WordPress 3.4 – Important Things You Need to Know

Posted in WordPress • Posted on 21 Comments

WordPress 3.4 was released few days back, codenamed “Green” after the guitarist Grant Green.

Just like every stable release of WP, version 3.4 too brings many big and small changes to the table. With something as popular as WordPress, missing out on a feature or two is obviously natural. Plus, with the plethora of awesome features that WP 3.4 comes with you may need a guide like this to help you discover them all.

If you are also overwhelmed by the features of WP 3.4, have no fear! We’ve got you covered!

In this article, we take a close look at some of the major additions of WordPress 3.4. We shall be following a step-by-step approach — we will take a look at a given feature, delve deeper into it, and then move on to the next new feature. Of course, certain changes in WP 3.4 can’t really be ‘explored’ in an article of this nature, such as the new internationalization elements.

Customization Beyond Imagination!

To begin with, this new version of WordPress has added many innovative tweaks and features to the way you customize the look and feel of your website. Among other things, infinite scrolling is now added to the themes’ page – you can now easily search for your favorite theme.

The Theme Customizer

C’mon, admit it: you like playing with new themes, don’t you? I know many WordPress users who count the awesome theme repository and the ease with which one can change themes as the primary reasons why they will not consider any other blogging platform.

WordPress 3.4 has, to a great extent, revolutionized the way we operate with themes in the front-end.

You now have the liberty to customize themes on the go using the Live Theme Customizer. Let’s see how it works.

Once you enter the Live Preview (click ‘Customize’ under the activated theme’s preview), this is what you are greeted with:

The Theme Customizer 1

You can edit the site title and tagline, change the colors, layout, header image, background and even static front page. Of course, over time, newer themes will add new options to the Live Preview itself, so you’re in for a treat. Let’s see how our preview looks after we make few changes:

The Theme Customizer 2

There you go, changed the header and color scheme. Don’t like the changes? Just don’t hit ‘Save and Publish’. :-) Still need more? Check out this awesome video about the Theme Customizer.

Child Themes

You can now install child themes using the theme installer. If you install a child theme but do not have its parent theme installed, WordPress theme installer will itself install the parent theme along with the child theme.

Child Themes

*Image Credit

Clearly, this functionality will result in an increase in the popularity of child themes and we may soon be seeing many awesome child themes in the repository.

Header Images are now Flexible

Remember how we used to resize and edit the header images, so that they ‘fit’ properly? Well, none of that is needed anymore. Now, header images are flexible and need not be of a fixed width or height.

Flexible Header

If you are a theme author, you can simply ‘recommend’ the ideal size to your users – but overall, there is no need to resize and edit an image in order to make it apt for usage as a header picture.

Enhanced Functionality, Easier Management

Apart from appearance-related features, WordPress 3.4 also comes loaded with many other major and minor facelifts that will surely make working in WP a better experience. Let’s take a look at some of these functionality tweaks.

HTML in Captions

If you’ve been craving the ability to include HTML (links, etc.) in captions for images, you can celebrate – WP 3.4 comes with support for HTML in captions. For instance, you can now link author credits in the image caption itself. Let’s try using bold and italics in the caption, shall we?

HTML Captions

Embedded Tweets

You can now use oEmbed to embed tweets within your posts. How does this work? Simply copy-paste the URL to a tweet, and WordPress will take care of the rest. In fact, WordPress has had support for oEmbed ever since version 2.9 So far, we can use it to embed stuff from Youtube, Flickr and Scribd, among many others. With version 3.4 this functionality has been added for tweets as well.

Let’s check this out right away, say, by copying and pasting a tweet from 1WD’s Twitter page itself.

Embedded Tweets

(Screenshot posted here as the above testing was done on a demo site, and not on 1WD main site.)

Awesome! No plugins needed, no short code necessary!

‘Recent Comments’ Dashboard Widget

The widget has received certain performance related touch-ups. This feature, though minor, is especially useful for websites with numerous comments. Learn more about it here.

Recent comments widget

Comment while Editing Posts

Thus far, you could only respond to existing comments to a given post from the Edit Post page. With WP 3.4 however, you can also post new comments while editing the post.

New comment from Edit Post page

Changes Behind the Scenes

XML-RPC gets a Revamp (sort-of)

If you don’t already know it, XML-RPC is the API that decides how WordPress interacts with other applications, and vice-versa. For example, if you use a mobile app to manage your blog from your Android smartphone, the interaction between the mobile app and your blog’s WP installation is handled by XML-RPC.

The new XML-RPC in WordPress 3.4 has support for taxonomies, custom post types, and many other similar features. To know more about XML-RPC vis-a-vis WordPress 3.4, check this out.

Custom Post Types and Distraction-Free Writing

Until now, custom post types couldn’t utilize the Distraction-free Writing Editor (also called DFW). With the latest release of WP, custom post types can also make use of DFW.

Better Internationalization

While internationalization for WP 3.4 has had its good share of improvements, on a broader note, there is support for comma as well as single/double quote translation, along with the ability to override default timezone, if need be. Don’t know what these changes mean? Well, many languages do not use the comma as a full-fledged separator (certain dialects of Arabic and Chinese, for instance). Similarly, languages such as Hebrew have distinct meaning for single and double quotes, and so on.

Internationalization in WP 3.4

*Image Credit

Among other things, spell checker, Dashboard widgets and default WP links are also translatable now.

Better Queries

It is being claimed that WordPress 3.4 comes with faster queries. The point worth noting is that WordPress 3.4 has changed the way SQL and object caching is used, thereby resulting in faster and more efficient queries.

Theme-Template Hierarchy

Page templates can now be stored within sub-directories, inside the theme’s folder. This can help you organize your themes better, especially if you are working with a more complex theme. So if your theme uses many custom page templates, you can group them under /pages sub-directory (and pat yourself on the back for being so organized and neat).

Such flexible theme management, coupled with better XML-RPC API, will surely pave the road for flexible theme management in near future, as is already evident.

Multi-Site Enhancements

WP Multi-Site has received two noteworthy improvements with the launch of version 3.4, namely:

Autocomplete for Add New User

If you are adding a new user to your website, and just in case that particular user happens to be registered at another of your network websites, his/her username will now autocomplete. Thus, you simply need to enter a part of the username and/or email, and the rest will be taken care of by WordPress.

Adding a new user in WP 3.4

Increased Upload Limits

The 10MB default upload limit (on an individual site) has been raised to 100MB.

Miscellaneous Features

Among other things, we have:

The Admin Bar

Notice the empty space on the admin bar? Now, if you click on that empty space (on any given page), it’ll scroll to the top of page. Clever use of the admin bar, isn’t it?

WP Admin Bar

Better Touch Support

WordPress 3.4 comes with better touch support, thereby enabling you to use it on your mobile and portable devices with ease. If you are a front-end developer, you can rejoice because WP 3.4 comes bundled with the jQuery UI Touch Punch library to allow you to make better mobile-friendly websites.

Retina-Ready Dashboard

I saved this one for the last. Just in case you have a Retina Macbook Pro, it’s another reason to celebrate – WordPress 3.4 officially loves you! WordPress 3.4 Dashboard is now ready for Retina display.

Still want more? WordPress 3.4 has fixed over 400 bugs and added over 115 feature enhancements. You can grab the complete list here. Further more, you can grab an in-depth video review of WordPress 3.4 below:

What do you think of WP 3.4? Feel free to share with us in the comments below!

35 Written ArticlesWebsiteGoogle+

Sufyan bin Uzayr writes for various magazine and blogs, and is the author of "Sufism: A Brief History". He blogs about technology, Linux and open source, mobile, web design and development, typography, and Content Management Systems at Code Carbon. You can learn more about him, follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook and Google+.

21 Comments Best Comments First
  • Jack

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 09:09

    1

    Nice list, thanks. My blog need W3.4

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 12:03

      4

      Why don’t you upgrade then, Jack?

      0
  • Rocky

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 00:17

    8

    Now, this is pretty exciting! Theme Customizer seems to be great, can’t wait to getting started on it!

    0
  • Manoj Rawal

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 01:28

    9

    Thnx, Sufyan bin Uzayr for this useful article
    i am understand what’s the need to update wordpress new version

    0
  • DrewAPicture

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 19:43

    7

    FYI: Basically all of the autocomplete stuff was yanked at the 11th hour because of lack of support for path-based vs domain-based Multisite installs. So sadly, no go on autocomplete for 3.4.

    Also, the Admin Bar is now known as the “Toolbar” and it might be worth a small mention that the format for caption shortcodes was changed to accomadate support for HTML but remain back-compatible. Thanks for the roundup!

    0
  • Ben G

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 15:27

    6

    great rundown, thanks!

    0
  • Geoff

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 10:19

    2

    I can’t think of any blogging platform that’s better than WordPress. Just when you think they’ve gone as far as they can, someone comes along and takes it new heights!

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 12:02

      3

      Geoff, you are so true..it’s the best CMS out there and you can get ANY functionality you want now..which is pretty impressive!

      0
  • Geoff

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 14:13

    5

    I must admit I tend to wait a little before upgrading. Two reasons 1) Just in case any serious teething issues are discovered shortly after release (rare I know), and 2) because some plugins might not work with the new upgrade, and sometimes it takes a short while for them to catch up. I’m just about ready now to upgrade to 3.4.

    0
    • Sufyan

      Thursday, June 28th, 2012 09:55

      13

      Hey Geoff,
      Yes, certain plugins/themes may have issues with latest WP versions, so I also tend to wait a bit, or check if my theme/plugins have an update. This is where premium themes beat free ones.

      0
    • OrangAkaun

      Thursday, June 28th, 2012 02:24

      10

      You’ve made your point but after all, it is depending on how frequent the plugins author will update their plugins. Some of them just abandon it.
      I’ve updated to the latest WP. Everything works well and most of my plugins author is an active author.

      0
  • komiska

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 03:59

    11

    Thank you for this quick and insightful overview! Indeed WordPress devs are showering us in code goodness, I love using WP for my projects! I hope the Green release also improved the “broken” wp_nav_menu highlighting for custom post types. WordPress.org says: “(The new release) Addresses problems with some category permalink structures. “. I’ll see in my next project :)

    0
  • Sanchit

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 05:31

    12

    Front end theme customization is Awesome!!! Thanks for the post

    0
  • GameZone

    Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 05:17

    20

    Front end theme customization is Great!
    Thank you.

    0
  • Prasad

    Sunday, July 29th, 2012 11:51

    21

    WordPress 3.4+ getting very crazy,it comes with latest features for users.

    0
  • Junaid Rehman

    Monday, July 2nd, 2012 16:43

    18

    I think we have to upgrade our wordpress to 4 version as 4.1 is also released now. I dont know why is that update come so fast. I feel no issues in the upgrade. I love two features of new upgrade. 1) background image change and 2) live theme editing

    0
  • saurabh saxena

    Sunday, July 1st, 2012 11:02

    17

    Yet Another Amazing..All New WordPress 3.4 Go Green!
    can anyone reply me with Why there is tagline ‘Go Green’
    what is the reason behind it? Thankyou

    0
    • David James

      Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 08:51

      19

      Saurabh Are you joking? He explained it in the very first sentence. “WordPress 3.4 was released few days back, codenamed “Green” after the guitarist Grant Green.”

      0
  • andymci

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 16:06

    15

    3.4 is a substantial step forward for WordPress. Lots of stuff here for both developers and users alike. IMO, supporting child themes in the theme browser is the first solid recognition that has been given to the growing importance of theme frameworks… very nice to see.

    0
  • Allen

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 21:16

    16

    Great review and insight to WordPress 3.4!

    0
  • Prasad

    Sunday, July 29th, 2012 11:51

    21

    WordPress 3.4+ getting very crazy,it comes with latest features for users.

    0
  • GameZone

    Wednesday, July 4th, 2012 05:17

    20

    Front end theme customization is Great!
    Thank you.

    0
  • Junaid Rehman

    Monday, July 2nd, 2012 16:43

    18

    I think we have to upgrade our wordpress to 4 version as 4.1 is also released now. I dont know why is that update come so fast. I feel no issues in the upgrade. I love two features of new upgrade. 1) background image change and 2) live theme editing

    0
  • saurabh saxena

    Sunday, July 1st, 2012 11:02

    17

    Yet Another Amazing..All New WordPress 3.4 Go Green!
    can anyone reply me with Why there is tagline ‘Go Green’
    what is the reason behind it? Thankyou

    0
    • David James

      Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012 08:51

      19

      Saurabh Are you joking? He explained it in the very first sentence. “WordPress 3.4 was released few days back, codenamed “Green” after the guitarist Grant Green.”

      0
  • Allen

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 21:16

    16

    Great review and insight to WordPress 3.4!

    0
  • andymci

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 16:06

    15

    3.4 is a substantial step forward for WordPress. Lots of stuff here for both developers and users alike. IMO, supporting child themes in the theme browser is the first solid recognition that has been given to the growing importance of theme frameworks… very nice to see.

    0
  • Sanchit

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 05:31

    12

    Front end theme customization is Awesome!!! Thanks for the post

    0
  • komiska

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 03:59

    11

    Thank you for this quick and insightful overview! Indeed WordPress devs are showering us in code goodness, I love using WP for my projects! I hope the Green release also improved the “broken” wp_nav_menu highlighting for custom post types. WordPress.org says: “(The new release) Addresses problems with some category permalink structures. “. I’ll see in my next project :)

    0
  • Manoj Rawal

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 01:28

    9

    Thnx, Sufyan bin Uzayr for this useful article
    i am understand what’s the need to update wordpress new version

    0
  • Rocky

    Thursday, June 28th, 2012 00:17

    8

    Now, this is pretty exciting! Theme Customizer seems to be great, can’t wait to getting started on it!

    0
  • DrewAPicture

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 19:43

    7

    FYI: Basically all of the autocomplete stuff was yanked at the 11th hour because of lack of support for path-based vs domain-based Multisite installs. So sadly, no go on autocomplete for 3.4.

    Also, the Admin Bar is now known as the “Toolbar” and it might be worth a small mention that the format for caption shortcodes was changed to accomadate support for HTML but remain back-compatible. Thanks for the roundup!

    0
  • Ben G

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 15:27

    6

    great rundown, thanks!

    0
  • Geoff

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 14:13

    5

    I must admit I tend to wait a little before upgrading. Two reasons 1) Just in case any serious teething issues are discovered shortly after release (rare I know), and 2) because some plugins might not work with the new upgrade, and sometimes it takes a short while for them to catch up. I’m just about ready now to upgrade to 3.4.

    0
    • OrangAkaun

      Thursday, June 28th, 2012 02:24

      10

      You’ve made your point but after all, it is depending on how frequent the plugins author will update their plugins. Some of them just abandon it.
      I’ve updated to the latest WP. Everything works well and most of my plugins author is an active author.

      0
    • Sufyan

      Thursday, June 28th, 2012 09:55

      13

      Hey Geoff,
      Yes, certain plugins/themes may have issues with latest WP versions, so I also tend to wait a bit, or check if my theme/plugins have an update. This is where premium themes beat free ones.

      0
  • Geoff

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 10:19

    2

    I can’t think of any blogging platform that’s better than WordPress. Just when you think they’ve gone as far as they can, someone comes along and takes it new heights!

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 12:02

      3

      Geoff, you are so true..it’s the best CMS out there and you can get ANY functionality you want now..which is pretty impressive!

      0
  • Jack

    Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 09:09

    1

    Nice list, thanks. My blog need W3.4

    0
    • Dainis Graveris

      Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 12:03

      4

      Why don’t you upgrade then, Jack?

      0

Comments are closed.

54.166.108.167 - unknown - unknown - US