WordPress has just released another major version – WordPress 4.6 with several new features and updates in the back end of the software.
The latest version of the WordPress software was made available as per the planned schedule of the development team to release it on August 16, 2016.
WordPress 4.6 is named in the honour of Jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III, following the tradition of naming releases after Jazz musicians.
WordPress 4.6 is already available in 50 different languages. Here’s the video introducing WordPress 4.6 from the WordPress team.
The above introductory video of WordPress 4.6 has been captioned into 43 languages by the WordPress community of translators.
You can follow along to learn how to update to the latest version of WordPress and a detailed guide to the new features and updates in the latest version.
Updating to WordPress 4.6
You should see a notification under your updates for the availability of the latest version of WordPress.
From your WordPress dashboard, navigate to Updates and click on Update Now to start the update process.
WordPress will automatically download and update your software to the latest version of 4.6. You should see a welcome screen for WordPress 4.6 once the update process is complete.
New Features in WordPress 4.6
The highlights of the latest update for general WordPress users include;
- Streamlined Updates for WordPress Themes and Plugins
- Native Fonts for WordPress Admin Dashboard
- Editor Improvements including Inline Link Checker and Content Recovery
Let’s look at the major updates of WordPress 4.6 in details along with screenshots, in the rest of this article.
Streamlined Updates of WordPress Themes and Plugins
With shiny updates enabled for both WordPress themes and plugins, you can now enjoy a better and simplified experience of updating themes and plugin.
You will stay on the same page when you update, install, or delete your plugins and themes inside WordPress admin area. All such shiny updates have been made possible via use of AJAX.
In addition to installing, updating, and deleting the plugins, one significant change you can quickly notice is the search screen for plugins which is also powered by AJAX.
Now, when you start typing in the search plugins box, the plugins start appearing below without having to reload the page and wait for it.
Screenshots for shiny updates
Here’s how the existing plugin install process looked in WordPress.
Here’s how the Plugin install process with Shiny Updates activated.
Native Fonts in WordPress Dashboard
You will notice this change as soon as you have updated to the latest version of WordPress 4.6. The WordPress admin dashboard now uses native fonts from your device.
Using your operating system’s UI font for all text in the WordPress user interface makes your admin area load faster and provides you with a feel of a native application.
WordPress started using Open Sans font with Version 3.8 to maintain a consistent experience across multiple devices, but the technology and background conditions have changed over time, and the reasons for doing so are no longer relevant.
Here’s the list of font stack that will be used on different platforms and operating systems.
-apple-systemfor Safari (iOS & macOS) and Firefox macOS
BlinkMacSystemFontfor Chrome macOS
Segoe UIfor Windows
Robotofor Android and Chrome OS
Helvetica Neuefor versions of macOS prior to 10.11
sans-serif, the standard fallback
See the change of fonts in this interactive pen.
WordPress Import Screen Redesign
The import screen has been redesigned under WordPress 4.6 and looks well polished.
This is one of the most used features by beginners moving to WordPress from other platforms. The newly overhauled design that makes easier to understand the options should impress such WordPress beginners.
Besides making it easier to install and run an importer, the overhaul has also improved the accessibility of the screen and options.
Here’s what the newly redesigned import screen looks like;
WordPress Editor Improvements
WordPress 4.6 has received two major improvements in the editor, i) Improved and more reliable recovery mode and ii) smart detection of broken URLs.
Inline Link Checker
WordPress 4.6 now automatically detects broken URLs while you insert them in the editor.
Your broken links will be highlighted similar to misspellings highlights making it easier for you to identify and update such links.
Reliable Content Recovery
WordPress, previously saved your content in case of any problem with your internet connection when using the WordPress editor, but this wasn’t intuitive.
With WordPress 4.6, the content recovery process has been improved to become more reliable and easier.
WordPress now saves your content locally to the browser as you type and you should see a notice saying “The backup of this post in your browser is different from the version below” in cases of problems with your connection. You will see an updated button that lets you restore the backup version.
Emoji Support for WordPress has been updated and now you use all of the latest Unicode version 9.0 emoji characters.
Here’s a list of the new emoji characters under Unicode V9.0 for 2016.
Developer Specific Updates in WordPress 4.6
Besides several updates for general users, there are many developers’ specific under the hood updates in WordPress 4.6.
Improved WordPress Translations
If you have to deal with translations for WordPress themes and plugins, you will find significant improvements in WordPress 4.6.
WordPress has improved the way in which translations load for WordPress officially hosted plugins and themes that use language packs via WordPress.org’s translation platform.
With the latest update, WordPress will automatically scan the community translation directory for available translations and instantly load the updates. WordPress calls this just-in-time loading for translations!
In addition, WordPress has also localised jQuery UI date picker. WordPress Themes and plugins using jQuery UI date picker had to use the language files from the jQuery UI project.
With WordPress 4.6 you can now enqueue the default date picker which will use the built-in defaults from WordPress. Find more information about updates on translations here.
WordPress 4.6 automatically adds resource hints for your styles and scripts making your sites load faster.
WordPress now has a simple API to register and use resource hints, a new W3C specification that assists the browser to decide which resources to fetch and preprocess for better page performance.
More about Resource Hints in WordPress 4.6 on this page.
HTTP API internal changes – Robust Requests
The HTTP API (
wp_remote_request() and family) have undergone internal changes to use the open-source independent Requests library instead of using specific WordPress-specific HTTP library.
Such robust requests help to improve the HTTP standard support and in adding case-insensitive headers, parallel HTTP requests, and support for Internationalized Domain Names.
Read more about HTTP API internal changes on this page.
WP_Term_Query and WP_Post_Type
A new class
WP_Term_Query adds flexibility to query term information.
WP_Term_Query is modelled on existing query classes and provides a more consistent structure for generating term queries. It brings parity between taxonomy term queries and WordPress’s other content type queries.
Similarly, a new object
WP_Post_Type object makes interacting with post types more predictable.
WP_Post_Type class provides methods to handle post type supports, rewrite rules, meta boxes, hooks, and taxonomies. This changes the global
$wp_post_types to an array of
Meta Registration API
Meta Registration API has been expanded in WordPress 4.6 to support types, descriptions, and REST API visibility. Read more about enhancing register_meta() here.
External Libraries were updated to the latest versions. Masonry 3.3.2, imagesLoaded 3.2.0, MediaElement.js 2.22.0, TinyMCE 4.4.1, and Backbone.js 1.3.3 are now bundled in WordPress 4.6.
More on external libraries update.
Customizer APIs for Setting Validation and Notifications
WordPress 4.6 includes new APIs related to validation of Customizer setting values. Follow this post for detailed information on API Changes.
Faster Multisite with WordPress 4.6
The addition of new multisite classes helps craft advanced queries with less effort making Multisite website even faster with WordPress 4.6.
Additional Multisite classes
WordPress 4.6 introduces new Multisite classes
WP_Network_Query as well as their companion functions,
WP_Site_Query – New
WP_Site_Query class to query sites with lazy loading for details.
WP_Network_Query – New
WP_Network_Query class to query networks with lazy loading for details.
Follow this post on core blog for detailed Multisite focused changes in 4.6.
Final Thoughts on WordPress 4.6
Similar to the previous major update of WordPress 4.5, the 4.6 version of the software doesn’t introduce any major update and only adds on to incremental improvements.
I really like the further improvements to shiny updates of themes and plugins. Besides, with native fonts, I am suddenly finding my WordPress dashboard clean and elegant.
WordPress will release one more major update in 2016. The release of next version WordPress 4.7 will be lead by Helen Hou-Sandí and is scheduled to release in December 2016. Matt Mullenweg was originally on the list to lead the release but he later announced of stepping down due to some unexpected constraints.
What do you think of the updates in WordPress 4.6? Let me know your favourite new feature in the comments below.
Share the post with others and help them upgrade to the latest version of WordPress 4.6 if they haven’t done already.