WordPress 4.4 Beta 1 Released

After more than eight weeks in development, WordPress 4.4. beta 1 is available for testing. With over 1,600 commits since WordPress 4.3’s release, it’s important that 4.4 be tested by as many people as possible.

Commits are bug fixes, additional functions or filters, new features, corrected typos, and anything inbetween. As a rule of thumb, think of commits as an incremental improvement to WordPress core.

There are three new distinct user facing features in WordPress 4.4.

  • Twenty Sixteen – Twenty Sixteen is a new default theme with a simple layout and color scheme designed by Takashi Irie, who also designed the Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen default themes.
  • Responsive Images – WordPress will automatically deliver a more appropriate image to users depending on a variety of conditions like screen size, view port size, and screen resolution.
  • oEmbed Posts – In addition to YouTube, WordCamp.TV and other whitelisted providers, users will be able to easily embed content from almost any site that supports the oEmbed standard, including WordPress sites.

Scott Taylor, who is leading the 4.4 development cycle, gives developers at least four reasons to be excited.

  • REST API (phase 1) — The underlying infrastructure of the WordPress REST API plugin is included in WordPress 4.4. Plugin authors can take advantage of this by adding custom endpoints.
  • Term Metadata — Taxonomy term metadata is included in WordPress 4.4. Developers who are using a plugin to implement term metadata should read this post on how to prepare for the switch. Also, the underlying WP_Term class improves caching when working with terms.
  • Improved <title> outputwp_title() is deprecated; WordPress will handle the rendering of the document title automatically.
  • Comments — Comment queries are now split for performance. Also, the underlying WP_Comment class improves caching and introduces strong-typing. (#8071#32619)

Users are highly encouraged to test WordPress 4.4 and report bugs to the Alpha/Beta section of the support forums. Remember, the beta is software still in development and therefor not recommend for use on a production site. WordPress 4.4 is scheduled for release on December 8th.

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