At first glance there are neither dramatic changes, nor stunning innovations in this version. However, we noticed a few very nice improvements and optimizations, as this time they are not aimed at content creators, but are more developer-oriented.
✮ The New Default Theme is Twenty Sixteen
New year, new design!
Each year WordPress releases a new default theme.
The interesting thing about the new theme is that you can not only modify its color, but it is also completely responsive and simply makes your content shine. This means that your web content looks equally good on any mobile device, and there is no need to use a mobile compatibility plugin.
✮ Responsive Images
WordPress 4.4 adds a responsive image support feature.
When a new image is uploaded to the library, WordPress automatically creates several sizes of that image.
All of the generated versions of the source image will be described using the srcset and sizes attributes, which WordPress will automatically add to the <img /> tag.
This is an additional HTML code, recognized by almost all modern browsers. If this code is available on the web page, browsers choose which image version is most appropriate to load and display.
You can check if an image is responsive or if it bears any additional information in the page source code. For example:
<img class="alignnone wp-image-14 size-medium" src="/myimage-300x229.png" alt="myimage" width="300" height="229" srcset="/myimage-300x229.png 300w, /myimage.png 430w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 85vw, 300px" />
✮ Embedding Data from External Sources
The feature for embedding data from external websites (oEmbed) is quite extended. Now you can embed content from more than one external source. The news is that WordPress 4.4. supports a feature for content suggesting. This content will be an external source for other websites. The post in a WordPress blog will now be embeddable in any other WordPress blog or even as another post in the same blog.
The content in a WordPress article is embeddable from any website offering the oEmbed database and is in compliance with the security regulations. To embed an article from another WordPress blog, simply paste the external article URL on a new line.
You can preview how the embedded article will look like here: New Embeds Feature in WordPress 4.4 (where the embedded article is Feature Plugin Merge Proposal: oEmbed).
The way embedded content will be displayed depends on the template style you have set (wp-includes/embed-template.php). This file is located on the website providing the content.
You can use the Disable Embeds plugin if you wish to deactivate this feature and you have already updated to WordPress 4.4. The plugin deactivates the oEmbed feature, so neither will your articles be embedded, nor will you be able to embed posts from external sources.
✮ REST API (Phase 1 – Infrastructure)
Infrastructure is the first stage of integrating and supporting REST API in WordPress.REST (Representational State Transfer) is a software architectural style while Web is the largest distributed system using this style. The REST style offers a basic set of constraints to the design of components in a distributed hypermedia system that can lead to a higher-performing and more maintainable architecture. REST is most often used as an architectural style for web services.
✮ Taxonomy Term Metadata
WordPress 4.4 now supports adding metadata to categories and tags, for example to icons, colors, etc. If you are already using a plugin for adding metadata to categories and tags you can check the following article: Preparing your plugins and your client sites for termmeta
✮ Comment System
Comments are now handled by distributing SQL queries when taking them out from the database. Comments will load faster and more easily.
Many improvements are performed on the theme setup page.
✮ A Better Way to Generate Document Titles
Before clicking the “Update to 4.4” button to automatically update WordPress, we highly recommend that you make a full website backup, just in case!