Wordpress-38-themeWordPress is a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), which means that it is constantly being updated and revised. The newest version of WordPress, version 3.8, was released in December 2013 and includes a number of significant upgrades. This blog series will discuss some of the more technical aspects of WordPress and how we at Blue Zenith utilize the features that WordPress provides us.

Changes To Themes

Installing, customizing and administering the theme of a WordPress-powered website or blog has always been one of the most important tasks of a WordPress administrator, and is what we do at Blue Zenith Web Design. The theme controls not only the look, feel, and design of a website, but it also profoundly affects the functionality and usability. As themes grow older, it is important to update and maintain or even replace them if necessary, as older themes can feel outdated and neglected while newer themes are perceived to be modern and aesthetically-pleasing. Not can outdated themes be an eyesore, but they can also pose security risks and can restrict your ability to install and properly utilize the latest widgets and plugins. If you have an old theme that needs to be reviewed, contact us and we’ll be happy to take a look.

Improved Theme Management

WordPress version 3.8 includes significant improvements to the theme selection and management options. Every aspect of this section of the admin area has been revised and improved. Administrators can now review the themes they have installed “at a glance” and can scroll more easily through their theme collection while also differentiating between themes with responsive, fluid and fixed layouts, as well as themes that are accessibility-ready.

Default Themes

Each WordPress release includes a default theme, which is automatically activated when WordPress is initially installed. This theme has always been an important and popular theme for many bloggers who may not have the time, willingness or resources to install and maintain new themes. This theme is therefore chosen by the WordPress developers based on the fact that it will be used by a wide and diverse number of WordPress users and therefore must be highly adaptable and interoperable. For these reasons, we at Blue Zenith use the latest default theme for testing new plugins.

Twenty Fourteen

Version 3.8 includes the newest default WordPress theme, Twenty Fourteen. An important distinction between Twenty Fourteen and previous default themes is the layout. Previous default themes were designed for standard blog layouts, usually with a heavy emphasis on text-based content. Twenty Fourteen is designed with a “magazine” layout, meaning that the layout is optimized for text, images and video and is designed to resemble a modern online magazine. This represents a fundamental shift away from traditional text-heavy blogging to a new, responsive layout that can accommodate a diverse range of media.

To read up more on WordPress 3.8, check out the WordPress.org blog.

A Look Towards The Future

As of March 11, 2014, WordPress 3.9 Beta 1 was released. This is the newest major release and so far includes many new and exciting features. However, since it is still in beta, some of the features may change or be dropped altogether from the final version. Some of the features that have been announced are the audio/video playlists that work with the media uploader, an improved ‘add new theme’ screen, and a live widget preview in the theme customizer. Read more about WordPress 3.9 here.