On August 16, 2016, WordPress released version 4.6, “Pepper”, named in honor of jazz baritone saxophonist Park Frederick “Pepper” Adams III. Aimed at enhancing, yet simplifying, the user experience even further, version 4.6 is the second major WordPress release of the year, and is available for download on the WordPress site and for update via the WordPress dashboard. Improvements include a more streamlined update process, the introduction of native fonts, enhancements to the editor, and various “under the hood” updates and bug fixes.
Inline Link Checker in Visual Editor
Broken links make your site look unprofessional, detract from the user experience, and effect your SEO. While broken link checkers exist to address this, in version 4.6, WordPress now checks for broken links as you enter content into the Visual Editor. If you use the hyperlink button to insert a link, and you accidentally enter a URL with incorrect syntax, such as “http://www.dazil.com/example.org”, WordPress will detect the broken link, and highlight the linked anchor in red for your attention in the Visual Editor. This decreases the likelihood of a broken link getting published on your website and only coming to your attention when and if your broken link checker catches it. This feature only works if you use the hyperlink button, not if you merely paste the URL on the link text.
Streamlined Update Process
Centralizing the procedures for installing, updating, and deleting WordPress themes and plugins, in version 4.6, you now stay on the same page for the entire process. Removing that annoying extra step of moving from the Plugins or Themes page to a progress page, then having to click back to the Plugins or Themes page again, this is a smart improvement that eliminates unnecessary and time-wasting navigation. One thing to note is that this has only been implemented on the Plugins and Themes pages, so if you update your plugins and themes via the Updates page, you’ll still move to a Progress page, then back to the Updates page.
In previous versions WordPress employed the OpenSans font in the dashboard, in an effort to streamline the look of the admin interface across different devices and browsers. In version 4.6, the WordPress dashboard now uses the same native fonts as your operating system, making pages load faster and improving performance overall, offering each user a sense of familiarity no matter which device or browser they are using. This update only affects the interface elements in the WordPress admin area, not content areas such as the editor.
Improved Auto-Save & Content Recovery
Ever have your Internet fail and you lose all of your most recent work? Addressing this frustration, WordPress version 4.6 comes with enhanced disaster recovery, saving your content locally to your browser as you type, and making it easier than ever to recover saved content. Since the content saved to the browser is newer, WordPress now recovers that first instead of reverting to the last Auto-Save. For users with revisions disabled, who have previously faced issues with auto-save, the restoration of drafts will no longer be affected, and those users can now easily and fully restore posts from browser backups and auto-save.
Nicer Import Screen
While WordPress has always made it easy to import content from Blogger, Tumblr, and other platforms, version 4.6 cleans up the import screen, making it more accessible and readable for users, and much easier to install and run an importer. As well, importer plugins are now installed in the background, eliminating unnecessary and annoying navigation through installer popups and progress pages.
Under The Hood
The second major release of 2016, WordPress version 4.6 doesn’t really offer any major new features or enhancements – rather, “Pepper” focuses on enhancing the user experience by simplifying and streamlining typical WordPress techniques and procedures. Updates such as keeping the user on one install page and making the importer install process smoother eliminate extra, pointless navigations, really show that the WordPress team strives to understand and enhance the user experience, and the employment of native fonts exemplifies a continued dedication to, as the version 4.6 news release promises, helping users “focus on the important things while feeling more at home.” Overall, some decent and very useful updates, for both users and developers alike.