WordPress 3.9 – It’s new! It’s shiney! Let’s review!

by | Apr 23, 2014 | WordPress Tutorials

You may have noticed that you’ve got a new update this week. When you login to your WordPress dashboard, you’ll see this notification:

WordPress 3.9 review

Interested to know what’s changed before you click “Update Now”?

Here’s my WordPress 3.9 review

Touted to “close the gap between your vision and your content,” this WordPress version sees most of the changes take place in your page and post visual editor. For a lot of you out there, this comes as a major relief!

Major features:

  • Improvements to the visual editor
  • Enhanced image editing tools
  • Drag and drop image uploads directly to the visual editor
  • Gallery, audio, and video playlist previews in the visual editor
  • Improved widget interface
  • Redesigned visual theme browser

Most of these features attempt to make what you see when you edit your posts in your visual editor look more like what it will look like when you publish the content live.

My favourite feature of WordPress 3.9

The improvements to the paste option in the visual editor. Have you ever copied and pasted text from a word processor program (ahem, Word), only to end up with a bunch of gobbily-gook in your post? I get numerous support requests on this one. My answer always was “If you are going to copy and paste from Word, either paste into the text editor or use the ‘paste from word’ function in your visual editor’s kitchen sink.” Not anymore! WordPress 3.9 now automagically cleans up all that nasty word processor’s code so that you are free to style your text with your themes defaults. YAY!

Images, galleries, and playlists, oh my!

I just love how I can simply drag and drop images into the visual editor and it opens up the “Insert Media” screen. Try it out – it saves clicks which makes workflow that much quicker. WordPress 3.9 also has a built in playlist feature so that, like a gallery, you can display audio and video within your page or post as a playlist. Just drag and drop music tracks (that you have the license to use) into your visual editor. The insert media screen will start uploading your files. Once your files have uploaded, click “Create Audio Playlist,” select your files, re-order the tracks by dragging and dropping them, and finally choose to “Create a New Playlist.”

Insert an audio playlist into WordPress 3.9

Next choose whether or not to Show Track list, Show Artist Name in Track list, or Show Images, then click “Insert Audio Playlist.” Click on the play button below to hear the music – how much fun is this?

Wonderful widgets

The widget interface is much improved: click on a widget to choose which widget area it is assigned to (instead of dragging and dropping it which sometimes could cause problems for some track pad devices).

Improved widget interface in WordPress 3.9

Now you can also preview what a widget change will look like before you commit it by using the Theme Customizer. To find the it, click on Appearance -> Customize.

Preview widget changes in WordPress 3.9 theme customizer

So that’s my quick WordPress 3.9 review – I kinda like it. Remember, before you update backup your files and database!

What do you think? Are you ready to upgrade to WordPress 3.9? What makes you most happy about this latest release? Let me know in the comments below!

More resources on the new WordPress 3.9 release: