WordPress 3.8 – What’s New and Why It Matters

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Do you use WordPress? If so, your world is about to change, and you’re not alone. Find out exactly what's new in WordPress 3.8, and why it's important. Morten Rand-Hendriksen is a lynda.com author focusing on WordPress training, and a web designer and developer–with a passion for clean design, standards-based code, and open-source software. He has published several books, articles, and videos on these topics and is a popular speaker at conferences.

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WordPress 3.8 – What’s New and Why It Matters

  1. Agenda • New User Interface Design • Improved Theme and Widget Management • Twenty Fourteen: A ‘’magazine style’’ Default Theme • Other Noteworthy Updates • The New is Now 2 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  2. Introduction 3 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  3. Do you use WordPress? If so, your world is about to CHANGE and you’re not alone. 4 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  4. Recent statistics show WordPress now powers: • Close to 20% of the web And controls: • Close to 60% of the Content Management System market. 5 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  5. So when big changes are rolling out, there’s a LOT at stake. 6 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  6. The most recent version of WordPress, version 3.8, shows that the platform (and its developers) take this responsibility seriously and aim to further simplify web publishing for everyone. 7 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  7. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at the WordPress 3.8 release! 8 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  8. New User Interface Design 9 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  9. New versions of WordPress follow a general pattern: • Odd numbered releases are mostly back-end upgrades • Even numbered releases carry with them feature additions, front-end upgrades, and changes 10 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  10. So it should come as no surprise, that 3.8 has some new features. But unless you’ve been paying close attention, the extent of these new features may SURPRISE you. 11 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  11. Version 3.8 is not just a feature upgrade. It is a long awaited facelift. 12 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  12. Farewell to the skeuomorphic, low contrast rounded corner user interface of old. 13 Hello to a responsive, modern, touch-friendly, typographically-rich user interface. CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  13. Responsive UI: Desktop 14 Tablet Mobile CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  14. Over the past year: A team of developers headed by WordPress co-creator Matt Mullenweg, have been working on a new user interface, codenamed “MP6”. 15 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  15. The MP6 UI aimed to solve a series of issues: From responsiveness to high-resolution graphics. Originally developed as stand-alone plugins, MP6 and its cohorts DASH (simplified dashboard), THX38 (new theme experience), and the Widget Area Chooser are now baked into the WordPress core code. This provides a whole new administrative experience that is simpler, more accessible, and works beautifully across all screen sizes. 16 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  16. The only real way to get the full story on the new UI, is to try it for YOURSELF! As you dig in, let me direct your attention to some of the finer and less obvious points... 17 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  17. 1. MP6 admin UI is fully responsive–meaning as screen sizes change the layout resizes and reformats to provide the best possible user experience. This provides tablet and smartphone users––and also Windows 8 users utilizing Snap––a much improved user experience. Plus it makes WordPress administration truly mobile out of the box. As part of this move to responsiveness, the WordPress Toolbar has been subtly changed to be touch friendly by making the bar and its buttons bigger as screen sizes get smaller. 18 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  18. 2. On the font side, the new admin UI swaps out Arial for the Google font: Open Sans. Open Sans has looser kerning (more space between the letters) for increased readability. Just as important but less obvious, the new UI also replaces its image-based icons for the custom Dashicon icon font to ensure crisp, sharp icons–regardless of screen resolution. 19 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  19. 3. And if you don’t like the default charcoal-and-blue color scheme... You now have four versions to choose from: • Blue • Default • Light • Midnight 20 Though to be honest, only Default and Midnight have a high enough contrast to be really useful. CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  20. Improved Theme and Widget Management 21 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  21. In tandem with the new admin user interface... The Theme and Widget managers have also been updated to provide better user experiences. 22 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  22. The Theme Manager has been reworked with the same minimalist approach as the overall UI, and now provides a more intuitive and less cluttered interface. 23 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  23. Now Gone • Vertical separation between your active theme and the themes available to you. • Theme info is moved to modal windows for a quicker overview of available themes and a more in-depth inspection of theme info. 24 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  24. Theme Manager 25 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  25. Widget management has been improved to alleviate an enduring frustration for anyone with a widget heavy site: simpler widget selection. 26 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  26. Hidden below the traditional drag-and-drop behavior... The new Widgets UI allows users to click on an available widget, and select what widgetized (sidebar) area, that widget should appear in. This is a very elegant solution that will save users time and frustration. 27 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  27. The Customizer has been updated with the new design, making it less obtrusive and easier to use. Also, your theme’s info can be more easily read with a larger area of the screen now devoted to it. 28 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  28. Twenty Fourteen: A “Magazine Style” Default Theme 29 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  29. Since 2010, WordPress has shipped with a new default theme every year. Unfortunately these themes, named after their release year, have usually been released towards the end of their year. 30 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  30. With Twenty Fourteen, the new default theme ships with version 3.8, following a release schedule more like those of automotive manufacturers. 31 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  31. Twenty Fourteen is a magazine-style theme with a heavy focus on featured content sliders and tiles, as well as large images. These types of themes have proven exceedingly popular, and Twenty Fourteen aims to answer the need for visual options, aside from plain old blog themes. 32 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  32. 3.8 ships with three default themes: • Magazine-style Twenty Fourteen • Blog-centric Twenty Thirteen •CMS-focused Twenty Twelve 33 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  33. Twenty Twelve and Twenty Thirteen were all about simplicity, Twenty Fourteen focuses on massive-content-overload, with plenty of options... 34 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  34. Some of these options: • The header allows for a large banner image or logo • There is an optional featured content area that displays sticky or tab-based posts in a carousel or tiled view • The main content is boxed between two widgetized areas on the left and right that disappear on smaller screens. 35 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  35. Concerns have been raised that this theme may be too content heavy and prone to clutter, but I recommend holding any reservations until we see how the WordPress community as a whole puts it to use. My two cents: always keep the widgets in your theme to a minimum. 36 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  36. For an in-depth walkthrough of Twenty Fourteen and all it has to offer, stay tuned for my upcoming lynda.com video course: Start with a Theme: Twenty Fourteen 37 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  37. Other Noteworthy Updates 38 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  38. WordPress 3.8 also introduces some other, less talked about updates, including: •Updated Profile page with choices reflecting more modern sensibilities • AIM, Yahoo! IM, Jabber/Google Talk are GONE, replaced by the more popular options of Google+, Facebook, and Twitter. •Auto-updating for point releases (which was actually introduced in 3.7.1) •A smarter password strength indicator for more robust security •Many other core code updates to give developers new power and capabilities 39 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  39. The New is Now 40 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  40. Now that you have a clear understanding of what WordPress 3.8 is all about, go forth and update your own site. After making a backup of course! 41 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  41. WordPress has always been on the cutting edge of current web trends, and 3.8 will put you and your site firmly at the forefront of modern web development best practices. So what are you waiting for? Upgrade to 3.8 today! 42 CHECK OUT LYNDA.COM’S WORDPRESS VIDEO COURSES: http://www.lynda.com/WordPress-training-tutorials/330-0.html
  42. Check out all the lynda.com Wordpress video series, including: - Installing and Running Wordpress - Wordpress Quick Tips - Start with a Theme - Wordpress Plugins - Wordpress Ecommerce and much more! Browse our video training: Wordpress Training Courses 43

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