The team at WordPress has just released the second update in their new plugin-first development process. WordPress 3.8, in keeping with the jazz musician theme, has been codenamed “Parker” for saxophonist, Charlie Parker.
I highly recommend you update the WordPress Core immediately. Not only will this give you access to the new features, it will also go some way to helping combat various security issues.
There are a few major enhancements in this version of WordPress. Parker comes with a several major improvements especially in its design elements. There is also a great looking new default theme, Twenty Fourteen.
Let’s take a look at a few of these new features.
The New Dashboard Design
The WordPress dashboard has been given a completely new and modern look. The design has taken away the multiple shades of grey that has been common for so long and instead replaced it with a bold, clean design.
The typography has been replaced with an Open Sans typeface to make the text far friendlier and cleaner. This improves both the mobile and desktop viewing experience.
Not only has the dashboard been given a design makeover, there is now a way to completely change the color scheme of the admin area on a per profile basis. With the addition of 8 new colorful options you can now make your dashboard a more personal experience.
The Twenty Fourteen Theme
It’s been a couple of versions since we were given a new default theme. However, the wait for Twenty Fourteen was absolutely worth it and I think this is the best default themes we’ve ever been given.
This is a really modern, clean and professional looking theme. It utilizes a left hand sidebar that can be used for navigation as well as standard widget usage.
There is an excellent featured content section that displays at the top of the home page. The items in this section can be managed using a single tag and can be styled to use a grid based post system or a slider.
It won’t be for everyone, but as with Twenty Thirteen, I’m happy to see Automattic making bold decisions with their default themes.
Parker is packed with new features. The themes page allows you to quickly see all of your installed themes, and clicking on each one opens a window with greater detail about that theme. This makes the whole theme selection process much cleaner.
A great deal of work has gone in to improving the widget page in the dashboard. Previously, widget management was a little awkward. There was a lot of dragging items around the page. Now when you click on a widget you are given a list of locations it can be used. Simply clicking on that location will add the widget. You can then open that widgetized area and order them as normal.
This is a superb new version of WordPress and one I think everyone is going to enjoy. I highly recommend you install it as soon as possible and play around with the number of new features.
This update to 3.8 will not happen automatically as it’s a major software revision, so you will have to install it manually (or of course using ManageWP ;-)). You can download the update from WordPress.org.
Let us know what you think of Parker in the comments.