WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” Released

photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image
photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Image

After nearly four months of development, WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” in honor of jazz singer Dinah Washington, is available for download. Led by John Blackbourn, 4.1 contains several improvements such as a new default theme, an improved distraction free writing experience, and plugin recommendations.

Twenty Fifteen

New Default Theme For 2015
New Default Theme For 2015

Twenty Fifteen is a two-column theme with a focus on content. In sharp contrast to Twenty Fourteen, Twenty Fifteen is light in color with a left hand sidebar and content in the right column. It’s designed with a mobile first approach and looks great on various screen sizes. Twenty Fifteen looks best when using large, featured images. It also ships with five different color schemes, ranging from dark to pink that are accessible from within the theme customizer.

Plugin Recommendations

Plugins Recommended To Me Based on Data of Sites with Similar Plugins Installed
Plugins Recommended To Me Based on Data of Sites with Similar Plugins Installed

When you browse to the Add New plugins screen, you’ll see a new Recommended tab. Recommendations are based on data from thousands of WordPress sites about plugins that are commonly used together. It’s similar to an online store’s “people who bought this also bought this” feature.  Because of the strict data set used, plugins that are 3-4 years old or older won’t be recommended.

Improved Distraction Free Writing

Distraction Free Writing in WordPress 4.1
Distraction Free Writing in WordPress 4.1

When you enable Distraction Free Writing mode, the surrounding interface disappears as you type leaving important actions and menu items just a mouse movement away. This mode minimizes distractions without having to go through a clunky transition to access the admin menu or meta boxes. To bring back the menu and meta boxes, move the mouse cursor to the left or right of the editor.

Log Out of Every Session With One Button

WordPress Session UI
WordPress Session UI

WordPress 4.1 includes a new Session UI. The UI shows up on the profile page when WordPress detects more than one active session. When pressed, the button logs out of every session except for the active one. This is useful for those times when users might have forgotten to log off from a laptop, phone, or public computer.

Inline Image Editing

Inline Image Editing Tools
Inline Image Editing Tools

When editing an image using the Visual editor, a set of inline editing tools appear above the image. These tools provide a quick and easy way to align an image or access additional editing options.

oEmbed Support Added For Vine

WordPress 4.1 has oEmbed support for Vine which hosts short videos that continuously loop. Sharing a Vine is now as easy as copying and pasting the URL into the Visual editor.

Choose a Different Language at Any Time

Site Language Picker in WordPress 4.1
Site Language Picker in WordPress 4.1

You can now choose a language for your site at any time by visiting the General Settings screen. Choosing a different language installs the required language pack.

Developer Items

Metadata, date, and term queries now support advanced conditional logic, like nested clauses and multiple operators. There are a couple of new Template tags and a major improvement with Title Tags in 4.1. There have also been several improvements to the Customizer API, including contextual panels, sections, and JavaScript templates for controls.

4.1 Represents Continued Improvement

WordPress 4.1 is the product of dedicated developers and 283 contributors. The ability to choose a language without having to touch a line of code is a great improvement. The default theme is refreshing compared to Twenty Fourteen and users have an entire year to manipulate the design. While some users will see the new Distraction Free Writing mode as a distraction, others will enjoy its convenience.

This is one of the first major WordPress releases in a long time that doesn’t have a video walk through. To take its place, here is a video featuring songs from Dinah Washington in 1954.

What do you think of the new default theme and will you try out the new Distraction Free Writing mode? Let us know what you think of 4.1 in the comments.

25 Comments


  1. It’s that time again – thanks for the heads up Jeff.
    I’ll wait for the auto updates to arrive.

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    1. This is a major release, so unless you have auto updates turned on for major releases, then your site will not automatically update.

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      1. Yeah, manual update as in “press one button”. I certainly don’t miss the old days of “manual update”. ;)

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  2. What I really miss is dedicated work on the Front-End Editor. The development is even on hold :-(

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    1. Yeah, work has pretty much stopped on that front. In about a week or two, there will likely be a discussion on feature plugins to consider for 4.2. I’ll try and make the meeting and ask on the status of Front End Editor as a lot of people are looking forward to using it.

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  3. There have also been several improvements to the Customizer API
    Are there any new Customizer features from what was added in WordPress 4.0 or you´re talking about those?

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  4. The language packs are really cool. Now you can have a multi-lingual website without having to use a plugin.

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  5. Was the JSON API included in this release? I can’t find any info about it, but thought it was supposed to be released in 4.1.

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    1. To the best of my knowledge, this has been pushed back to the next release. It is still available and functional via the official JSON plug-in though. Many are already using it in production.

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  6. Wasn’t distraction-free mode already available? Looks like they added a few buttons, but hardly a major feature to tout in this release. It was basically already there in WordPress. Why is this so special? It’s hard to get excited when everything is under the hood and a few shiny gimmicks are tacked-on. I hope 4.2 will have something substantial to crow about. Front-side editing would be a good start.

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    1. Yes, it was already available, but it’s been revamped and that’s why it’s touted as a new feature more or less versus a small enhancement. I understand the feeling that 4.1 is more incremental in terms of updates but it’s an improvement none the less.

      I’m looking forward to 4.2 but with a look at the Feature Plugins list, I don’t see anything that will be ready to be merged in the 4.2 dev cycle. https://make.wordpress.org/core/features-as-plugins/ Unfortunately, Front End Editor development is on hold.

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  7. Thanks for the heads up Jeff. The one click update worked fine for me – do you have a sense how many people take the belt braces approach by backing up their database before clicking the update button as WP advise? Or do you think the majority hit and hope?

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    1. I certainly hope that people backup despite the slim chance of an auto update going south. However, I’m willing to bet that A LOT of people click and pray lol.

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      1. I would bet that a vast majority of users do this. Would be great if the update script made a copy of the database and emailed it to the site admin before it did the update, just in case.

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  8. I’ve noticed since updating that when I go to “add media” I can no longer post just a single photo. The only options are to create a gallery. Do you know how to change this?

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  9. To me, as a blogger, any major release is an excitement. I’m glad that WordPress makes it more and more easy for blogger to play with our blogs.
    I don’t usually see the same excitement from developers though :)
    Oh, I made an infographic to better visualize the new features in WordPress 4.1 here: http://goo.gl/jO6XKX

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  10. Just updated to 4.1 and right off the bat I noticed that the text in the editor is different. The sucks balls, I was use to writing in the other editor’s text style and size.

    Where can I lodge my complaints, and get a refund?

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  11. Just kidding on that last comment :)

    What I was meant to say was: any way of changing the text editor style? or should I stop being a sook and just get use to it?

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