03 Jan

The Latest WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan” Is Sassy Indeed

Before the year 2017 knocked on our door, WordPress released their new update, as is tradition. They named it after jazz diva Sarah Sassy Vaughan. Adequate enough, for the reasons you’ll come to understand the moment you press “Update”. (Be sure to backup before that, though.)

The default theme is beautiful

As always, first comes the feeling, that almost palpable impression that you get from all things new and cool. WordPress tried really hard to improve their users’ feelings and impressions with this new update. When you check out the new default theme, you’ll see you can almost use it as a screensaver (remember what that was?). It presents you with a huge image stretching from edge to edge and from top to bottom of your screen. Upload an image or a video as your header (if you don’t have it, pick one from Youtube or Vimeo), and lean back in your armchair near the fireplace to fully enjoy the atmosphere of your minimalist home or office. If you want to press pause, there is a button to do that as well. Although, presumably, you won’t need it often.

Everything’s getting visual these days. Not just plain visual, but HD visual. WordPress has definitely decided to go with this fad, so they made a very trendy (and completely free!) default 2017 theme. Modern websites tend to enact pure, high-quality imagery, with little to almost no text. They are so beautiful you could stare at them all day long. They are so stylish you could hang them on the wall.

What will people say?
While we’re at that, let’s try to anticipate a few possible reactions to this concept. It will probably gain a lot of new users. It is perfect for small businesses — it was intended for this use in the first place. Think about restaurant owners’ sites and imagine those juicy and yummy food porn close-ups rolling down their pages… However, if the main values of your enterprise are delivered through textual stories, you might find it hard to implement this into a theme whose main asset is imagery. Not all of internet users are watchers. There are some passionate readers as well as people who like to get information black-on-white.

Whether you choose this new theme or stay with the old one(s), there are a couple of more WP novelties you will discover soon enough. When you upload a .pdf file, it will display as a thumbnail generated from the first page. So, basically, your document will look, and be perceived, like an image. A list of PDFs turns into a gallery of images that develop into PDFs by the power of a click. Awesome, isn’t it?

Enough with the fanciness. What’s inside of it?
The non-geek users will wanna know that they can’t just go on with forgetting to type the alt text for the images. WordPress used to fill in the gaps automatically with the name of the image. However, it won’t do it anymore, so you have to manually enter the text if you want your image to be read and indexed by Google.

Let’s jump to a piece of bad news for fans of the underlining button. You won’t be able to do it anymore. (Actually you will, but you’ll have to look for a plugin, e. g. TinyMCE Advanced, to make it possible.) A less important fact is that the tools have been rearranged, according to their levels of popularity and frequency of use. I can live with that.

Furthermore, this WordPress is more intuitive than ever. Newbs will love this, as they can setup their new blog or website in virtually a couple of minutes, by replacing the placeholder pieces of Lorem ipsum… text with their own text and imagery. They needn’t fret they wouldn’t be able to figure out what’s what. There are actual blue edit shortcuts. Everything already works, they only have to personalize it a bit, and eventually make bigger changes when they see fit.

Geeks will also have a reason or two to welcome this approach because now they can try out new visual solutions by copy-pasting their additional CSS into the Customizer and see what happens on the right side of the screen, where there’s a real-time preview of all the changes. Everything gets checked up simultaneously and there’s no need for refreshing the page. We don’t have to be rookies to appraise the practical use of this feature. It saves us time (and loads of clicks for refreshing).

There’s a specialty for the developers as well. The REST API content endpoints are added to the core, so they can safely control the interaction with other sites.

All of this was brought to us thanks to the effort of 482 contributors from all over the world.

So the year Twenty Seventeen may begin.

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