WordPress 3.9 was just released, named ‘Smith’ after famed jazz musician Jimmy Smith. With this new release, comes a substantial list of major improvements to the overall user experience, not to mention a few big changes under the hood.

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So What’s New in WordPress Version 3.9?


Improved Image Editing

Re-sizing and re-scaling images is easier than ever with improvements to the Image Editing tool. This is a pretty big change that should have a big impact on how easy it is work with images.

How To Use It?
To use the new Image Editing feature, just go to a post or page and add an image as usual. Once the image is in there you’ll now be able to re-size your image with your cursor.

Better Text Styling

We’ve all be there, either the text isn’t wrapping around images properly, breaks are not working, or you’re getting extra line breaks. The root cause is usually extra code that was pasted in from a word processing program like MS Word. Version 3.9 addresses this by automatically stripping all that code, leaving you with just the text you want.

How To Use It?
Just copy and paste from your favorite word processing program.

Drag And Drop Images Into Pages

While we’ve been enjoying the ability to drag and drop our images into the Media Library, now you can skip that step and and drag them straight into the page. Combine that with the new image re-sizing feature and suddenly WordPress is a whole different beast. We’re looking forward to seeing more image rich sites being built in the near future.

How To Use It?
Just drag a new image into your page/post editor, resize and align as needed.

View Galleries While In Page Editor

No more boring grey box! Now you can see your gallery while editing a page or post. No need to keeping previewing your gallery every 10 seconds, now all your changes show up immediately.

Audio Video Enhancements

We didn’t get a chance to test this one out, but it’s been clear for awhile that WordPress is putting a bigger effort into providing tools for managing audio and video.

With this latest release, you can now upload and manage audio and video files in much the same way you would with images. Expect musicians to be the first to start migrating, as this looks like a pretty nice low maintenance alternative to platforms like Bandcamp.


Widget Preview Mode

Widgets are already one of the trickiest parts of WordPress for most of our clients. The process usually ends with a palm against the forehead along with a pledge to remember that widgets exist next time.

As a designer and developer, the preview mode looks pretty good. As a guy who teaches WordPress¬†on a regular basis, I’m not to sure about this one.


In Conclusion

It’s nice to see so many major improvements to the layout process. Working with images and dealing with funky text layout is the most frustrating part of learning WordPress. As a developer, it’s easy to forget how poorly these design ‘oversights’ have reflected on WordPress, and it’s nice to see them addressed.

Feel free to leave a comment below and as always, happy WordPressing!

Update: It would seem another sneaky feature is that WordPress is now auto-correcting misspelling of WordPress. Just try not to capitalize that P…we dare you.