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WordPress 4.3 Has Been Released: Here’s What You Need to Know

A new major version of WordPress was released on Wednesday. WordPress 4.3, “Billie”, introduces some cool new features into WordPress that you’re really going to love.

Since version 1.0 of WordPress was first released in 2004, and named after Miles Davisevery major version since has been named after a popular jazz musician. 4.3 is no exception, as it’s named after the amazingly talented Billie Holiday. Get into the right frame of mind by listening to Billie Holiday on Rdio while you read the rest of this article.

WordPress 4.3 Overview

We recently decided that with each new major release of WordPress, we’d publish an overview of all the things that are changing with the new version. We want to highlight the shiny and new, while keeping you informed about things that could potentially be confusing or problematic.

We want our customers and readers to be in the know!

Billie

The WordPress team has put together a great video showing how some of the new enhancements in WordPress 4.3 might be used in a real world scenario. This is more opinion than anything, but I love how the video shows using the new WordPress features in the context of a restaurant owner updating her website for her daily menu.

A lot of the time developers get so caught up in code, that we forget about the end goal, which is improving the WordPress experience for users. The video is really nicely done and definitely worth watching if you have a few minutes to spare.

WordPress Menus in the Customizer

WordPress Menus can now be accessed from Appearance –> Menus where they’ve always been, but in 4.3 they can now be accessed from the WordPress Customizer too. When the decision was made to move menus to the customizer, there was a pretty big uproar from a number of people in the WordPress community.

I decided to take more of a “wait and see” approach because I figured things could end up really great, or really messy depending on how the change was implemented. The way that menus have been added into the customizer is really nice. The flow feels extremely natural, and a big step up from the dragging and dropping we’ve been used to.

I put together a video tutorial to walk you through all of the ins and outs of the menus feature and you can watch it below.

Better Passwords

We love this new addition! Now, by default, when you add a new user to your WordPress site, a strong and secure password is automatically generated for that user. Even more, instead of emailing the new password to the new user, WordPress simply emails that new user a password reset link.

WordPress 4.3 Strong Password Screenshot
Strong Password Screenshot courtesy of WordPress.org

This solves the problem of users being sent new passwords insecurely via email, and also makes sure that none of us fall into the trap of using one of those ridiculously easy-to-hack passwords. It’s a great new feature from a security standpoint, and should not only help ensure best practices, but should really cut down on the number of successful brute force hacks that can happen against WordPress sites.

Text Formatting Shortcuts

Another really neat feature that was introduced in WordPress 4.3 is the ability to format text while you type. That means you can add headings, quotes, bulleted lists, and numbered lists, without clicking anything in the text editor. You can do it all automatically as you type.

WordPress 4.3 Text Shortcuts

Use the key below to learn the shortcuts for each individual item text format

Quotes – Start a line with the > symbol and then type your quote and hit return
Headings (H2 tags in HTML) – Start your heading with two pound symbols ## and then hit return at the end of your heading.
Numbered list – You can start a numbered list by typing 1. or 1)
Bulleted list – You can start a bulleted list with a * or - symbol. Hit enter on your keyboard to add a new item to a list, and hit enter twice to exist the list format and start a new paragraph.

Note: In order for text formats to work properly you need to start each section with the symbols I listed above.

Additional Reading

I’ve gone over the main changes that you’re going to notice when you upgrade, but they definitely aren’t the only changes. A lot of improvements have taken place under the hood in WordPress 4.3, and there are a few other minor improvements that I haven’t mentioned either. If you’d like a more in depth look at the changes that have happened in WordPress 4.3, check out the awesome resources below.

If we have any questions about this major WordPress release, hit us up in the comments and we’ll be more than happy to help you get answers.

Also, remember, if you’re a WP Site Care customer, we’ll handle the entire upgrade process for you with a white glove approach, ensuring your website continues to run smoothly and that your theme and WordPress plugins are compatible with the latest release. If you’re not a WP Site Customer, you can check out the different plans we offer right here.

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