WordPress 3.9 is now at the Release Candidate (RC1) stage, with the full release scheduled for 16th April 2014.
As usual Plugin and theme authors are being encouraged to carry out testing, and in particular to look out for issues around TinyMCE and MySQLi. The later is unlikely to trouble most end users, but the changes to TinyMCE are quite noticeable.
Here’s What is New in WordPress 3.9
Improved Image Handling
This is a really welcome change. Previously if you clicked the “edit image” button you were taken to a new page, which then had to be saved before returning to the post editor, which then need to be updated. This can be confusing if you work with several tabs open. The entire process is now handled without leaving the page.
Clicking “Edit Original” now keeps the existing screen open and presents the image editor:
Upload Image with Drag & Drop:
Another great time saver. Whilst in the visual editor just drag in an image and it is automatically uploaded.
Live Previews for Photo Galleries.
This adds a preview to the gallery section whilst a post is still in draft. So the image details screen now looks like this:
These changed are a consequence of the upgrade to TinyMCE 4.0 and carry other more subtle enhancements; such as improved pasting from Microsoft Word.
Theme Customiser Adds Live Widget Previews.
Whilst working in the live preview pane of the customiser we can add and edit widgets whilst seeing the effects in real time:
Enhancements to Theme Selection.
The theme selector gets another makeover. Now clicking on a theme brings up a very informative (and stylish) popup with a preview and full details of the theme. The option to try a live preview are still there, along with the delete button.
Video and Audio Playlists.
Something of a niche feature, but WordPress 3.9 brings the ability to add video and audio playlists, in just the same way as you add an image gallery. Theme developers can add ID3 functionality to collect album covers and information. One for the band
So whilst WordPress 3.9 does not necessarily bring jaw-dropping new features, there is plenty in there for users to be excited about. If you’re eager for new features and sexy add-ons then you will likely have to wait for WordPress 4.0, possibly as soon as August!