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What’s New in WordPress 3.4 (Features & Screenshots)

Yesterday, WordPress 3.4 was released. While we knew which features were coming, unlike other releases we did not keep a close tab of alpha and beta versions due to a very packed schedule. We would like to apologize to our audience for that. For those of you who did not click the one-click upgrade button just yet, please make sure that you upgrade. In this article, we will highlight what’s new in WordPress 3.4 in terms of features for users and developers.

Live Preview and Theme Customizer

The theme customizer is one of the most outstanding features in WordPress 3.4. Handy for both users and developers alike, the theme customizer will start a new era of WordPress theme development. In the past, users would never know whether a specific theme would work for their website without activating it. They would not know how the theme would look with their content. Well that problem is out the window now with the Live Preview and Theme Customizer. When you go to Appearence » Themes, you will see “Live Preview” below each theme.

Live Theme Preview - WordPress 3.4

When you click that link, a live preview will open with the Theme Customizer. For active themes, there will be a link named Customize that you can click which will open the live preview.

Theme Customizer

We hope that more developers start using this instead of complex theme options. Otto has a great article that will show you how to leverage the theme customizer in your themes. Check out the video walk through of the Theme Customizer.

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Easy Tweets Embed with oEmbed

In the past, you would have to use a plugin to embed a tweet in WordPress posts. Well not anymore. Just like youtube videos, now all you have to do is add the link to your tweet in a separate line. WordPress will embed the tweet with reply, retweet, favorite, and follow features. Love it. Check the example below:

Custom Header Improvements

In WordPress 3.0, WordPress added the ability add custom header images. Well, all the header images had to be a specific width and height. If you decided to change things around, it would cause things to look weird. In WordPress 3.4, you can now have flexible headers. You can see the new code in the Codex.

Aside from that, you can now add custom header and background images from the Media Library as well.

HTML in Image Captions

In the past when adding images, you couldn’t link to the photo author in the caption. Well, in WordPress 3.4 you can. This will make things easy. Check out the example below:

Largest Swimming Pool in the World
This the world’s largest swimming pool (3,324 feet long and 19.77 acre). The water is pumped from the Pacific Ocean after it has been filtered and treated. Photo by Thiago Graça Couto found from the article 25 Most Fascinating Swimming Pools

Better Organization for Page Templates

If you ever worked on a complex site, you will find yourself creating a lot of custom page templates. Up until now, all page template files had to stay inside the theme folder along with all other files. This can get really clunky. For the sake of organization, you can now have a /pages/ sub-directory in your theme’s folder where you can place all page templates. Starting in WordPress 3.4, WordPress will identify all page templates in the theme folder or in any sub-directory of a theme folder.

We know this will be extremely handy for our theme.

Other Improvements

There were a lot of bug fixes and improvements. Below is a list of items that we found to be very useful.

  • WP_Query Performance Improvements – Developers saw 2-3x speed performance improvements.
  • Post Formats will now be added under Navigation Menus
  • WordPress will now redirect attempts to visit /login, /dashboard, or /admin to the appropriate WordPress pages. Now you don’t need a plugin anymore :)
  • A lot of XML-RPC improvements
  • Internal functions and classes now add “rtl”, “ie7”, “ie8”, “ie9” for browser targetting

We would love to hear what are your favorite features in WordPress 3.4

Additional Resources

WordPress 3.4 “Green” Official Release Article
Full List of Features in WordPress 3.4
10 Things you Need to KNow about WordPress 3.4
How to Leverage the Theme Customizer in your own Themes

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Reader Interactions

24 CommentsLeave a Reply

  1. Thanks for this great article! A quick question: Does it also work for wordpress.com or just for wordpress.org

  2. All new features are Good, but still want more

    ** A good admin interface for inter-related posts/custom posts.

    Like a backend to manage primary + foreign key – relational database / information. Right now – not sure how to do this in WP way?

  3. I understand that the Twitter embed does not work for everyone. Do you have any insights on this? Would this be the fault of the particular theme the user has?

  4. Thanks for the article :) quick question initially when i used to add caption to an image it use to work properly. now the caption doesn’t work and the line written comes in the next line. this has happened after the upgrade any help.

  5. Two things I like the most from your mention.
    1 – Hyperlink in image caption. That was cool. I’ve been waiting for that.
    2 – Tweet embed. That of course will save out time.
    But what if the tweet deleted? Will it stays in our blog?

  6. Yes! Theme subfolders! This is going to make theme creation more tidy. Although I wonder how the editor interface is going to handle them. I hated having theme css files in a /css/ directory and being unable to edit them from the editor menu, it was such a hassle to start up the ftp and text editor program every time I needed to change one thing. Time to try this thing out..

  7. my favorite features were that dey added the latest jquery and jquery ui libraries…now we can make more customizations using jquery…also the embed tweets is a gr8 addition…i dont change themes so often but its a good thing dey added the preview feature :)

  8. I am very pleased with a new update. As a WordPress user and developer in training, I am very happy with imrpoved query performance and ability to put custom templates in sub-folder, this will by far improve my organisation.

    Thank you WP team :)

  9. Wow all of these additions look great.
    Can’t wait to test drive them and see how they work.
    The Twitter embed is very nice too.
    Thanks for the summary.

  10. Nice overview… I think my clients will like the theme customizer more than I do.

    Agreed, the links in the captions are nice, and also like the Tweet embed. Might find some interesting new ways to use that : )

    BTW – 7 live sites already updated and no issues

  11. Appreciate the overview boys.

    Updated a site on local install, but not updated any live sites yet.

    Will start updating live sites this weekend… fingers crossed.

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