The Beta release of WordPress 3.4 is expected by mid April, meaning that the completed version will likely be released around July or so. As a Beta tester, I’ve been following the news of what’s coming and you’re going to be excited about a couple of things.
A rite of passage for most first-time WordPress users is Theme Search Hell where they spend days and weeks being dazzled then dazed while looking for the perfect theme. Once they find it, they usually want to change one or two little things and don’t want to pay hefty fees to a designer to have them done. Well, WordPress 3.4 promises to help with that.
The little bit of info I could gather on it says that it will improve the search for free themes in the WordPress Repository and then make it easy to change the background color and pattern, header image, and the title text in the header. A few free themes already include such features, but now they will become standard.
Of course, this new tool does nothing for the fonts or their colors. So, you’re probably still going to be stuck with the same thing Henry Ford said about the Model T. “They can have any color they want as long as it’s black.”
Theme developers are going to have a bit of a fit with this new customizer, especially premium theme framework makers like StudioPress. There are some tricky aspects to how child themes inherit styles from the parent framework. To make matters worse, each premium theme developer does it a little differently. So, this is going to be a testing bugaboo for the core WordPress coders, not to mention making this new feature backward compatible. They are focused on making the free themes in the repository work with this, but I hope they test some premium themes too.
There are plenty of plugins already that make it easy for you to upload a favicon, but WordPress 3.4 will make that uploader part of the core function. Now all you’ll need is a free online tool to convert the 16x16px image you want to use to the proper format. (There are plenty of them. Just search for “favicon convertor” in Google.)
More Caption Options
We’ve been able to place captions on images for some time. WordPress 3.4 promises to allow us to add links and formatting via HTML.
Third-Party App Posting
While iPhones are all the rage in the U.S., the protocol that’s behind the Android is favored worldwide. It’s called XML-RPC and there will be more support for it in WordPress 3.4. This will really open the door for developers to allow you to manage site content using third-party apps.
WordPress 3.4 promises to be faster and not so much of a memory hog. That’s really going to be popular with folks who mainly surf on mobile devices.
More Frequent Releases
Have you noticed that WordPress is releasing new versions more frequently? That’s the plan from now on. In fact, they want to publish a new release three or four times a year. That’s going to keep theme developers, designers, and folks like me who teach people how to use WordPress hopping.
You might want to consider getting a year’s subscription to BlogAid’s WordPress Video Tutorials.
It’s only $5/mo and I update them all the time to help folks keep pace with the latest tools and techniques for their site.