Work on this upcoming release of WordPress is WELL underway (mark that already out in beta, so no more major changes to be made at this stage) and Konstantin Obenland has been chosen as the project lead.
As we all saw, version 4.2 brought us a lot of revolutionary improvements, the biggest of which awas thew new built in Customizer, allowing us to browse and switch themes on the fly.
With already announced emoji support and an all new and improved Press This button, version 4.3 should totally change the way we all use WordPress on our phones and tablets.
So what exactly do we KNOW about the upcoming release? Well the Flying Monkeys have been monkeying around with the WordPress 4.3 Beta 1, so let us take you on a tour of some of the major improvements that have been proposed for version 4.3.
Better Experience on both Phones and Tablets
Although the current 4.2 version of WP has support for mobile devices, it for sure does NOT offer the best user experience by any means, especially if you try to write or publish something from a 5″ or smaller phone.
For the past few releases, WordPress core developers have been testing “user flow” on a huge range of different portable devices and they discovered a large number of mobile-related problems that needed to be fixed ASAP.
4.3 focuses on improving both Admin UI and the Editor on phones and tablets. The editor will be stuffed full of great features like being able to save/update content without having to refresh the page.
Editing Improvements for Everyone
Even those who totally love WordPress say that editing is not the best experience compare to other CMS. Compare it to Medium, for example, which the Monkey Tribe use, WordPress can be bothersome sometimes.
In 4.3 WordPress boffins have added automatic formatting certain patterns.
The following improvements in version 4.3 have been plugged in:
- The * and – characters will be converted into unordered lists
- Numbers followed by a period and a space are converted to ordered lists
- Two to six hash characters (#) get converted to headings
- The > character will be converted to blockquotes
Obligatory Strong Passwords for Better Security
Security has always been a critical problem in WordPress and once again, the WP team is focusing a lot on making everyone’s websites more secure than ever.
As all the Flying Monkeys know well, WordPress’s biggest little problem is everyone’s personal user passwords. So version 4.3 is getting a serious overhaul in terms of how passwords are chosen.
Here are the 4 main points that WordPress has included in their plans for passwords:
- WordPress will generate a strong password for every user by default: As effectively ALL of the user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking, 4.3 will automatically generate a secure password for all users by default. Users can still choose their own password, if they want.
- The password input will be displayed as plain text : The WordPress-generated password will be visible to the user as plain text. This improvement is made to minimize users making simple typo errors and to get rid of that second confirmation.
- WordPress will now assist users choose better manual passwords: Right now in 4.2, WordPress just shows a user how strong or weak their password is. With useful feedback like “use a symbol”, the new 4.3 will actively help users make their manual passwords much stronger than before.
- Will recheck with a re-confirmation for a vulnerable password: If a user still persitsts, and ignores WP’s suggested passwords and decides to set a weak password, WordPress will repeatedly ask them “are you sure?” until they don’t proceed with a secure password.
Additionally, WordPress are apparently considering these ideas:
- When creating an account for other users, strong passwords will automatically be generated.
- When a password is reset, users will get a new and secure random password. Of course users can still just log in and change to another new password as before.
- The password reset link will expire after a certain period of time.
- In case of any changes made to password or e-mail, users will be notified via e-mail sent to their old e-mail address.
We have to say that we think that these changes are all quite logical from a security point of view.
A Much Better Customizer
It seems the improvements to the Customizer are not going to stop in near future and you’ll continuously see them in a few upcoming revisions of WordPress.
Where version 4.2 gives us the ability to easily browse and switch between themes in the Customizer, on the other hand, version 4.3 will make the entire process of site customization a breeze. Below are three main areas for improvement suggested by Weston Ruter, who is leading the Customizer team, during the WordPress 4.3 kickoff:
- Partial Refresh: At present, when you make any changes in the Customizer, you need to wait for previewing them until the entire page gets refreshed. Version 4.3 aims to refresh only the area of the page which changes are made to. For example, if you made some changes to the footer section of your website, then the Customizer will reload only the footer section, rather than refreshing the entire page. Currently, you can test out this great functionality via the Customizer Partial Refresh feature plug-in.
- Transactions: This feature refers to re-architecting the customizer at a very basic level to open up a whole new world of possibilities — like drafting/scheduling settings and setting revisions — for users. Using this compelling feature, users will be able to save draft versions of their settings and retrieve/apply them later whenever required. Even, they could still have the ability to access, re-apply or schedule old settings. However, this feature is dependent on the Partial Refresh function.
- Concurrency/Locking: If you remember, WordPress 3.6 had introduced a new feature called post locking that prevents multiple users from overwriting the other user’s changes while editing content in the post editor. The same thing, which you can call Customizer Locking, is now going to implement in the Customizer for the purpose of preventing concurrent users from overwriting each other’s setting changes. With WordPress 4.3, more than one user can access the Customizer at the same time, but only one of them will be able to lock the settings at a time.
Add Menu Management completely into the Customizer
As of now, for creating and managing menus, WordPress requires users to go to Appearance – Menus in the Dashboard. This means, if you’re making some setting changes in Customizer, you’ll have to leave the Customizer for adding a new menu to your site. After creating the menu, you’ll need to go back to the Customizer to continue your customizations. This is a very time consuming and cumbersome process, particularly when you’re not fully satisfied with the look of your created menus.
On the contrary, WordPress 4.3 will allow you to manage your menus right inside the Customizer. To create and manage your menus, you will not need to move to a separate page from the Customizer.
This will be achieved by merging the Menu Customizer plug-in into the WordPress core. However, users will still be able to manage their menus from the current Menu screen.
The main advantage of bringing this great functionality to the Customizer is that you can actually see how your menus look before you publish them, improving the overall navigation of your site.
Favicon and Site Icon Support
You know the little picture in the title bar of your browser bar and the app icons shown on smartphones and the big shortcuts for bookmarks on desktops? Most premium themes have added this already of course but all of them used different methods and were all over the shop. Well coming in 4.3 there is a unified UI for this built straight into the core.
This feature will be senisbly in the General Settings area. You should be careful that any image you use be at least 512px x 512px and smaller image sizes will be generated for you. i.e. don’t go using a favicon maker and upload that!
Hopefully, now you would have a clear idea of what WordPress 4.3 is bringing to all of us.
There is no doubt the WordPress core team is committed to not only providing users better security but also making the Customizer more powerful and usable than ever.