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WordPress 4.4 “Clifford”

December has been a big month for WordPress! Right on the heals of WordCamp US 2015, WordPress 4.4, named “Clifford” in honor of jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, was released.  All 38solutions customers have been updated this weekend to the new release.

The most notable features for users will be the addition of responsive images and a new default theme, Twenty Sixteen.  Responsive images will help your site load faster on mobile devices, improving overall performance.

Another new feature is an addition to the oEmbed functionality which now allows WordPress itself to be a source to easily embed posts from one WordPress site to another.  For example, below is the result of just taking the WordPress.org announcement about version 4.4 and copying and pasting the post URL into this post.

WordPress 4.4 “Clifford”

This is a nice way to be able to easily reference another post and still give credit and attribution to the source.

There are some other very important “under the hood” improvements in version 4.4, including:

  • REST API infrastructure
  • Term meta
  • Comment query improvements
  • Term, comment, and network objects

While these don’t mean much to the average WordPress user or site admin, they are very important to WordPress developers. We will be benefiting from these improvements as plugin and theme authors are able to take advantage of the new capabilities.

WordPress 4.3 “Billie”

This past week WordPress 4.3 was released to the community and as of today, all 38solutions sites have been upgraded. As with other releases, WordPress continues to be improved to provide a better user experience. The highlights of 4.3 include:

  • Menus in the customizer – You can now quickly and easily updated your site navigation menu with the site customizer.
  • Formatting shortcuts – Quicker, easier to user shortcuts like # and * allow you to keep typing and formatting on the fly.
  • Site icons – You can now easily update the site icon in the customizer
  • Better passwords –  When changing or creating a password, WordPress now tells you if your password is a strong one.

Watch the overview video here:

You can read the complete release announcement here or get an overview by simply going to http://yoursite.com/wp-admin/about.php

Enjoy the updates!

WordPress 4.2 “Powell”

 

 

WordPress 4.2 was released this past week and all 38solutions clients have been updated to this latest version.

This release focused on communication, sharing, and simplicity. One of my favorite features is the update to the old “press this” bookmark which makes sharing content very easy on your WP site.

This post was in fact created with the Press This feature!  For more details about the release you can refer to the link at the bottom, or go to yoursiteurl.com/wp-admin/about.php.

Source: WordPress › WordPress 4.2 “Powell”

Case Study: Brandywine Valley Baptist Church

This weekend, a new client website went live – Brandywine Valley Baptist Church.

BVBC Home Page

BVBC Home Page

This was a fun project that had several key features including:

This WordPress powered site gives them much more flexibility and ability to make updates quickly and reliably – something their old site did not.  Based on the iThemes Builder framework, the site was customized to the needs of the church including easy to read typography, clean look, and multiple layouts.

SeriesEngineAffiliate_125x125

To enable the key feature of having integrated sermons on the site, I enjoyed getting to implement the Series Engine. This is a premium plugin and the creator has done a great job making it work well with WordPress. It is also user-friendly so that the client can easily use it to keep the site updated with the weekly sermons. As a developer, I enjoyed the ability to style the player and keep a consistant look with the rest of the site.

It is flexible with many ways to customize how the player functions and includes podcasting, social sharing, and easy integration with video hosted on other sites like Vimeo or YouTube. If you have a need to put a collection of audio and/or video messages online – I highly recommend it!

WordPress Event Registration Ticketing Plugin - Event EspressoAnother key component was the ability to have an event calendar with registration, payment and ticketing ability. For this functionality Event Espresso was used. I had recently heard good things about this premium plugin from the WordPress community and I agree – they do a fantastic job giving robust functionality that is still very manageable be the client. There are different add-ons available depending on your needs so you can go light or fully functional.

The site was also set-up with WP multisite capability that they can use in the future to expand various ministry sub-sites. This was my first time really digging in with WPMU and now I can really see the benefits of using the network setup. If need the control of single WordPress administration, but want the flexibility and control that comes with separate sites, multisite is a very good option.