WordPress 3.8 Released. Charlie Parker is Terrific.

Last week, WordPress 3.8 “Parker” was released. “Parker” is named for Charlie Parker – who, honestly, is pretty kick-ass. While this is a good upgrade, I’m not too sure I’d term it as kick-ass as Charlie Parker. All things said, though – it’s a solid release, and the addition of more native mobile support is worth the price of admission.

Responsive WordPress DashboardSo – what does the update entail, and why should you care? Well:

  • Mobile-Ready Dashboard: Like I said, this is worth the update if there were no other features. This bit makes it a snap to administer your WordPress site on a tablet or phone (great for writing posts while you sit in the parking lot, waiting for your kids to finish up whatever it is that kids do…) Previous versions of the WordPress dashboard were a little bit of  a nosebleed when you went mobile (although there are apps,) and this addresses the problem quite admirably.
  • Choose Your Color Theme: Not a really big deal, but it’s always cool to personalize things. This feature allows you to set up the color of the dashboard to better “match your personality.” Unfortunately, there are only 8 themes to choose from, so you’d better hope you’ve got one of those 8 personalities.
  • New Widget Panel: This is pretty nice. The widget options panel has been cleaned up, making for less scrolling and dragging. You can still drag-and-drop widgets, but your can also click to install. This is a MUCH better experience when you’re mobile. When you’re using a desktop or normal browser, it’s not all that fabulous – but it’s a step in the right direction. Now, a built-in WSIWYG editor for widgets would be sweet. But – widgets are getting better.
  • New Style: Looks good. As I mentioned, you can choose your color. The default icons have been updated. It FEELS snappier – but it could just be me. Lots of new fonts and it’s all a little cleaner and more modern – but I never really had much of a problem with the way it was prior to “Parker.”

Should you update? Sure. So far, I’ve not found a real downside. No major incompatibilities that I’ve seen or that I’ve heard reported. The new style is nice, and the mobile feature makes it worth a look, even if there weren’t other additionss. Of course, you should ALWAYS back up your WordPress site and database before you update (Duplicator is pretty great and easy) and make sure that you test after you upgrade – don’t want a broken site turning folks off.

If you need help updating your WordPress site, contact us. We’d be happy to help.

In the meantime, enjoy a little smooth jazz from Charlie Parker. Good stuff. And I’m not a jazz fan. Unless it’s played by Andy Gill.

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