What to Know Before Updating to WordPress 4.5

Andrea Ferguson

President at AndiSites Inc.
Andi is founder and President of AndiSites Inc. She writes about website design and development, best practices, and random stuff her busy brain thinks would be useful.
Andrea Ferguson

On April 12, 2016, WordPress Version 4.5, named for jazz musician Coleman Hawkins, was released to the public. Here are the highlights:

User-Level Improvements

  • Inline Linking:  Create links within your content without leaving the edit screen.
  • Formatting Shortcuts:  More options for formatting give you more control over the appearance of your content.
  • Live Responsive Previews:  Easily preview your site in mobile, tablet, and desktop views.
  • Custom Logos:  Replace the WordPress login screen logo with your own to keep your online brand consistent.

 


Geek-Level Improvements

  • Smart Image Resizing:  Resized images generated within WordPress now load up to 50% faster with no noticeable quality loss. (This is huge, by the way.)
  • Selective Refresh:  By rendering parts of the preview in the Customizer without rewriting all of the PHP code in JavaScript, “live” previews appear more quickly.
  • Script Loader Improvements:  JavaScripts and CSS are combined, and wp_add_inline_script() enables adding extra code to registered scripts without slowing things down.
  • Better Embed Templates:  Embeds (including iframes and oEmbed) are more robust and easier to customize.
  • JavaScript Library Updates:  jQuery, jQuery Migrate, Backbone, and Underscore 1.8.3 are updated and bundled.

What You Need to Know About Updating to WordPress 4.5

  • You may see more warning messages.  The WP Database code no longer suppresses warning messages automatically. This is intentional, so that users and hosts can easily find and fix configuration issues. However, they shouldn’t show up in live sites. If you see warning messages, check your wp-config.php file and make sure that the WP_DEBUG setting is set to “false”, and also check that your hosting system has the PHP “display_errors” setting disabled.
  • Plugins may not work properly. As always, whenever you update the core, be sure to update your plugins as well. However, note that not all plugins are ready for WordPress 4.5. If you have an important plugin that isn’t 4.5-ready yet, hold off on updating the core.
  • The whole thing may go boom. Some themes (especially those purchased on ThemeForest, including Divi, Exhibit, and The Fox) may not have been updated yet for 4.5. Contact your theme author to see when the theme will be updated so that you can schedule your core update accordingly.
  • You don’t need to panic.  As always, the WordPress developers are constantly improving the core software based on user feedback, bug reports, and their own fanatical testing (some little fixes to 4.5 will be released soon). Assuming you’ve properly backed up your site before updating, you can always roll back if applying the core update doesn’t work for you. And if you need assistance with the updating process or have any questions, friendly help is available.
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