WordPress Version 3.8 “Parker” Released December 12, 2013. Lots Of Changes

Another new version of WordPress is out, WordPress 3.8 “Parker” edition was released earlier this month and with it come a number of changes. These changes include new admin layouts, additional color schemes and the newly anticipated 2014  Default Theme.

For the official realease information please read the WordPress Blog, the Release Post, and see the Changelog for 3.8.

Below are a list of teh key features that you will find within the new WordPress 3.8 version:

QUICK NOTE:  the new admin panel is now more like that of WordPress.com websites IMHO), If you are using that interface then you will see the similarities. If you do not like that overall look, then you may wish to make some changes.

The good news is that the new interface also provides several color selection options to get you headed in the right direction.

Highlights

  • Introduces a new, modern admin design
    • A fresh, uncluttered design
    • Clean typography with Open Sans
    • Superior contrast and large, comfortable type
    • Responsive interfaces throughout
    • Refined, theme management
    • Smoother, click-to-add widget management
  • New Default Theme – Twenty Fourteen
    • Easily create a responsive magazine website with a sleek, modern design.
    • Feature your favorite homepage content in either a grid or a slider.
    • Use the three widget areas to customize your website, and change your content’s layout with a full-width page template and a contributor page to show off your authors.
  • For Developers
    • External Libraries have been updated.
    • Better RTL support

We have not as of yet tested the new 2014 theme with any production sites. We will look into this theme in the near future as we do like what can be accomplished with these type of layouts. Many of the newest WordPress premium themes coming out these days are using magazine or newspaper-like themes.

In the past many themes were quite “cookie-cutter-ish” where one would be produced and many people would copy it with different graphics. While this means you get a ton of variety, you also get a ton of site that look quite a bit the same.

We like the default themes that come with WordPress as a stepping stone for beginners mainly due to the fact that these themes will generally be much more secure then the average themes on the market, free or paid. The devs at WordPress put in a lot of effort to make sure the default themes are as secure and compatible as possible.

The 2014 theme does look promising and we will let you know what we think in a future post.

What’s New

General

  • Replace PNG-based plugins ratings stars with Dashicons for performance gains
  • Improved help tab text in various screens
  • Clicking “Check Again” on the Updates screen now provides more immediate feedback

Dashboard

  • Consolidate several Dashboard widgets to improve readability
  • Replace the ‘Right Now’ widget with the new and improved ‘At a Glance’ widget

Appearance

  • Introduce 8 new admin color schemes
  • Improved readability throughout using Open Sans typeface (where supported)
  • Responsive Toolbar for smaller-screen devices
  • Leverage Dashicons instead of icon sprites for crisper experience on all resolutions
  • Big RTL improvements throughout
  • Make the dashboard more usable on any size device with responsive all the things
  • Improve the login screen experience for Internet Explorer 8 users
  • Improve Quick Edit experience for non-English users
  • Improve the Menus experience for mobile users

Themes

  • New Default Theme — Twenty Fourteen
  • Make it possible to check for any post format assigned to a post with has_post_format()
  • Better custom background theme support defaults, can now specify ‘default-repeat’, ‘default-position-x’, and ‘default-attachment’ arguments for background images.
  • Tags for width changed to layout: responsive-layoutfluid-layout, and fixed-layout
  • New tag: accessibility-ready to denote a theme is aware of accessibility best practices such as color contrast, keyboard navigation, and form/link focus. See WP theme accessibility guidelines.
  • Theme screenshots’ size have increased from 600 × 450 to 880 × 660.

Widgets

  • New click-to-add interface for adding widgets to sidebars
  • Improved interface for devices of all resolutions
  • Better drag-and-drop experience

Accessibility

  • Make list table row actions keyboard accessible
  • Improve color contrast throughout the admin

Multisite

  • Improved performance when deleting users in Multisite

The list of what’s new for this version includes a few of those long time coming issues. Cleaning up the admin dashboard has been a long-time desire of mine. I love having the functionality of tons of information, but when it comes to seeing “just the important stuff” when I first login then I am all for those kind of fixes.

Anytime a fix can also improve the performance of the site then that is an added bonus.

Also note that as more and more of the world is going mobile the need for responsive coding in the themes and website structures are going to become even greater. Look for even more changes this coming to themes in the future.

Under The Hood

General

  • Heartbeat performance and API improvements
  • $taxonomy argument was added to each of the adjacent post functions.
  • Define $is_nginx in vars.php
  • Apply capital_P_dangit() to the wp_title filter
  • Make sure ajaxurl is defined in the Customizer
  • validate_active_plugins() now checks the manage_network_plugins capability instead of is_super_admin()
  • Add a show_metabox parameter to register_taxonomy()
  • Make it easier to target video shortcodes by adding a wp-video class to the parent container
  • Add CSSMin, SASS, CSSJanus, and jsHint to build tools for core development

Bug Fixes

  • Fix bug where top-level categories were only redirecting if they had no children
  • Fix bug in wp_get_object_terms() where returned were strings not integers
  • Fix a bug where passing a null value to meta_query resulted in wonkiness with the comparison operator
  • Fix “‘wp_signups’ already exists for query” error after updating a Multisite network
  • Fix bug in get_bookmarks() caused by missing parentheses
  • Fix comment_notification_recipients filter behavior so that it is still respected even on comments left by the post author
  • Fix a date comparison error in dashboard_relative_date()
  • Fix keyboard accessibility for row actions in list tables.
  • Fix no-js and accessibility modes in in the Widgets screen
  • Fix a bug where menus could still be assigned to a non-existent theme location
  • Silence jQuery Migrate errors in the General settings page

Multisite

Classes

Functions

  • Introduce wp_dashboard_quick_press()
  • Introduce wp_dashboard_site_activity()
  • Introduce wp_dashboard_recent_posts()
  • Introduce wp_dashboard_recent_comments()
  • Introduce wp_dashboard_primary_output()
  • Introduce wp_heartbeat_set_suspension()
  • Introduce wp_star_rating()
  • Introduce get_theme_update_available()
  • Introduce wp_prepare_themes_for_js()

 

Actions & Filters

Actions

  • Introduce automatic_updates_complete

Filters

  • Introduce automatic_updates_debug_email
  • Introduce wp_prepare_themes_for_js

External Libraries

  • Add a copyright notice to zxcvbn (password strength meter) script

Deprecated

  • screen_icon()
  • get_screen_icon()
  • wp_dashboard_incoming_links_output()
  • wp_dashboard_secondary_output()
  • wp_dashboard_incoming_links()
  • wp_dashboard_incoming_links_control()
  • wp_dashboard_plugins()
  • wp_dashboard_primary_control()
  • wp_dashboard_recent_comments_control()
  • wp_dashboard_secondary()
  • wp_dashboard_secondary_control()
  • no_update_actions()

Miscellaneous

WordPress devs continue to add a considerable amount of updates and fixes for future development of the WordPress platform. This is a community of developers that understand that programming needs are constantly changing. As the future of WordPress keeps going forward so will the ability to make themes and plugins that will take advantage of new coding practices and features.

Make sure to take a close look at these updates if you are WordPress theme or plugin developer. Knowing how these will affect your own development could mean the difference between fixing a few bugs in your own code or having a full security breached plugin.

Whether your a WordPress developer or not, consider checking out the newest version of WordPress 3.8. You will notice changes compared to your older versions, whether you like them or not will be up to you. In either case, changing the admin panel is not that hard to do and getting a new, secure theme to tinker with is always cool. Have fun with the new version and understand that changes will always keep coming, most of the time they are for the better and are not meant to make your life harder.