WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” has arrived and is as good as expected.

I love the inline links feature, allowing me to quickly create links to content while never leaving the text. There are also a number of great text shortcuts for formatting content.

The custom logo feature is a long-overdue feature. One note, it doesn’t work with all themes.

If you haven’t already updated, you should.

WordPress 4.5 is shaping up to be another great update.

This version is expected to be released on April 12, 2016. Currently, it’s out of beta and in Release Candidate phase.

I’ve been playing with it on a non-production site and I’m quite pleased with some of the new features and performance. Some of the more notable new features are:

  • Responsive preview (mobile, tablet and desktop) of your website in the Customizer
  • Inline link editing
  • Theme logo support (finally!)
  • Image generation optimization

I’ve found a few bugs when using some 3rd party plugins (e.g., PageBuilder) but I fully expect those to be resolved by the 4.5 release.

Still no word on what jazz artist this version will be named after!

It’s all about the writing with this release.

WordPress 4.1, named Dinah after jazz singer Dinah Washington, has new features which put an emphasis on writing.

This version also comes with the new Twenty Fifteen theme, which also put content in the spotlight.

One of my favorite features of this new theme is the distraction-free mode. When turned on, this mode pulls out of the way all other elements of the interface that do not relate to just writing. Very clean and zen-like.

Another winner from the folks at WordPress!

This version of WordPress really does close the gap between editing and publishing.

The updated visual editor is speedy, accessible and now quite good on mobile devices. I love this improvement because it means I can post and edit my WordPress websites from my phone when I’m traveling. Also, the editor can now paste from Word documents without introducing all that crap that MicroSoft loves to bring along.

This version also plays nicely with video and audio files, so those of you out there who like to sprinkle video and podcasts into your websites will be smiling at this improvement.

The theme browser now lets you fully explore the intricate details of themes before activating.

“Smith”, after jazz organist Jimmy Smith, is outstanding. Be sure to update to 3.9.1 for latest fixes and security.

Named for Charlie Parker, this WordPress release is outstanding.

It offers a smartly designed admin interface that is simple, clean and intuitive. You can now also customize the admin interface with 8 new color schemes.

There is improved theme management too. And speaking of themes, the Twenty Fourteen theme is included with this release. It’s a beautiful magazine-style theme with grid or slider options and 3 new widget areas.

This new release is awesome and I highly recommend it.

A Child theme is an important concept in WordPress web development.

The idea is simple. Create a theme that inherits the functionality of a Parent theme and allows you to modify or add to the functionality of that Parent theme. But, at the same time, the Child theme is protected from changes (updates) to that Parent theme. That way, when you customize the CSS on your theme, it isn’t destroyed each time an updated version of that theme is released.

As part of a new video series called Video Chow (see free sign up in sidebar), I have created a quick video demonstrating one very easy way to create a Child theme for your WordPress website. Just to give you a taste of one of these quick, focused, and fun videos, check it out below.

Sign up, and I’ll send these informative Video Chow videos straight to your face!

Enjoy.

WordPress 3.4 (“Green” for jazz master Grant Green) is now released with some great new features.

It has some significant improvements on the ability to customize themes, custom headers, Twitter embed functionality, and a nice image caption capability. I recommend you upgrade to WordPress 3.4 as soon as possible.

Check out the video on WordPress 3.4 features:

WordPress 3.4 Download

Note: There are also theme updates to the Twenty-Ten and Twenty-Eleven themes.

MacSpeech DictateI’ve recently discovered something that I’d like to share in this post. It’s a tool that has been around for a while, but I haven’t seen it used in this way before. In fact, I am using this tool right now to create this post.

That tool is MacSpeech Dictate. (There is also a PC equivalent called Dragon Naturally Speaking.)

I never learned to type properly so I’ve never been particularly fast on the keyboard.  Now with MacSpeech Dictate it’s like I’m a Mavis Beacon typing Pro. I am pleasantly surprised by the high degree of accuracy from MacSpeech Dictate, especially if you take a few minutes to train the system with your voice.

I typically listen to music while I am working. This can cause problems with MacSpeech Dictate if you tend to want to crank your speakers up while working. But one easy workaround is to simply output your music to your headphones while you are dictating. MacSpeech Dictate comes with a nice Plantronics headset. And I found that I can listen to music on headphones and dictate with a very high degree of accuracy.

I am very much enjoying creating blog posts now by dictating. I have noticed one thing though. My writing style seems to take on a more informal tone when I am dictating. This could be a good thing. I think my writing sounds more like I’m having a conversation now.

I encourage you to experiment with dictating blog posts. Not only could it be a more efficient way to create posts, but it may also create a warmer tone to your writing.

I’ve updated my ebook (see right sidebar) to include some of the great new features in WordPress 3.3. Here’s an updated video tutorial on setting the permalinks in WordPress 3.3.

 

This episode of WordPress Quick Tips demonstrates how to create a static front page in WordPress and move the posts to another page.

Enjoy!