WordPress 3.8 Parker features an Updated WordPress Dashboard

WordPress 3.8 Parker was released only a few days ago on December 12th, 2013 and the latest iteration of the world's most popular blogging and content management system has just gotten a major backend design update.  Checkout the refresh below when I updated one of my other websites, CarNewsCafe.

WordPress 3.8 Oscar

wordpress 3.8 parkerThe new WordPress dashboard and backend is much cleaner and seems to be more inline with how a lot of WordPress themes look nowadays.  I imagine this is not a coincidence on the part of Automattic, the company that handles WordPress development.

The new backend uses Open Sans font, which most people probably didn't know about but it works well in the WordPress dashboard.  The idea is to make things less cluttered and easier to read and manage.  In addition icons have been updated and they are now vector based which means they can scale to your screen.  That means they load faster and work better.

Dashboard Color Schemes

wordpress dashboard color schemeIn addition to the udpated look you now have options in terms of what colors you want the WordPress dashboard to look like.  There are currently 8 options to choose from which includes Default, Light, Blue, Coffee, Ectoplasm, Midnight, Ocean, and Sunrise.  The idea is to provide more options and better contrast to be easier on the eyes for WordPress users and admins.

If you have a WordPress website that a lot of different people access, a user can individually choose what WordPress dashboard color scheme they prefer.  A pretty cool update to the backend.

WordPress Twenty Fourteen ‘Magazine' Theme

wordpress twenty fourteenFor WordPress 3.8 Parker there is also a new theme called Twenty Fourteen (2014).  It has the layout of a magazine which seems to be what a lot of people use WordPress for.  The new theme is by far the cleanest default WordPress theme Automattic has come out with.

Other WordPress 3.8 Improvements

In addition to all these cool updates to WordPress 3.8 Parker there are several other nice updates.  This includes better theme management which allows you to see more advanced previews of themes you might want to switch to.  Also the widget menu is easier to handle.

It seems that the WordPress team also has improved the functionality of WordPress for mobile phones and tablets.  Creating and managing posts should be easy no matter what device you are using now.

There are other WordPress tweaks you might notice too.  For instance if you check your plugins page eeactivted plugins are highlighted in white while active plugins are in blue.  (I personally find this confusing.)  Also there is no “Quickpress” in the WordPress dashboard anymore and in it's place you will find a “Quick Draft” box.

wordpress quick draftAt first I was apprehensive about the WordPress 3.8 update since I've been using WordPress for awhile.  Automattic didn't change too much and they make ease-of-use a top priority unlike a lot of other open source software.  After a few days I really like the updated WordPress dashboard and backend.  It is definitely faster and snappy and I imagine that Automattic developers worked hard on improving the WordPress core code to achieve this in addition to reworking the design.  Kudos to everyone that contributed to WordPress 3.8 Parker.

By the way WordPress 3.8 was codenamed “Parker ” after the great Alto saxophone player, Charlie Parker.  Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress, likes to use Jazz musicians to codename WordPress releases since he is Alto saxophone player.  WordPress 3.6 Oscar was named for Oscar Peterson and WordPress 3.7 Basie was named after Count Basie.  Matt Mullenweg and these these other Jazz giants might be great musicians but they don't have singing dogs. 🙂

If you haven't updated you WordPress website(s) or blog(s) to WordPress 3.8 I would recommend you do it to enjoy the new features.  I would encourage you to make a backup of your WordPress installations before you pupated though.   You never know what might happen in an update and it is always a smart precaution.

If you are used WordPress 3.8 Parker are you thoughts about the updated and new dashboard?  Do you love it or hate it?

WordPress 3.6 Oscar gets Groovy New Features

WordPress 3.6 Oscar was released at the beginning of August and as with every new WordPress iteration, the most popular content management system (CMS) just keeps getting better and better.  Leaving those other CMS frameworks behind. (cough, Joomla, cough, Drupal.)

Checkout this video that Automattic, the company behind WordPress, released to showcase the new features and updates with WordPress 3.6 Oscar.  The video made it's debut at the 2013 State of the Word presentation at WordCamp San Francisco which is given my Matt Mullenwegg, the creator of WordPress each year.

As you can see there have been quite a lot of updates going on behind-the-scenes with WordPress.  Notable new features include;

Article Locking

wordpress post lockingOn WordPress sites with many users you will now see the above screen if you try to edit an article another user is working on.  It's helpful for blogs and news sites that have many concurrent users.  This prevents someone from correcting styling changes or typos the original author might know is there but hasn't had a chance to go in and fix yet.  Saving time and hassle for everyone.

For those that are the sole writer on their blogs or website, this isn't a feature that you will find useful I assume.   Of course you might in the future.

wordpress article locking

Better Revision Control

If an editor does take over a post you can always see who is editing with live updates in the list of posts.  WordPress 3.6 also separates versions revisions by different authors so you know who wrote what.

WordPress 3.6 Oscar makes seeing your own revisions easy by highlighting text in snazzy colors.  You can also go back in time and compare different versions of your article to see what you like and didn't like.  This should allow you to be confident to explore and have writing freedom but gives you piece of mind you can still retrieve an old post if you liked it better.

Autosave

WordPress now automatically Autosaves posts so worrying about losing that great paragraph you wrote is not a concern anymore.  Your content is safe whether your power goes out or you accidentally navigate away from your post.

Default Theme – Twenty Thirteen

Automattic has released a new default theme named Twenty Thirteen.  The idea to to put the focus on content by having a single column.  The design is inspired by modern art and has great fonts, bold colors, and a flexible layout.  In addition the theme is more mobile optimized and should look great on any device whether that is your desktop, mobile phone, or tablet.

Media Embedding and Support

wordpress 3.6 oscarThis is probably what most WordPress bloggers and users are most happy about with WordPress 3.6 I imagine.  There is improved media support and embedding with a built in HTML5 media player now.  This makes uploading files to your site and embedding them in posts a lot easier in WordPress 3.6 Oscar.  All you do is paste the URL where the MP3 or video files is located, and boom, you are done.  This means all those plugins you used to need to use to attach MP3 files are not really needed anymore.  Also you can now embed music from SoundCloud, Spotify, and Rdio.  (No, that is not a typo in case you are wondering.)

WordPress 3.6 Oscar

Well there are a lot of other great features in WordPress 3.6 that I could go on about these are the most important ones that most people will use I assume.  I could go on and on about new improvements and how awesome WordPress is.  It's just awesome they keep making Groovy changes and updates..

What do you think of WordPress 3.6 Oscar?  Do you love the new features?  If yes, what is your favorite new feature and why?

[Source – WordPress News Blog]

WordPress makes it easy to Embed Vine Videos

embed vine videosWordPress, the largest blog and content mangement platform around, has now made it hella easy to embed Vine Videos.  Now you can just take Vine.co URLs and paste them into WordPress and the videos will display in posts.  (The Vine video app is a Twitter backed start-up that allow users to shoot short 6-second videos and share on the web.  Vine has been quite popular among celebrities and social media junkies.)  The announcement was made about a week ago via an email WordPress sent out and on the WordPress.com blog.

To embed Vine videos it is a simple process.  Just take a Vine.co video URL and make sure to include “https” in front of the Vine URL and it will embed into a WordPress post.  Wordpress also allows you to specifcy width and height when embedding Vine videos.  Here is an example using one of my Vine video URLs;

If you don't feel like adding or specifying the width and height of a Vine video it will deafult to what is allowed by your theme.  In addition WordPress allows you to add a postcard parameter to the shortcode.

WordPress already has the functionality to embed videos from other video websites such as Youtube, Vimeo, DailyMotion, etc. by just pasting in the URL when you are writing posts.  (Of course sometimes WordPress doesn't like to cooperate and you need to embed the video code manually or it just won't work.)  Now with the ability to embed Vine videos WordPress is continuing to make the platform easier and more on the cutting edge with the changing tides of social media.

Recently Instagram, the widely popular photo sharing app, launched a video service to compete with the Vine app.  What would use Instagram video over Vine though?  They allow videos to be up to 15 seconds instead of only 6 seconds on Vine.

The news of Automattic adding this functionality to WordPress seems to have turned the tables in Vine app's favor, at least for now.  Of course I assume the Instagram video team is working right now on adding video functionality and maybe even with the Automattic.  For now though you can embed Vine videos in WordPress only.

The annoying thing thing about the Vine app is you can't login the video service on a desktop browser.  This makes it a bit difficult if all you want to do is go grab a Vine video URL to embed into WordPress.  You have to share the video on another social network, then grab the Vine URL to post it.  Probably not a huge issue for some people but it is something that I think could be improved.

 

What do you think of this news about Vine?  Are you going to be embedding Vine videos on your WordPress blog?

[Source – WordPress.com Blog]

Automattic buys Lean Domain Search and acquihires Matt Mazur

matt mazurAutomattic, the company behind WordPress, recently bought Lean Domain Search to add to the WordPress.com blogging platform.  The news was announced via the Lean Domain Search blog a couple days ago by Matt Mazur, who started and built the domain name generator.

You might remember that last month I wrote that Lean Domain Search shuttered the Brandable Domain Generator and Domain Name Trends offerings.  In addition Matt Mazur moved the website from a freemium model to being completely free.

This news makes sense as I assume Automattic mainly wants Matt to focus on integrating Lean Domain Search with their products and helping improve the WordPress blog platform.  The acquisition is being pegged as an “acquihire” which refers to when tech firms buy companies not necessarily for the products but the team that built it.  Typically in an acquihire the larger tech company will shutdown the original product and integrate it with whatever offering they want or need.

While a few of Lean Domain Search's useful offeings have been shutdown as far as I can tell Automattic has no plans to shutter Lean Domain Search and the plan is to integrate the platform with WordPress.com.  Currently users of WordPress.com can buy a domain name for $13 a and can map to their subdomain blog on WordPress to their domain.  There is no domain generating tool on the free blogging platform but that will obviously change in the next few months.

It's not clear whether Automattic bought Lightstone Software along with Preceden, a timeline maker that is another one of Matt's offerings. As far as I can tell there are no plans to shutter Preceden.  There is no word on whether Precden will be integrated with Worpdress or what Matt has planned for the timeline maker.  (I sent Matt an email to clarify but have not heard back.)

In my opinion this was a smart move for Automattic and Worpress as finding a good domain name can prevent a lot of people from starting a blog or website.  (I know since I get emails about it all the time.)  Automattic can get the benefit of people using Lean Domain Search on Worpdress.com and collect affiliate revenue when people use the site.  Since WordPress is 10 years old now they seem to be making more decisions like a tech giant.  It will be interesting to see what other acquisitions Automattic will make in the future.

While the news is impressive for a service that was built by a single guy, unfortunately impressing Matt Mazur's family with news that you are making news proved to be challenging.

Congrats to Matt and I am sure he will be a valuable asset to Automattic and the WordPress team.