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What is new in WordPress 4.4?

WordPress 4.4 was released just a few minutes ago. This will be the last major WordPress release of 2015 and as expected it comes with a new default theme and some other great features. In this article, we will show you what’s new in WordPress 4.4, and which features you should try after updating your websites.

This is a major WordPress release, and unless you are on a managed WordPress hosting service, you will have to manually initiate the update.

Important Don’t forget to create a complete WordPress backup before starting the update.

Features and screenshots of the new WordPress 4.4

Responsive Images Out of The Box

The number of devices, screen resolutions, and display sizes add to the complexity of serving better quality images. Using CSS and other solutions can make images fit on mobile devices, but you really don’t need that anymore.

WordPress 4.4 comes with responsive images out of the box. WordPress will automatically serve the right image size for the user’s browser, device, and screen size.

This is done using the srcset attribute in img HTML tag. It allows client’s browser to display an image based on device capabilities. Since it works out of box, you don’t need to do anything. It uses a filter to add srcset attribute on the fly.

WordPress powers more than 25% of all websites on the internet. Users accessing WordPress powered websites will not waste bandwidth on loading images too large for their screen.

You will still need to optimize your images to speed up WordPress.

Externally Embeddable

WordPress has been using oEmbed to embed videos, tweets, status updates, and content from other sites that supported oEmbed.

Starting from 4.4, all WordPress sites will become an oEmbed provider. This means WordPress users will be able to embed posts from other WordPress sites.

Embed posts from other WordPress sites in your blog

If you don’t want to use this feature, then you can disable it with the plugin called:Disable Embeds.

Twenty Sixteen

In 2010, WordPress 3.0 came with a new default theme Twenty Ten. Since then, each year WordPress releases a new theme.

As the last release of 2015, WordPress 4.4 comes with a brand new Twenty Sixteen default theme. Here is how it looks:

Twenty Sixteen the new default WordPress theme for 2016

This theme is beautifully designed with a mobile first approach. It is fully responsive on all screen sizes and devices.

Twenty Sixteen comes with the traditional content+sidebar blog layout. It has built-in color schemes, and you can also use your own colors to make it uniquely yours.

Twenty Sixteen in theme customizer

Under The Hood Improvements

The best thing about WordPress is that it can be easily extended with plugins and has thousands of themes that you can use.

WordPress 4.4 brings some exciting changes and improvements for developers. This means that you can expect more features and updates from your favorite WordPress plugins.

Phase 1 of Rest API

WordPress 4.4 initiates the inclusion of REST API plugin into WordPress core. This will allow WordPress developers to create new APIs or work on the existing WordPress APIs in their own applications. Plugin authors will also be able to take advantage of the REST API by adding custom end points. (#33982)

WP_Network for Multisites

There are many under the hood improvements for multisite networks in WordPress 4.4. Most important one is the introduction of WP_Network class. It provides a better way to handle multisites and fixes several bugs. (#31985)

Taxonomy Term Metadata

With WordPress 4.4, Terms in taxonomies (like Categories and tags or any custom taxonomy) can now have metadata associated with them. (#14162)

Improved Comment Queries and Output

Comment object and query is improved with the introduction of WP_Comment class. (#32619)

Comment form output is now changed to display the comment textarea first and then name, email, and URL fields. (#29974)

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