WordPress 4.0 Benny Now Available for Download

WordPress 4.0 “Benny” was released today, named for American jazz and swing musician Benny Goodman, also known as the “King of Swing.”

Development for 4.0 kicked off at the end of April, led by Helen Hou-Sandí. This release includes hundreds of refinements and a few brand new features, culminating in a more polished media and editing experience. You’ll also find some exciting new tools for developers. Here’s a quick overview of what’s new.

New Media Grid View


The WordPress media library has a beautiful new default grid view. When you click on an item, the attachment details will launch a preview that allows you to easily edit and navigate items in your library. Media is now easier to manage with the “bulk select” option which enables you to delete multiple items at once.

Improved Writing Experience


Composing in WordPress has never been better. The visual editor now expands to fit your content, instead of the awkward scrollbar you used to see within the content area. The editing experience is smoother with a fixed toolbar as you scroll, which means your tools will follow you as your content expands.

oEmbed Previews

WordPress 4.0 adds oEmbed support for TED talks, Mixcloud, CollegeHumor.com, Issuu, Polldaddy’s short URL format, YouTube playlist URLs. The visual editor now displays previews of media added via on oEmbed URL. The video above is included on the 4.0 about page, demonstrating oEmbed previews in action.

Refreshed Plugin Install and Search Experience


WordPress 4.0 makes it much easier to search for plugins in the admin. The plugin installer now displays plugin as cards in a grid view. Plugin authors can add custom icons that will appear in the installer. Clicking on a listing launches the plugin details modal with a description, ratings, reviews, compatibility information and more.

Improved Language Support


This release adds major internationalization improvements to the software. Language selection is now available at installation and language management has been streamlined in the dashboard.

What’s new under the hood?

WordPress 4.0 also includes an exciting array of new developer goodies. Here are a few of the highlights:

Customizer API

This release adds a new Panels API that enables developers to group customizer controls into sections. It also includes support for contextual controls that will be visible or hidden based on the page the user is viewing. The improved customizer offers a wider array of controls and parameters that allow developers to extend it for more varied uses beyond themes.

Query Ordering

WordPress 4.0 includes a more powerful ORDER BY argument for developers working with WP_Query. Developers can now pass an array to WP_Query as the value for orderby for more flexible and precise querying.

External Libraries

This major release includes updates for libraries used in WordPress, including TinyMCE 4.1.3, jQuery 1.11.1, MediaElement 2.15.

You can find the full list of all the changes on the 4.0 release page, which was created by volunteers from the docs team.

WordPress 4.0 is the result of the tireless efforts of 275 contributors. If code is poetry, then this release is a skillfully-written sonnet that resolves problem spots and introduces new tools that users will love. Once you update, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without these improvements. Visit your WordPress site and navigate to Dashboard > Update to get 4.0 and take advantage of all the shiny new features.


18 responses to “WordPress 4.0 Benny Now Available for Download”

  1. I am just curious about installing the new version and test all of these improvements but unfortunately, I don’t want to have any downtime. Before I update to new version, I want to install it locally on my computer to ensure the update will not conflict with any plugin.

  2. While I do appreciate the new features and tweaks, I wish that the next major release would mainly concentrate on refactoring and optimizing the existing code to make it run faster and more efficiently.

    Am I the only one?

    • You’re certainly not the only one!

      There are several long-standing bugs that seem just to have been ignored.

      And, while it was good to see some effort put into improving security in the last minor release, that too normally seems to figure low in priorities.

      To be frank, WordPress is becoming a bit of a bloated beast. I even wonder whether, if it continues to focus on shiny instead of functional, someone might fork the whole project.


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