WordPress 4.4 is here but WordPress 4.5 is on its way.

Back in early December 2015 WordPress 4.4, named “Clifford” after the Jazz musician “Clifford Brown”, made its public appearance for general release. So what have we noticed so far and what would we like in the new 4.5 release which is scheduled for April 2016.
As with previous releases on the cusp of a new year this WordPress 4.4 came packed with new features, improvements and introduced the new default theme “Twenty Sixteen” which is a clean design for blogging accompanied by a simple responsive UI.
Some features which we have found interesting with 4.4 so far are the “View Page” button had disappeared in favour of an active hyperlink, which did cause a little confusion to start with. Also more embeds are now accepted straight into the writing pane making those light weight video and sound clip plugins redundant and in some cases leaving issues with current shortcodes. Images now instantly have responsive versions created on upload meaning they can all look nice in the palm of your hand as well as on your desktop.
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the CMS giant who now control around 25% of web traffic as they had to swiftly release the new update 4.4.1 to resolve a cross-site scripting vulnerability in the new Clifford release. Luckily our host WPengine manage our WordPress version updates and provide services beyond that of other hosts when it comes to safeguarding our WordPress installations due to their expertise.
On Wednesday 3rd February the next patch update for WordPress 4.4 comes in the guise of WordPress 4.4.2 which provides updates that safeguard the installation from a malware attack which can infect all accessible .js files and could extend to to all other installation on your hosting account known as cross-site contamination.
So what do we know and what would we like in WordPress 4.5?
What we do know is that the new release is currently planned for April 2016, though the details are currently in planning and developers are currently being sourced to take on responsibilities. We may even see a Beta 1 by the end of February 2016.
The full 4.5 Project Schedule can be seen on Make WordPress Core which details all the key dates within the project.
There have been shoutings about upgrading the PHP version which the platform runs on as currently the minimum requirement is PHP 5.6 though new versions could increase speed exponentially, personally I don’t think this would be possible in this version but possibly something which may be implemented by WordPress 5.0.
Here are a few nuggets which we have managed to grab from the current notes out there:~

  • There have already been a few hints at making the New User Experience (NUX) a little easier to work through within the customizer.
  • There is talk that there maybe a new feature in customizer to preview the sites responsiveness on screen (you can see this on Make WordPress Core – Click here).
  • Improvements in the customizer settings validation which sounds complicated but really just helps users set vital details and warns them when something is missing. Check out the Customize Setting Validation plugin for WordPress video on YouTube for more details.
  • A background Image cropper is also in the mix, the chat on this can be seen on the Make WordPress Core string.

There will be many more improvements and new features as time goes by and there are already a few good blogs from Pradeep at WPism, Sarah Gooding at WP Tavern. Full information can be found within the pages ofwordpress.org and <> Make WordPress Core.