WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” Released, Introduces Custom Logos, Responsive Previews, Improved Editing Experience

photo credit: BBC Radio
photo credit: BBC Radio

WordPress 4.5 was released today, named in honor of Coleman Hawkins, an American jazz tenor saxophonist. Hawkins was one of the first musicians to establish the tenor saxophone as a jazz horn. Compared to other major releases, this one is short on show-stopping features but keeps WordPress on the path of steady, incremental improvements.

Most of the updates for users focus on making WordPress content easier to format, edit, and customize. Here are a few of the highlights.

Custom Logos: Native Support for a Theme Logo

WordPress 4.5 introduces native support for a theme logo with code borrowed from Jetpack’s implementation. When a theme declares support for a custom logo, an upload form is added under the Site Identity panel of the customizer.

Image credit: Ryan Boren
Image credit: Ryan Boren

This feature is a big win for theme developers, as they now have a standard way of including support for a logo. When they opt to follow core’s implementation, users will always know where to find the logo upload.

“Given the hundreds of themes with their own implementation, it makes sense that core would standardize this,” said WordPress Theme Review Team admin Justin Tadlock. “The concept has been well tested for years in themes (and Jetpack). It’s a natural progression that core would get it, just like core standardized post classes, body classes, featured images, and other features that started out in the theme space. There’s an obvious need for it.”

Customizer Improvements: Live Responsive Previews and Selective Refresh

Selective refresh is one of the under-the-hood updates to the customizer that makes a big difference for users. It makes previews more instant, instead of reloading the entire preview for each setting change. This is a much needed improvement that gives the customizer the true live preview experience that it was previously lacking.

“Selective refresh is a hybrid preview mechanism that has the performance benefit of not having to refresh the entire preview window,” Customizer component maintainer Weston Ruter said. “This was previously available with JS-applied postMessage previews, but selective refresh also improves the accuracy of the previewed change while reducing the amount of code you have to write; it also makes it possible to do performant previews that would previously been practically impossible.”

After updating your site to 4.5, you can see a live example of selective refresh when editing menus. All core themes and core widgets now support selective refresh and users should see major performance improvements.

This release also makes it easier for users to customize their sites with mobile devices in mind. It adds buttons to the customizer controls footer that enable desktop, tablet, and phone-sized device previews. Instead of having to test the site on different devices, users can see a live preview of how the design will respond while making changes.

customize-device-preview

Improvements to Formatting and Editing Content

WordPress 4.5 adds a more intuitive interface for editing inline links in the visual editor. The interface detects if a user is entering a URL or attempting to search for one. The updated search uses jQuery UI Autocomplete to populate existing content as the user is typing.

links-modal

This release also adds more formatting shortcuts to the existing ones for lists and headings. You can now use shortcuts for horizontal lines and code tags.

formatting-shortcuts

Developers who utilize the REST API infrastructure will want to take note of a breaking change in this release that could potentially cause issues with plugins that depend on the API. The changes break backwards compatibility for the sake of fixing a bug regarding slashed data.

Other noteworthy updates include:

  • Improvements to comment moderation screen with visual enhancements and a maximum length for comment form fields
  • Performance enhancements for images: Increased compression makes images load up to 50% faster with no noticeable quality loss
  • Enhanced script loader: Better support for script header/footer dependencies, new wp_add_inline_script() enables adding extra code to registered scripts
  • Better embed templates: these are now split into parts and can be customized by themes using the template hierarchy

The 4.5 release was led by Mike Schroder and deputies Mel Choyce and Adam Silverstein. Schroder coordinated the efforts of 286 volunteers who contributed to WordPress 4.5. Check out the video for a quick overview of the highlights of this release:

38 Comments


  1. Login with the email is a cool change. There is still a lot of space for more improvements in this area. I hope it’s just a start around user management and soon the whole admin/backend and bar for every logged in user can be killed. Maybe one beautiful day that historical thing like username will not be required at all.

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  2. Really appreciate all the hard work by Mike Schroder, Adam Silverstein, Mel Choyce and the many contributors who improved the Customizer and WordPress. Great to see the Customizer improve with every release. Nice work Team 4.5!

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  3. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the Customizer, but I love the selective refresh feature in it now.

    Should note though, selective refresh functionality needs to be implemented by the plugin and enabled by the theme. It doesn’t happen out-of-the box.

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  4. I’ll admit, I’m being swayed by a simple way for theme users to upload a logo. This means anyone can download a theme and get to work with a reasonable amount of branding (logo and tagline).

    There should probably be some guidelines on what shape of logo to best use (wide or tall) with that theme and some minimum size guidelines. Still theme users paying attention will see quickly enough if they are on track.

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  5. WTF? Updated to Coleman and my site’s logo just vanished… Help!

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    1. I have the same issue.

      It seems the wp_get_attachment_image_src() function does not properly return image urls anymore.

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  6. Formatting shortcuts are going to be very useful for technical blogs. Is there a list of these supported shortcuts? Do you guys have any suggestions for a plugin for code snippets?

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  7. Does anyone know if there is a plugin to revert to the previous inline link editor? The new way seems to be extra work if I need to no follow links or if I’ve been editing link text in the link editor.

    Plus there seems to be a couple bugs with it especially with it’s placement in the editor. I’ve already had the inline editor remain in the same place when I’ve clicked an already in place link and then display the next link URL and it’s very unclear which link it’s actually pointing to. Also when using the shortcut ctrl + K to bring up the editor, it automatically inserts a placeholder link even if you go to the full editor and then cancel out of it if something was selected.

    Personally, this feels like this was a nice idea in some cases, but actually is more fancy than useful and wasn’t fully tested in all possible use cases. I realize I’m probably in the minority here, but I’m hoping someone will develop a plugin to just go back to the previous style that allowed for more control, especially to linking out to things instead of internally.

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    1. The new way seems to be extra work if I need to no follow links or if I’ve been editing link text in the link editor.

      I happen to agree. Couple extra clicks needed now in order to better search for related articles or have links open in new windows. I suspect it will take a bit of getting used to.

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      1. There have still been many bugs that I’ve been experiencing with it. This is especially important when needing to add nofollow links with affiliate links as Google now requires. I think this was put in place for a specific kind of creation process that doesn’t apply to everyone and it would be helpful to be able to turn off the “feature.”

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    2. Let me add with more use of the new inline link editor that many times the editor will not dismiss, so if I don’t want the editor in place because it covers something, it will not disappear even if I click another link.

      If it’s blank by the time I go to the link editor it will put a _wp_link_placeholder as html even if it’s just to then try to dismiss the link editor.

      Again I don’t know what kind of testing was done on this and what use cases (and I don’t have a site that I can run betas on so testing wasn’t an option) but this seems flawed at best.

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      1. I realize I’m mostly shouting into the void on this one, but it looks like as part of the bugs, if the link editor gets stuck, or is still active and you try to to go a new link, even though when you go to save the draft it shows as an active link, the link is completely removed. You have to make sure the link editor is not active and quickly save to make sure that it will keep the necessary links. Also if you go back to the advanced link editor and make changes that also may remove the link. Of course some of this looks like this is only made worse in Chrome but I will have to test more.

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    3. Please please please, if you do find a way to send this so called “improvement” back to where it came from, let me know. It really messes with my workflow. It just time consuming and for those who don’t need to intensely use internal links it’s exactly the opposite of an improvement.

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      1. Ricardo, I’ve been having that same issue. It’s not really designed for for those that need more control over their links and it still has been buggy.
        It requires sometimes multiple clicks around to actually get the inline link editor in the right place and you have to double check that no other additional html changes have been inserted. So far, I’ve not found any solution to the issue though I’m hoping that because the change over is recent enough that either it will be fixed or a plugin solution is still being developed by someone. So far my best solution has to been to edit the links in the HTML view which defaults to the advanced editor, the only issue being that you have to click the link button instead of using keyboard shortcuts.

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  8. First, Thanks to the devs for their hard work!

    And anybody facing problem with visual composer plugin? My site got broken and all thumbnails vanished! I just made a search and found many people facing this problem.

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    1. It’s inline, so there is no need for “close” icon, as you can just click anywhere and that “inline” disappear.
      Anyway the “Apply” icon is confusing.

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      1. The new inline link editing tool is VERY confusing.

        I also regret it very much that when selecting an e-mail address it doesn’t automatically applies “mailto:the_adres” anymore.

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      2. ” you can just click anywhere and that “inline” disappear.” — Not here. I would love to find where to click to make it disappear forever though.

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      3. I can attest that the inline editor doesn’t always disappear with a click.
        It will either stay or have you click another link to have it disappear.
        Sometimes when you click another link, the editor will stay in the same place and fill in with the info with the newly clicked link. So sometimes to get it to properly disappear it requires 2 or 3 clicks. Definitely not thought out.

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  9. The extra click to get to the link modal and choose ‘open link in new window’ is an annoyance with this update.

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  10. After updating to Coleman, all spoilers in my web have lost their functions. It won’t display the content when it is clicked. Is this a plugin problem (shortcodes ultimate) ? Theme problem? or WordPress new version bug problem? Is there any way to revert back / roll back to previous version of wordpress? I need my site to function just like it did yesterday. Update the wordpress, and this thing happened. Any suggestion will be very helpful. Thank you.

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  11. The inline editing looks like a very small cosmetic change. I don’t see how this is any different from cut and pasting in a link the old way. You still click the button above to open the feature to type in the link. I haven’t tried it yet so maybe I’m just not seeing it from the video.

    As a non-developer, and someone who just runs my own sites, there just isn’t anything in this update that seems to make any real change to WordPress. Are they just updating the version for the sake of updating it on schedule now?

    I’m not meaning this as a complaint. Just a puzzled observation. There are other things which I’ve posted to the forums about but don’t get a reply (more functions for PressThis and a fix for the way it continues to double upload images, etc.) and no one else seems to consider them important. But, this new inline thing… that mattered?

    Embedding social media is really low on my list too. I don’t really want more bloated stuff slowing up my site and having to be fussed over when it stops working. I skip it and just do a screen capture if I really want to show something from Twitter.

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    1. Embedding is lot more friendly than screen captures. You can’t interact with a screen captures.

      Embedding tweets is nothing new in 4.5. It has just been extended a bit.

      For users, 4.5 have enhanced the customizer, it updates faster (somewhat dependent on theme support) and you have the new device preview feature.

      Some changes and enhancements under the hood will be benefits in the long run, if not immediately after upgrade.

      Expect themes and plugins to gradually adopt the changes made, and make your experience better.

      Don’t expect WordPress core updates to come with a lot of shiny new features for each release. Just think of WP REST API. Noting to see, but it’s still very important in the long run.

      But plugins and themes may do a lot of things in a much better way for each core update. WordPress development is trying to prepare for future demands.

      WordPress is becoming more like an operating system, like Android, iOS, OSX, Linux or Windows. When they update, you might not see any real and immediate change. But your apps will change and become more powerful over time.

      298 contributors didn’t just do cosmetics.

      Have you filed a bug report for your problem with PressThis?

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  12. After a significant release (4.4), I find this one to be quite underwhelming. Only theme logo support saves this one for me.

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  13. Underwhelming releases which refine existing features, quash bugs and optimise core code are exactly what WordPress needs in two out of three release cycles. Personally I’m very impressed that much was fixed and very few production sites were broken. A big thumbs up for version 4.5.

    Improving script loading/dependencies and recalibrating the image compression to use ImageMagick at higher compression levels are significant improvements.

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  14. I personally liked ‘login with email’ feature. Anyone know if we can make it for subscribers only so that administrator still log in with unique username?

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  15. Has anyone had the issue of the images not loading on 4.5 and is there a fix please

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  16. HI! THE VISUAL COMPOSER PLUG IN DOESNT WORK AND THEREFORE I CANT EDIT MY SITE!!!!

    this is a mayor downside to this upgrade. Im going back!! PLEASE FIX

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    1. You have to fix that, update that plugin or/and contact a developer of that thing. PLEASE

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    2. That’s a problem with Visual Composer, not the release. Honestly, you probably shouldn’t be using Visual Composer to begin with. The overwhelming majority of issues I see on client sites (usually causing massive slowdowns) are caused by Visual Composer.

      Simply put, Visual Composer can go die in a fire.

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    3. Diana, WordPress versions are maintained for security fixes for two or three years. The last secure version of WordPress is 3.7.13. I don’t recommend that anyone go that far back as 3.7 will be dropped any day soon, but any version from 4.0 on still has at least a year of life in it.

      To apply this information to your particular case, you should downgrade and stay on the 4.4 release until Visual Composer is updated to work with 4.5. Personally I wouldn’t build a site with Visual Composer but that’s an entirely different question.

      Good luck!

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