WordPress 4.3 “Billie” Named After Jazz Singer Billie Holiday Is Available for Download

After four months of development led by Konstantin Obenland, WordPress 4.3 “Billie” named after jazz singer Billie Holiday, is available for download. This release features menus in the customizer, strong passwords by default, site icons, and variety of other improvements.

Menus in the Customizer

You can now create, add, and edit menus in the customizer while previewing changes to your site in real-time. Unlike other parts of the customizer, previewing menus should be fast as it uses a new hybrid transport layer. Weston Ruter, who contributed to fast previews in the customizer explains the approach.

We also wanted to enable fast previewing of menu changes by default. So we implemented a postMessage/refresh hybrid approach which uses postMessage to sync the menus settings to the preview, and then the preview does an Ajax request to render just the contents of the menu container, and this Ajax response is then inserted into the DOM to replace the previous menu container. The technical name for this approach we have been calling ‘partial refresh’, but you can call it fast preview.

In general, previewing menus in most themes should be a fast experience.

Menu Customizer
Menu Customizer

Strong Passwords by Default

Mark Jaquith led the effort to improve the way passwords are chosen and changed in WordPress. On the account management page, clicking the Generate Password button generates a strong password by default. The password strength meter is better integrated into the password field which lets users know immediately when their password is weak.

Better Passwords in WordPress
Better Passwords in WordPress

The same interface is on the add new user screen, the password reset screen, and the WordPress install screen. While WordPress doesn’t require users to have a strong password, it does everything it can to encourage users to choose one.

In addition, WordPress no longer emails passwords and password reset links expire after 24 hours. When your password or e-mail changes, WordPress sends you an email so if someone hijacks your browser session and changes these items, you’ll be notified that it happened, and you can take action. You can disable these e-mails via the send_pass_change_email and send_email_change_email filters by setting them to false.

Site Icons

Site Icons are images that represent a website across multiple platforms. You can configure your Site Icon in the Site Identity panel within the customizer where you can upload a 512X512 sized image. This image will be used for browsers, iOS, Android, and Microsoft devices when a visitor bookmarks your site.

Site Icons in The Customizer
Site Icons in The Customizer

Text Patterns, Quick Link Toolbar, and Word Count Changes

The editor in WordPress 4.3 has undergone more improvements with text shortcuts, a quick link toolbar, and word count changes. Text patterns or text shortcuts allow you to quickly add unordered lists, ordered lists, headers, and blockquotes without having to use a mouse.

When starting a new paragraph with one of these formatting shortcuts followed by a space, the formatting will be applied automatically. Press Backspace or Escape to undo.

In the visual editor in WordPress 4.3, typing * or - and hitting the space bar will generate a bulleted list. Typing 1.  or  1) and hitting space will generate a numbered list. If you don’t want to create these lists or do so in error, clicking the undo button or hitting ctrl/cmd+z or esc will undo the text pattern.

Starting a paragraph with two to six number signs # will convert the paragraph to a heading. Similarly, the greater-than symbol > will convert the paragraph to a blockquote.

  • ## = H2
  • ### = H3
  • #### = H4
  • ##### = H5
  • ###### = H6

Quick Link Preview Toolbar

When you click a link in the WordPress 4.3 visual editor, a small inline link toolbar displays the full URL with buttons to edit or remove it. This avoids having to use the Insert/edit link modal window.

Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3
Preview Links in The Visual Editor WordPress 4.3

Word and character counts have also changed in WordPress 4.3. Instead of updating counts when pressing enter or return, it will refresh when you stop typing. A lot more characters that shouldn’t be counted as words are excluded. Ella Iseulde Van Dorpe, WordPress core contributor, lists other notable changes.

Changes to the Admin Bar

WordPress 4.3 moves the Customize link to the top-level menu of the admin bar. This link opens the customizer, allowing you to manage menus, appearance, and widgets through the customizer interface.

WordPress 4.2 Admin Bar
WordPress 4.2 Admin Bar
WP43AdminBar
WordPress 4.3 Admin Bar

The Dashboard, Themes, Widgets, and Menus links take users to their corresponding admin pages in the backend of WordPress. This makes it clear which interface users are about to enter. The enhancement is a result of ticket #32678 where Helen Hou-Sandí and other WordPress core contributors discussed ways to improve the context of each link over the course of five weeks.

Noteworthy Changes

WordPress 4.3 is the result of hundreds of paid and non-paid volunteers working tirelessly to improve the software used on more than 24% of the web. If you experience any issues with WordPress 4.3, please report them on the support forums. Volunteers are watching support threads closely and if warranted, will create a thread listing known issues.

To enjoy the full upgrade experience, I encourage you to listen to Lady sings The Blues by Billie Holiday as you upgrade your WordPress sites.

38 Comments


  1. Thanks for the heads up and the overview Jeff.
    I’ll watch the comments and see if there are any problems before I update.

    Are there any security fixes in this release?

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  2. Awesome WordPress core Team! Had been enjoying the updates in nightly builds, will love experiencing it in live websites!!

    As a publisher, I am mostly excited about the editor changes such as text patterns that will make it easy to format content.

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  3. I upgraded one of my sites and review the following error:

    [18-Aug-2015 20:59:05 UTC] PHP Fatal error: Cannot redeclare wp_richedit_pre() (previously declared in /home/xxx/public_html/wp-includes/formatting.php:3096) in /home/xxx/public_html/wp-includes/deprecated.php on line 3608

    All plugins disabled.

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      1. Jan and Otto … thank you for much for the reply. Yes, that is how I repaired it last night … I downloaded the updated and overwrote the wp-includes directory, which got me back into the dashboard.

        From there, WP let me know I could update lol

        I did the update again, was prompted update the db and it worked. Appreciate your answers. They were the right ones!

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  4. So, the publicity says that the site icon can be set from the admin area. I can only find it in the customizer, after it loads the front end? Pre-release discussions seem to sguuest it would be either in the Appearance menu or in the General Settings menu, but it isn’t in either? Am I going blind (a distinct possibility)?

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      1. Most of the “back-end” functionality that currently exists will be migrated to the Customizer over time. Might take several more releases, but the truth is that the Customizer is far more user friendly than having separate front and back ends for a modern website.

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    1. Yes – please tell us what it did! I am very reluctant to upgrade until I read a LOT about what breaks.

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  5. destroyed 4 WordPress sites
    examples ;-(

    one
    Fatal error: Cannot redeclare wp_richedit_pre() (previously declared in /home/purposek/public_html/wp-includes/formatting.php:3096) in /home/purposek/public_html/wp-includes/deprecated.php on line 3608

    two
    Fatal error: Call to undefined function _deprecated_constructor() in /home/paddling/public_html/wp-includes/widgets.php on line 176

    Report


    1. Are they on the same server? Maybe you have permission errors, and the updater fails to remove/replace old files.

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      1. all on same server, most passed ok about five failed.
        manual updates fixed issue

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  6. Surprised to see a few popular themes & plugins didn’t update in time for the WP_Widget constructor deprecation changes.

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  7. fixed with manual upgrade. upgraded about 35 sites and 5 failed in total via managewp

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  8. Jeff, thanks for the review. Many great features.

    But seems like the new version breaks many sites. People should wait with upgrade.

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    1. I can imagine that the download servers are quite busy, which can give problems with updating. Just a guess.

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      1. Thanks Otto, I have cleared WP Super Cache only. Clearing CloudFlare fixed the icons. Cheers!

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  9. Ah, Customise. Another menu bar option I need to work out how to hide. I mean, I’m sure it’s helpful but how about being able to easily reorder lots of Pages without resorting to a plugin? There used tyo be a note about how poor / difficult this was to do on the edit screen, years ago.

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  10. Great update by the WordPress team! Some of the smaller tweaks such as comments being turned off on pages by default are a big win for new users.

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  11. Has the missing “Get shortlink” for scheduled posts returned in this upgrade?

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  12. I’m having major problems with 4.3. I use a static front page, and the blog homepage normally at home.php or page-blog.php.

    The following functions (and all their variations) no longer work properly in the loop in the blog homepage on any of my sites –

    the_title
    the_excerpt
    the_permalink

    If I create a WP_Query object inside any page template, let’s say just to pull the last 10 posts, then all the titles and permalink URLs will be identical, and $post->ID (inside the loop) no longer pulls the individual post ID, but instead pulls the ‘main’ page ID, so every post in the archive now outputs the same value for post id, the same title, and the same link.

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  13. I see where they were going with the text pattern/shortcuts, but sometimes I don’t want my numbers to create lists. For instance, we have several posts where we’re using numbers in headlines and we don’t want them to indent as in a list. Is there a way to override this shortcut?

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  14. After this update all javascript on my site ceased working. It seems that ba lot of people have reported this idssue butI can’t find a olution to my problem.

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  15. How do I undo the “upgrade”? It changed y home page and removed some things I had on it.

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  16. I can no longer disable wpautop…anyone know a workaround? I hate having WordPress replace my code with a lot of p tags.

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