WordPress 4.5 is out, and all over the world, writers, editors, designers, and developers rejoice! Or, you know, scramble to update their themes and plugins, as the case may be.
As features go, this isn’t the biggest update ever. There’s nothing radically different. Rather, we’re getting small, quality-of-life upgrades intended to make customizing your site, editing text, and logging in a bit easier.
Some theme framework developers have longed for the day when you can just drop their theme into WordPress, and then design your entire site live, in the browser, with the Customizer. That day is not here yet, but it’s getting closer.
For one, WordPress themes now support adding custom logos in the Customizer. The support for this needs to be defined in the theme itself before you’ll see the functionality in the UI, but it’s there.
In addition, the Customizer now offers a responsive preview function. Just click on the device icon for Desktop, Tablet, or Mobile to see your site shrink or grow accordingly.
The customizer should also be a bit faster, now it has the ability to selectively refresh some elements of content and the theme. Not every change you make will require a full refresh of the page.
The visual editor has been upgraded with two small but significant features: first, the interface for adding links is now inline, Medium-style. Hit CTRL-K, and you’ll get a tooltip with an input field, which is significantly less distracting than a modal window.
Secondly, there are two new text formatting shortcuts, one for horizontal lines, and another for the element. It’s starting to look like Markdown with instant rendering.
The byte-counters will be happy with this update, too. The ImageMagick settings for resizing images have been improved, and now strip “extraneous metadata” from images to reduce file size. The default image compression has been changed from 90 to 82, reducing file size, often by a significant margin, with little perceivable loss in quality.
Lastly, you can now log in to WordPress with your email address instead of your username. Never worry about forgetting your username again!
This update may be small compared to some we’ve seen in the past, but the changes introduced are designed to make using WordPress just a bit easier for everyone. It’ll be interesting to see where the Customizer goes from here.