easy. You can easily embed content such as videos and tweets from websites like YouTube and Twitter by just pasting its URL in a single line.

In past, we had covered a list of websites that support oEmbeds for WordPress. The good news is that you no longer have to depend on that small list of Website.

WordPress 4.4 will now support nearly all sites that support the oEmbed standard. You can now start embedding rich media the easy way!

One more noteworthy changes with Embeds is that any oEmbeds consumer can embed posts from WordPress blogs. This means that WordPress has also become an oEmbed provider.

Here’s what the preview of an embedded WordPress post looks like;

WordPress embeds Preview

This feature was made possible with a plugin previously and now becoming a part of the core.

You can, however, choose not to allow embedding for your WordPress website.

Learn how to disable post embeds for your WordPress posts here.

You will need to install this Disable Embeds plugin to prevent others from embedding posts from your website.

2. Responsive Images

Support for responsive images is of the most exciting updates in WordPress 4.4. WordPress has added responsive image support to serve appropriate image sizes by default to all users.

WordPress will now load an appropriate image based on user’s device and screen size. This is done by adding native “srcset” and “sizes” support to WordPress.

The images that you upload will be automatically cropped to different sizes, and the user's browser will serve an appropriate size.

3. Twenty Sixteen – Default wordPress Theme

Twenty Sixteen will be the default WordPress theme starting WordPress 4.4. The theme is already available to download from both WordPress themes directory and Github.

Twenty Sixteen WordPress Theme 2016

Twenty Sixteen was introduced back in August by Tammie Lister asking the community to contribute and get involved in the development process.

We have extensively written about Twenty Sixteen Theme here but here’re the main features of the theme;

  • Custom color options and default color schemes
  • Multiple menu positions and a social menu
  • Full-Width layout for Posts (optional sidebar)
  • Mobile-first approach
  • Custom background and header options
  • Custom excerpt option to add post intro

The theme is designed by Takashi Irie who had also designed Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen.

WordPress 4.4 Developer-Focused Changes

Along with REST API making it to the core, WordPress 4.4 has several developer-focused updates and new features. Here’re the main highlights;

1. REST API

The much-discussed REST API, a JSON-based REST API for WordPress is now part of WordPress 4.4 core.

The API has two parts – infrastructure and endpoints and only the infrastructure part is available as part of WordPress 4.4 core. The endpoints are still made available only with a plugin.

2. Term Metadata

WordPress 4.4 has now included metadata for Taxonomy terms. Those who use a plugin to implement term metadata should prepare to move following this post here.

3. Document Title Output

WordPress 4.4 has replaced the wp_title() with an improved way to generate titles. You can check this post with suggestions for plugin and theme authors on how to use the new title outputs.

4. Improved Comments performance

If you have preferred other commenting platforms because of the performance issue of default WordPress comments, things might be improving now.

Comments’ performance is improved by only querying required number of comments and splitting the queries. You can check out the discussion on ticket #8071 for further information.

You can follow all other latest updates with WordPress 4.4 tagged posts on the Make WordPress Core blog.

Additionally, you can help the development process by downloading and testing the beta releases. All you need to do is install this WordPress Beta Tester plugin on your test website. You can download the latest beta release of WordPress 4.4 here.

What new feature are you most excited about? What do you think of the upcoming updates? Let us know in the comments below.

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Pradeep Singh
Pradeep Singh
Pradeep Singh is the founder and your host here at WPism. He is an entrepreneur and blogger living his startup life based in London and Cambridge. Follow him on Twitter or like his page on Facebook.

7 Responses

  1. Very nice article! I hope WordPress won’t have a lot of bugs, but if it will, here you have a lost of them:
    I hope it will be useful for you:)

  2. Good job Pradeep. Really enjoyed reading your article as you have explained most of the features of WordPress clifford pretty well.

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