On April 23, 2015, WordPress released version 4.2, aka “Powell”. Named for musician Bud Powell, WordPress 4.2 aims to make global communication quicker and easier, and to enhance the WordPress experience for all users, from beginner to expert.
Updated “Press This” App For Enhanced Content Sharing
While the “Press This” app has been around for awhile, WordPress 4.2 includes two major enhancements that allow for quick sharing of content from Twitter and Instagram, from both desk/laptop and mobile devices. The first is a “bookmarklet” feature which can be dragged and dropped into your browser’s bookmarks bar, and the second is a link which can be opened in a mobile browser and added to your bookmarks. If you’d like to share something, just click Press This to open a popup with your WordPress post editor, and WordPress will automatically grab the page title, image, and an excerpt from the page, along with a link back to the original source. Press This can be used anywhere on the web, and if you are on an “oEmbed” site such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, or Vimeo, then Press This will automatically grab the embed code for those as well.
Extended Character Support
WordPress 4.2 includes extended character support, out-of-the-box, supporting all of the Han characters (Japanese, Korean, and Chinese), as well as musical and mathematical symbols and hieroglyphs. Languages printed with special characters are now seamlessly integrated into WordPress, and foreign language users can now use their native device keyboards to enter their text. Composing text in WordPress, no matter what your language, is the easiest it’s ever been.
Enhanced Emoji Support
As a result of the work done to extend character support, WordPress has also introduced the ability to include Emojis on your WordPress pages, without having to download any additional plug-ins to do so. Where previous WordPress releases provided limited Emoji support, offering only basic emoticons, version 4.2 introduces built-in core support of the full set of Emojis. From a mobile device, you are now able to add Emojis pretty much anywhere that you can add text – posts, comments, categories, even post slugs.
Additional oEmbed Support
WordPress 4.2 offers even more oEmbed support, now for both Tumbler and Kickstarter. If you paste a link from either site, WordPress brings the content right in. Enhanced oEmbed in the content editor provides an easy way to include (embed) a resource, such as a photo or video. This feature will enable non-developers to easily include external content on their sites without worrying about learning any HTML codes.
Customizer Offers Enhanced Theme Options
In version 4.2, you can switch, preview, and customize themes directly from within the WordPress customizer. Instead of switching to the separate theme section of the dashboard, you can even add new themes from the customizer, eliminating extra time needed to switch back-and-forth. As well, the theme switcher has been improved to better handle widgets and functioning on mobile devices.
Streamlined Plugin Update Process
WordPress 4.2 provides a more streamlined plugin update process, allowing users to install or update plugins directly from the plugin lists instead of having to switch over to the install/update feature. While a fairly simple change, this feature is an extremely useful and intuitive addition to the program, and a great time saver, eliminating the tedious need to move back and forth between the installation/update screen and the plugin list each time you’d like to update another plugin.
Permalinks By Default
Another small change in WordPress 4.2 is one that will also prove a useful time-saver. Setting permalinks is a highly recommended practice when building any site, replacing an “ugly” URL, such as “http://www.nothingbutatest.ca/?p=12345”, with a more presentable and search-friendly link such as “http://www.nothingbutatest.ca/great-content/”. In WordPress 4.2, permalinks are now turned on by default, and WordPress will automatically replace all “ugly” permalinks with “pretty” ones, as long as the nice links can be verified. Of course, should the user prefer to replace the permalinks themselves, they can always turn this default setting off.
The above updates, along with various administrative and “under the hood” changes, make the move to WordPress 4.2 an important step for users wanting to enhance and streamline their overall WordPress experience. While major enhancements are exciting, enabling the further global expansion of WordPress use, and allowing users wider, more instant access to the program, there are also some small but significant tweaks that prove to be convenient, time-saving, and intuitive, making WordPress more accessible and manageable for even the least-experienced user.