WordPress 4.2 “Powell” Now Available

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Just two days after the dev team released WordPress 4.1.2 security release, they released the stable version of WordPress 4.2 “Powell” – named after jazz pianist Bud Powell. Users can now download or update to this latest version.

Here’s a short video introducing the latest features included in WordPress 4.2

Most of the new features/updates included in WordPress 4.2 Powell emphasize enabling users to be able to communicate and share, globally. One of them is the new and improved Press This. If you aren’t familiar with or haven’t used it before, you can access it via the Tools menu on your WordPress dashboard. Then you add Press This to your web browser’s bookmark bar or to your mobile device’s home screen. Once you already have it installed, you can easily & quickly share anything you like on the web such as videos, photos as well as articles.

Another improved feature is the Extended Character Support. WordPress powers 23% of the internet, meaning it is used by millions of people from different parts of the globe and many of them write or blog in their native language. This latest version supports a host of new characters out-of-the-box such as native Chinese, Japanese & Korean characters, musical & mathematical symbols and also hieroglyphs.

If you don’t use any of those characters, you can still take advantage and have fun using emoji which is now supported and included in this version of WordPress. Check out this link to learn more on how to use emoji on WordPress.

OTHER NOTABLE FEATURES & UPDATES

  • Switch themes in the Customizer – Allows the user to browse and preview installed themes right from the Customizer so that they can be sure that the theme looks great with their content before they showcase it on their site.
  • Even more embeds – Users can now past links from sites like Tumblr.com and Kickstarter which will automagically appear right inside the editor.
  • Streamlined plugin updates – No more boring loading screens. With the streamlined plugin updates, all you need to do is click Update and watch the magic happen.

UNDER THE HOOD IMPROVEMENTS

  • utf8mb4 support – Database character encoding has changed from utf8 to utf8mb4, which adds support for a whole range of new 4-byte characters.
  • JavaScript accessibility – You can now send audible notifications to screen readers in JavaScript with wp.a11y.speak(). Pass it a string, and an update will be sent to a dedicated ARIA live notifications area.
  • Shared term splitting – Terms shared across multiple taxonomies will be split when one of them is updated. Find out more in the Plugin Developer Handbook.
  • Complex query ordering – WP_Query, WP_Comment_Query, and WP_User_Query now support complex ordering with named meta query clauses.

I just upgraded my blog to WordPress 4.2 this morning and the upgrade process went smoothly, so far no issues or conflicts with any of the plugins I’m using. If you plan on installing the latest version of WordPress, before you upgrade make sure that you back up all important files such as the wp-config.php, wp-content folder (themes, plugins, etc.), .htaccess file and other custom files. Then as another safety precaution, make sure to deactivate all active plugins before upgrading. Doing this can help you avoid or minimize any problems or conflicts.

This is not a security release so it’s not a high priority to install this version unless of course, you’re still running a very old version of WordPress. If you already have WordPress 4.1.2, then you’ll be fine and you can wait a while before upgrading to WordPress 4.2.

Anyone else upgraded to WordPress 4.2 Powell? Did you experience any problems or conflicts with your setup – theme or plugins? What new features or improvements do you like the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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