This past Friday, a new version of WordPress was released to the world. Called “Oscar” after Oscar Peterson, a jazz pianist, it includes some pretty cool and exciting updates and features. Here’s a rundown of some of the highlights:
Native support for video and audio files
WordPress has great support for embedding YouTube and Vimeo videos, but if you wanted to play a video or audio file, like an MP3 or MP4 file, that has been uploaded to a server, you needed to implement some kind of player so that the file would appear as media rather than a link on your site.
Now all you have to do is put the link to the file in your editor, and it will automagically be transformed into an HTML5 player in the front end of the blog. Note: We do not recommend streaming audio or video files from your server since that can use many resources. In cases where possible, it is still a good idea to host your videos on YouTube or another third-party video site, or upload your media files to a separate server, like Amazon S3 and stream it from there.
If you have multiple users on your site, you may find yourself in a situation where two people are working on a page or post simultaneously. This can wreak havoc with your content, leading to situations where it’s unclear what the final version should be!
Now, if you open a page that is being worked on by someone else, you will get a clear message about that. You can choose to take over if necessary, but at least you have to think twice before doing so.
Unique new default theme: Twenty Thirteen
The default WordPress themes that come packaged with WordPress have just been getting better and better. The new Twenty Thirteen theme was designed by Joen Asmussen, and is so unique that some will love it, and others will not. But from a structural and code point-of-view, it’s clean and cool, and sports the following:
- Great support for post formats – post formats allow users to define a post as having a certain type of content, like a quote or a video, and then that particular post’s style changes accordingly. Like what Tumblr does.
- Genericon icon font – instead of using icon images, the theme uses an icon font called Genericons (which is available for download under the Open Source GPL license). The advantage of using a font rather than images for icons is that they are way more flexible in terms of the ability to resize or recolor them. Very cool.
- Responsive – the theme resizes and reformats for mobile devices.
If you want to modify the colors in the theme’s default header, you can thanks to the PSD file that Joen has made available.
The worst: working on a post online, only to lose it when your internet or browser crashes. The latest version of WordPress comes to solve that with the following new features:
- Out-of-the-box autosave every fifteen seconds.
- Uses HTML5 in your browser to locally save your posts too, in case you lose your internet connection. Brilliant!
Some more noteworthy features in the latest version of WordPress:
- Embed media from Rdio and Spotify just by pasting the URL (and making sure it’s unlinked), like you can now with other media sources like YouTube, Twitter, Slideshare and more.
- Improved usability in the Menus area for managing navigation and menus
- Significant improvements in the post revisions area lets users more easily compare versions
- Remove the three default contact methods (AIM, YIM, Jabber) for new installs – those were old ages ago. Good to see them go!
- Security fixes
Check out the video below to see the highlights in action. Note to our hosting clients: your sites have all been upgraded!