Have You Updated WordPress?

Unbelievable as it may seem, there are plenty of WordPress users who do not upgrade their installations to the latest version when they are released. This post should encourage every WordPress site administrator to Update WordPress as soon as possible.

There may be a number of reasons why you might want to upgrade WordPress, including:

  • A security fix has been released
  • Some useful new functionality has become available
  • You have seen a message at the top of your Dashboard telling you that a new release is available

The latest version of WordPress (3.4.1 at time of writing) comes with an impressive array of improvements including embedded Tweets, custom header from Media Library, and performance boosts under the hood, and of course all the latest security patches to ensure that your Blog is as secure as it can be.

Twitter Embeds
This is a great new feature which allows you to share Tweets with style. You can now embed individual tweets in posts, so that you can make a feature of a reference to another author or micro-blogger, or just highlight one of your own. Great for your personal marketing!

It includes action links that allow readers to reply to, retweet, and favorite the tweet, all without leaving your site. To use the feature, all you have to do is paste a tweet URL on its own line. When you save the post, it will look something like this:

This works with URLs from some other sites, too. For more, see the Codex article on Embeds.

Choose from Media Library
This useful feature of Custom Headers allows you to choose header images from your media library to customize your theme, rather than having to upload the same custom header image every time you check out a new theme.

Live Theme Previews
It is now possible to try out new themes and update the header and background before the theme is activated. This removes the panic to update those details as soon as you activate a new theme. Please note that this feature is only available for installed themes.

You can also use the live preview mode to customize your current theme by using the Customize link on the Themes screen.

Flexible Header Image Sizes
If your theme supports the feature, you can now decide for yourself how tall or wide your custom header image should be. From now on, themes will provide a recommended image size for custom headers rather than a fixed requirement.

Please note that not all current themes will support this feature, so contact your theme designer and ask them for the latest version of your theme.

Performance Boosts
Among the Performance Boosts available in the latest release of WordPress are the following:

  • Faster WP_Query – Post queries have been optimized to improve performance, especially for sites with large databases.
  • Faster Translations – The number of strings loaded in the WordPress front end has been greatly reduced, resulting in faster front page load times for localized installations. Also provides better support for East Asian languages, right-to-left languages, theme translations, and more.
  • Themes API – Key procedures in WordPress (WP_Theme, wp_get_themes(), wp_get_theme()) are faster, uses less memory, and makes use of persistent caching.

For more information about WordPress see WordPress Codex – Updating WordPress