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July 22, 2015

WordPress 4.3: What Will It Offer You?

While the dust has not yet settled on the release of version 4.2, the WordPress core team has scheduled the release of version 4.3 for Aug. 18. Work on this upcoming release of WordPress has already started and Konstantin Obenland is chosen as the project lead.

While the version 4.2 brought us a lot of revolutionary improvements like browsing and switching themes in the Customizer, Emoji support and an improved Press This button, version 4.3 will totally change the way you use WordPress on small-screen and touch-enabled devices.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the major improvements that have been proposed for version 4.3:

Better User Experience on Mobile Devices:

Though the current version of WordPress has support for mobile devices, it certainly doesn’t offer the best user experience possible, especially when you try to write or publish something from a touch or small-screen device. For the past few releases, WordPress core developer Ryan Boren has been testing user flow on a myriad of different devices and he uncovered a number of mobile-related issues that need to be fixed as soon as possible.

WordPress 4.3 focuses on improving both Admin UI and the Editor on touch-enabled and small screen devices. The editor will be loaded with outstanding features like saving/updating content without refreshing the page and working of Cmd/Control+S in the text view, on the other side, the Admin UI will retire media-new.php and have better responsive list tables. Additionally, several guest contributors will also be reimagining and improving the Network Admin UI for mobile.

Strong Passwords for Better Security:

Security has always been a crucial concern in WordPress and once again, WordPress team is focusing a lot on making websites more secure than ever. As WordPress’ biggest chink in armor is passwords, version 4.3 is getting a major overhaul in terms of how passwords are chosen. Below are four main points that Mark Jaquith, who is leading the team working on passwords, has included in his plan for passwords:

  • WordPress by default will generate a strong password for the user: As most of the user-generated passwords are vulnerable to hacking, WordPress 4.3 itself will generate a secure password for users by default. However, users can choose their own password, if they want.
  • The password input will be displayed as plain text by defaultThe WordPress-generated password will be visible to the user as plain text. This improvement is made to minimize typo errors and get rid of second confirmation.
  • WordPress will now help users choose better manual passwords: At present, WordPress just shows you how strong or weak your manual password is. With effective feedback like “use a symbol”, WordPress 4.3 will actively help users make their manual passwords are stronger than before.
  • Double confirmation for a vulnerable passwordIf a user still ignores suggested passwords and decides to set a weak password, WordPress will repeatedly ask him “are you sure?” until he doesn’t proceed with a secure password.

Additionally, the core team has also suggested Mark consider these proposals:

  • When creating an account for other users, passwords should automatically be generated.
  • Upon password reset, users should get a new and secure random password. However, they can still log in and choose the new password.
  • The password reset link should not work after a short period of time.
  • In case of any changes made to password or e-mail, users should be notified via an informational e-mail sent to their old e-mail address.

Needless to say, all these changes are quite logical from a security point of view. In fact, this is one area where WordPress could be improved to a large extent.

Improvements to the 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.

Menu Management in 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.

Conclusion:

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.

WordPress 4.3 Beta 1 is now available. You can either try the WordPress Beta Tester plug-in to test out version 4.3 or directly play with the Beta version locally on your computer.


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Ajeet is a senior Web developer at WordPress Integration, where he is responsible for writing custom JavaScript code during the conversion process. In his spare time, he writes on different topics related to JavaScript, WordPress, and HTML5 to share his work experience with others. You can follow WordPressIntegration on Facebook.

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