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WordPress 4.4: What’s Cool about “Clifford”

In continuation of the proud tradition of naming major platform upgrades after jazz musicians, record 479 contributors led by Scott Taylor helped bring about WordPress 4.4 “Clifford”. Named after jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, this release is set to welcome the year 2016 in a more productive and modernistic way than ever before.

From avid coders to enthusiastic bloggers, WordPress 4.4 “Clifford” has something to soothe all sorts this Christmas.

The Numerous Bloggers will love:

Responsive Images

responsive images

WordPress 4.4 Clifford adds out of the box support for responsive images to the core, letting WordPress automatically serve images sized proportionately with the users’ device dimensions.
The attributes srcset and sizes from RICG Responsive Images plugin have been added to core. This reduces front-end load time bloat from use of bulky images.

2016 – A New Default Theme

default theme

Takashi Irie, Theme author at Automattic, created this clean, modernistic revamp of classic blog design with fluid grids. 2016 has:

  • Custom color options and default color schemes (Default, Dark, Gray, Red, and Yellow)
  • Multiple menu positions
  • A separate social menu
  • Full-Width layout for Posts
  • Optional right sidebar (for widgets)
  • Custom background and flexible headers

WordPress’ 2016 Theme Preview

WordPress’ 2016 Theme Preview

The theme visualizes the best of mobile-first approach and accessibility-friendly development. It’s also translation ready and supports RTL languages.

Easy Embeds:

Paste the URL in post-editor while writing and see an instant embed preview with title, excerpt, and a featured image (if the post at this URL has one). Complementing this ease is better networking with site icon and links for sharing and commenting.

Keep in mind that the automatic embeds cannot be disabled via admin since there are no settings for it. Should you want to disable automatic embeds, you will need to install Disable Embeds plugin.

Okay, that was about chic styles and being more responsive with time and technology. What does it pack Under the Hood? Worry not, for…

The Developers will be delighted by:

RESTful APIs integration into core:

Cleaner coding that respects WordPress and follows best practices, now made easier with REST APIs infrastructure integrated directly into the core.

This inclusion of infrastructure for WordPress’ legendary APIs straight into the core is a huge step forward in turning WordPress from a blogging platform to a fully fledged application framework. The endpoints scheduled to be included in another upcoming release, but till then, the plugin WordPress REST API (Version 2) does the job.

If you are a WordPress developer, this is one-half of a step towards unparalleled ease of development and extending WordPress with other frameworks and tools. For instance, once you ‘get’ the JSON files of your WordPress data, you can transform it with another framework (say, AngularJS) by rewriting client-side JavaScript.

Neat, isn’t it?

Term Metadata:

WordPress has long made use of metadata for objects like posts, users, comments, etc. In version 4.4, WordPress will now avail tying up additional data with Terms by including term meta in the core.
Essentially, you will now be able to add more description and data to taxonomies and their terms for pinpoint specification and consequently, greater customization.

This long awaited inclusion of term meta to WordPress core is carried out with a new Database ({$wpdb->prefix}termmeta whose schema is modeled after post and user meta tables and will store term metadata), new API functions (add, delete, get, update, and cache; which will, again, resemble post and user meta functions), along with other improvements.

Improvements in Comment Querying function:

wp_comment_query now has cache handling to improve performance. In Wp_comment_query, version 4.4 added the following parameters:

  • comment_in: array of comment IDs to include
  • $update_comment_meta_cache: Default true, primes metadata cache for comments found
  • $no_found_rows: Default true, disables SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS query
  • $hierarchical: Default false; can be set to true to return comment descendants in results for nested (threaded) comment structures.
  • $update_comment_post_cache: Default false; can be set to true to prime cache for comment posts.

These improvements (especially the cache handling) help improve performance and make the process of writing comment queries simpler.

Improved Core classes Term, Comment, and Network

Wp_term, Wp_Comment, and Wp_Network are three new and improved core classes in WordPress 4.4 that make interactions with terms, comments, and multisite networks easier and more intuitive (through code).

The Upshot

These improvements are made with the goal of making WordPress more responsive and better connected.

WordPress 4.4 “Clifford” was released on 8th December, 2015, and is available for download or update via admin panels to everyone.

If you haven’t updated yet, do it now. And don’t forget to share your experience with “Clifford” with us in the comments section below.

Bonne Annee!

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