WordPress 4.2 was released just a few minutes ago. This is the first major WordPress release of 2015. It fixes many issues and adds some great new features to WordPress. Sadly, some really cool features were dropped because they were not yet ready to be shipped. In this article, we will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.2 and which features you should try after updating your sites.
This is a major WordPress release, which means your site will not get automatically updated unless you are using managed WordPress hosting. You will have to initiate the update from your WordPress dashboard. As always, don’t forget to backup your WordPress site before updating.
New and Improved Press This Tool
WordPress 4.2 comes with the new and improved Press This tool.
It is a simple bookmarklet that you can drag and drop to your browser’s bookmarks bar or add to your mobile homescreen. This allows you to easily share any content from anywhere on the web to your WordPress site with a simple click or tap.
Press This will now automatically find images, excerpt, and title for the content you are sharing and embed it to a post on the fly. This will make sharing content a lot faster and easier for many users.
New Characters & Emoji Support in WordPress 4.2
Emoji are natively available on all modern devices including mobile phones. WordPress didn’t support emoji natively. WordPress 4.2 resolved this by adding the native support for emoji. You can now use emojis anywhere on your WordPress site.
The support for Emoji was made possible by the underlying work done to add native support for Chinese, Japanese, Korean characters. WordPress 4.2 will automatically switch your utf-8 database to utf8mb4. This change will also allow musical and mathematical symbols and even hieroglyphs.
While many users may not be as excited about Emoji support, the support for more language characters is a huge improvement for a very large global WordPress user base.
Faster Plugin Updates
Plugin updates required you to click on the update link and wait for a page to load which showed update progress. Then after the update you were able to move on to do whatever you were doing. This will change in WordPress 4.2 which now comes with a faster one-click plugin updates.
Earlier in our What’s coming in WordPress 4.2 article, we showed you faster plugin install feature. It was similar to the update feature but allowed users to install plugins without reloading page. This feature was dropped during the beta.
More Auto Embeds
Just like YouTube videos, Tweets, and many other services, Tumblr and Kickstarter are now included into oEmbed whitelist in WordPress. You can now paste a link from Tumblr or Kickstarter and see it automatically embedded into the post.
Theme Switching in Customizer
WordPress 4.2 comes with some great improvements in the customizer. You can now switch themes directly from theme customizer and make changes. This will enable users to quickly preview themes and customize themes without even activating them.
Under The Hood Changes
wp.a11y.speak() to send audible notifications.
Terms shared by multiple taxonomies will now be split when one of them is updated.
Complex ordering support with meta query clauses is now supported by WP_Query, WP_Comment_Query, and WP_User_Query.
There are some minor changes in the default WordPress color scheme.
There are many bug fixes and other under the hood improvements. You can see a full list of changes here.
We hope you liked this overview of what’s new in WordPress 4.2. We are particularly excited about faster plugin update feature. What are you excited about?