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Breathtaking WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” Release

April 16, 2016
| Articles, News

Feeling comfortable with the WordPress 4.4 “Clifford” release? Well, it is time for a change! We have waited four months. That is 18 weeks! Beta versions were rolling each week from 25th of February, and then… WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” release brings us exciting new features and optimization for writers!

Coincidence or not, it took exactly 126 days from Tuesday, December 8th of 2015 to Tuesday, April 12th of 2016, and WordPress crew has introduced WordPress 4.5 to the world! This release of WordPress was led by Mike Schroder, backed up by deputies Adam Silverstein, Mel Choyce, and 287 contributors!

WordPress 4.5 dedicated to…

Well, it would not be WordPress if it was not dedicated to honoring jazz musicians, and 4.5 version is dedicated to American jazz tenor saxophonist Coleman Randolph Hawkins nicknamed Hawk.

He was one of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument. There is a saying, floating between music fans, that states the following:

“…there were some tenor players before Hawk, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn.”

Seems like a lot, huh? Well, it sure is! Hawkins was strongly associated with the swing music and big band era while he also had his role in the development of bebop in the ’40s. One more thing about Hawkins (like it is already not enough…) – his discography consists of 28 albums!

It’s one hell of a candidate, don’t you think?

From music to visuals

Theme logos supported natively

WordPress 4.5 comes with a built-in theme logo support. If you are not familiar with premium WordPress themes or custom logos, I will give you a tad bit of explanation here. A lot of WordPress premium themes allow users to upload custom logo using their options panel. With the new 4.5 release, those custom logos are now a core WordPress feature, which everyone can enjoy and benefit from!

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This feature is an incredible win for theme developers. Now they have a standard way of including support for a logo via the theme customizer. Justin Tadlock, the admin of WordPress Theme Review Team, declared:

“Hundreds of themes with their custom logo implementation… It makes sense that core would standardize this as a feature. The concept has been well tested for years in themes. It’s a natural progression that core would get it, just like core standardized post classes, body classes, featured images, and other features that started out in the theme space.”

WordPress developers have borrowed code from Jetpack’s implementation, so it is safe to say that this feature is thoroughly tested and polished. You can try it out with Twenty Sixteen and Twenty Fifteen themes in the Site Identity section of the customizer!

Image generation optimization

WordPress 4.5 increases the amount of compression applied to intermediate sizes by changing the default quality in WP_Image_Editor from 90 to 82. This provides a noticeable reduction in file sizes with a mere change in image quality. From now on, developers can override the default image quality value using the wp_editor_set_quality filter.

Features to ease your coding and writing!

Selective refresh

While selective refresh is one of the under-the-hood improvements to the customizer, it makes a big difference for users. From now on, everything is smoother, more instant, more live! Customizer component maintainer, Weston Ruter, said:

“Selective refresh is a hybrid preview mechanism that has the performance benefit of not having to refresh the entire preview window. While this was previously available with JavaScript-applied postMessage previews, selective refresh also improves the accuracy of the previewed change while reducing the amount of code user has to write.”

Well, that is that about the selective refresh. Let’s move on to the ability of live, responsive preview!

Live responsive preview

WordPress 4.5 release makes it easier for users to customize their sites with mobile devices in mind. All that responsive stuff is now a little bit easier, haha… From now on, you can pick responsive live previews for desktop, tablet or mobile devices at the footer of customizer controls. Instead of going through various tools, websites or using different appliances for checking the look of your website content, it is all there for you just a click away!

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Another improvement – ease of use in preview mode. From now on, you can shift-click on navigation menu items in the preview to open corresponding control in the customizer panel.

Improvements for content writing

If you think that we’re done reviewing WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” release and it’s features, then you’re wrong. It’s not only the design that is important in your website. High quality and high-value content, which also fulfills SEO requirements, is crucial for a successful website. Many writers spend hours while writing masterpieces. Therefore, enhancements in WordPress 4.5 saves some time for writers and editors and ease all the hard work.

Inline link editing

Until WordPress 4.5 adding  a link to text in the visual editor would open up a pop-up, where you can paste in the URL, add link text, and set the target to open in a new window.  The pop-up also expands to let you search for and link to existing content.

Now, in the “Coleman” release, WordPress team added a more intuitive interface for editing inline links in the visual editor. The interface detects if a user is entering a URL or attempting to search for one. The updated search uses jQuerry UI Autocomplete to populate existing content as the user is typing!

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With WordPress 4.5, pressing CTRL+K will show an inline insert link menu. Simply type the URL and continue writing your post without removing hands from the keyboard!

Additional editor shortcuts

Inline text shortcuts were introduced in WordPress 4.3. They allowed (and still does) users to quickly add formatting markup by using simple text shortcuts like:

* or for bulleted list,

1. or 1) for ordered list,

# for h1, ## for h2, ### for h3 and so forth,

> for a quote.

WordPress 4.5 introduces two more shortcuts:

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In the near future, we might expect even more shortcuts like *..* for italic and **..** for bold!

Last but not least – friendly login

It is hard to keep track of all the usernames we use across all the different sites. This is why many popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and others allow their users to use their email address as a username. While you can easily forget your username, most people don’t forget their email address. In the past, WordPress did not allow users to log in with email by default. This has changed in WordPress 4.5.

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Since each WordPress user on your site already has an email address associated with their account, they will now be able to use their email address to log in.

Summary of the WordPress 4.5 review

What can we say? Even if you are against the changes in WordPress because you got used to the old version, these changes are for the better. The improvements in WordPress 4.5 are obvious – theme logos supported natively, live responsive preview, inline link editing and so on…

In what way can WordPress team surprise us with upcoming versions? Let’s wait and see what they bring us!

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