What’s Coming in WordPress 4.4 (Features and Screenshots)

Development for WordPress 4.4 started with full momentum immediately after the release of WordPress 4.3. We followed the development closely, and we are excited to report that it is expected to be released during the second week of December 2015. In this article, we will show you what’s coming in WordPress 4.4 with features and screenshots.

WordPress 4.4

Note: You can try out the beta version on your computer or on a staging environment by using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

Twenty Sixteen – The New Default WordPress Theme

Since 2010, WordPress comes with a new default theme for each year. Keeping up with this tradition, WordPress 4.4 comes with a new default theme for 2016, called Twenty Sixteen.

Twenty Sixteen - Default theme in WordPress 4.4

Twenty Sixteen features the traditional blog layout with a sidebar and content area. The design focuses on readability and elegant display on all devices.

It comes with five color schemes Default, Dark, Grey, Red, and Yellow. Users can also choose their own colors to create unlimited color schemes.

It supports custom headers, and has two menu locations one for site navigation and other for social links.

Twenty Sixteen customizer

Responsive Images Out of The Box

Users access the web using lots of different kind of devices with different screen sizes, resolutions, pixel density, etc. Low resolution images look unimpressive on devices with larger screens and better displays. This compels site owners to use better quality images which increases the page size and effects download speeds.

Responsive images in WordPress 4.4

WordPress will now provide a better solution to address this problem by showing responsive images out of the box. This is done by using srcset attribute. This attribute allows client’s browsers to display an image based on device capabilities.

The srcset attribute is added on the fly and is not stored in the database. This means all images you previously added will benefit from this feature.

All images added to a post, featured images, attachment pages, and image galleries will be responsive out of the box. This will greatly improve page speeds and user experience on WordPress sites.

Better Embeds

WordPress users can automatically embed videos, Tweets, and Facebook status updates by simply entering their URL in a post. However, this feature was limited to only some sites that were whitelisted by the WordPress project.

With WordPress 4.4, it would be possible for you to add embeds from any site that supports oEmbed. This also includes all WordPress sites.

If you add a plain URL in your post from another WordPress site, then it will automatically embedded.

Better embeds

Note: Both sites should be using WordPress 4.4 or higher for embeds to work.

If you were previously using a plugin to embed WordPress links as content cards, then you will not be needing those plugins anymore.

Developer Features

WordPress 4.4 will be coming with lots of under the hood improvements and changes. Developers will need to adjust code in some of their products.

WordPress REST API (Phase 1)

Finally, the underlying infrastructure for WordPress REST API plugin is added into core with WordPress 4.4. REST API allows WordPress developers to create new APIs or work on the existing WordPress APIs to in their own applications. With 4.4, plugin authors will be able to take advantage of REST API by adding custom end points.

Taxonomy Term Meta Data

Taxonomy term management has been going through some changes since last few releases. This enters into new stage with WordPress 4.4 which brings taxonomy term meta data capability into core. Terms in taxonomies (like categories and tags or any custom taxonomy) can now have meta data associated with them. (#14162)

Comment Queries

Comment queries will be split for better and faster performance. (#8071, #32619)

We hope this article gave you a preview of what’s coming in WordPress 4.4. Let us know which features you are excited about and what you would like to see in future releases of WordPress.

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