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What’s New in WordPress 4.0

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Finally the much anticipated, WordPress 4.0 arrived today. It is a major release, packed with lots of improvements and some new features. At WPBeginner, we closely followed the development and wrote about what’s coming in WordPress 4.0. There are many new things that we are particularly excited about. In this article, we will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.0 and what cool new features you should try out after updating your sites.

Please note that WordPress 4.0 is a major release, so it will not get automatically updated. You will have to initiate the update.

Also note that 4.0 is just a version number. WordPress has a release cycle and 4.0 comes after 3.9, there is no such thing as WordPress 4 or WordPress 3.

Improved Internationalization Support

WordPress is used around the world and powers websites in many different languages. Previously, if a user wanted to use WordPress in other languages, then they had to either install a localized version of WordPress or manually upload translation files.

As of WordPress 4.0 the first step in the WordPress installation is to choose a language.

Choosing a language during WordPress installation

When writing about what’s coming in WordPress 4.0, we assumed that users will be able to switch languages from the Settings screen. But this is not the case, users can only switch languages already installed in their /wp-content/languages/ directory.

Manage Your Media With Style

WordPress 4.0 comes with a new and improved media library. Users will now be able to see their uploads in a nice grid layout with infinite scroll. This new layout is much faster and allows you to quickly search, browse, and edit media files.

New Media Library in WordPress 4.0

Clicking on an item in the media library opens it in a popup window where you can add image caption, alt text, title, and description. Users can also use arrow keys on their keyboards to browse images or use esc key to close the popup.

Media popup in WordPress  4.0

Embed Previews in Post Editor

Users can now see their embeds right inside visual post editor. This means that when you paste a YouTube video URL in the visual editor it will automatically become visible right inside the editor. Same goes for Tweets and other oEmbed supported embeds.

Visual embeds in WordPress 4.0

Improved Post Editor

WordPress 4.0 brings some very important improvements in the post editor, which we believe will greatly improve writing experience for most users.

First improvement is the removal of scroll bar in the post editor. Multiple scrollbars on a page made it a little difficult to work on long articles. Now the post editor will automatically adjust itself as you write.

Improved post editor in WordPress 4.0

The second improvement is the sticky menu bar in the post editor. This means that the menu bar and the add media button will remain visible on user’s screen and you will not have to scroll to click on a button.

Plugin Search and Install Experience

Another most anticipated feature of WordPress 4.0 is the new plugin install screen. Search results now appear in boxes and show more useful information than before. Searching for plugins is way faster and you can quickly switch between featured, favorites, and popular plugin tabs.

New plugin install experience in WordPress 4.0

Clicking on more details opens the plugin’s page in a popup window. This window is now styled to match with rest of the WordPress admin area. Also notice that it load’s the plugin’s complete readme file at once so switching between tabs on the details popup is very faster.

Theme Customizer Panels

Widgets were added to Theme customizer in WordPress 3.9. The are now moved to their own panel in customizer, making it easier to easily add and manage widgets from customizer screen.

Widgets in Theme Customizer

For Developers

A whole new API for user controls in customizer is introduced. Just like Widgets are grouped into their own panel, theme and plugin developers can now group options on panels. Customizer now supports contexts, panels, and a whole new set of controls which you can use in your themes and plugins.

In other under the hood improvements, query ordering will now give developers more ways to use ORDER BY clauses in WP_Query. TinyMCE, jQuery, and MediaElement libraries are updated.

We hope this article provided an overview of what’s new in WordPress 4.0. We are particularly, delighted with the new post editor and how it adjusts itself. Let us know which features you liked the most and what you would like to see in future releases?

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Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff at WPBeginner is a team of WordPress experts led by Syed Balkhi with over 16 years of experience in WordPress, Web Hosting, eCommerce, SEO, and Marketing. Started in 2009, WPBeginner is now the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry and is often referred to as the Wikipedia for WordPress.

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Reader Interactions

14 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Syed Balkhi says

    Hey WPBeginner readers,
    Did you know you can win exciting prizes by commenting on WPBeginner?
    Every month, our top blog commenters will win HUGE rewards, including premium WordPress plugin licenses and cash prizes.
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  2. Amy Smolens says

    I’m trying to reorder the tabs. I go to Pages/All Pages. In Quick Edit I number the pages in the order I want the tabs to be but that doesn’t work. The tabs stay the same as they’ve been. Thanks for your help.

  3. samiOOTB says

    Has anyone found the dashboard and items on it loading very slowly after this update? Could a cache plugin have something to do with it?

  4. mayur gc says

    “The connection was reset” error occurred at front side when updating my site from 3.9 to 4.0 (latest version )


  5. Philippe Gadeyne says

    One thing that would be great in the media library is the ability to edit several graphics/photos at the same time instead of one at the time, aka alt text/captions

  6. Dominic says

    Youtube video embedding doesn’t work since I updated to 4.0. Really annoying! Drop the link in either visual or text, a little media icon appears and then nothing!

  7. Feng Liu says

    yes, it just came out today. I am still waiting to update my site. First, I will need to backup my site first, just in case this update might mess up function of the theme or certain plugins. I will do this weekend when there is not alot of traffic.

    • Saumya Majumder says

      The social image icons wont appear on the first place, and if socialite enable the position of the icon, specially vertical alignment of the social shares are messed up. I can see that you have fixed the vertical alignment on your own site, so it will be great if you please update the plugin with the changes. Also changes the the compatibility to 4.0

  8. Peter Cralen says

    WordPress do it well. I like the way how WordPress implement powerful feature behind ”one click button” What these guys do its excellent.

  9. Keith Davis says

    “The second improvement is the sticky menu bar in the post editor. ”
    Now that will make my life so much easier.

    Thanks for the WP4 overview Syed

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