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By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, September 04, 2014

WordPress 4.0: Improved Internationalization and UX

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To cap off the summer, WordPress is crossing the 4.0 milestone with its newest release code-named “Benny”, named after jazz great Benny Goodman.

For an open-source application that now powers 23% of the web, this is a very big deal. In response to its widespread adoption, the WordPress development team is putting a strong emphasis on user experience and accessibility in this release. The result is a 4.0 release that feels more like the maturing of a young and feisty wine than a box of new goodies.

Some will see this as a bit of an anti-climax; we’ve come to expect big additions and UI changes with full number releases of WordPress. But in reality it’s more exciting than a new set of features as it shows that WordPress has reached a point in its development where it can start refining itself more often than throwing new features and ideas at the wall to see what sticks.

That said, there are plenty of innovations and updates to talk about in WordPress 4.0.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, July 24, 2014

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Create Responsive Featured Images in WordPress

Responsive layouts have become commonplace in today’s web experiences, but the current HTML <img> element still has a fundamental flaw when used with responsive designs: It assumes uniformity in the screens it’s displayed upon, a uniformity that doesn’t exist in today’s mobile-saturated world.

Consider an image on a web page from the viewer’s perspective. Although it appears to be part of the page, it’s actually a replaced element: The code of the page cuts a hole in the page big enough to contain the image, and then retrieves it from its remote location to fill that hole. In some cases the hole has a specified width and height; in others the hole is built to be flexible and scale to a percentage, or proportion, of the screen size.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Build WordPress Themes from Scratch with lynda.com

Download Simone and Build WordPress Themes from Scratch

One of the most popular requests I’ve received from lynda.com members is for a course on how to build WordPress themes from scratch. I’m excited to announce that WordPress: Building Themes from Scratch Using Underscores has finally come to fruition. The course is an introduction to WordPress theme design and development, a best-practice example of a mobile-first, standards-based web development process, and a first-hand look at my personal approach to custom WordPress projects. Just as importantly, it’s an introduction to Simone—the WordPress theme that I build in the course itself, which is now available for free in the WordPress Theme Directory.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, April 17, 2014

What’s new in WordPress 3.9

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WordPress 3.9 “Smith,” named after James Oscar “Jimmy” Smith, was released yesterday. This new version of the popular web publishing app introduces several highly anticipated new features that make managing your WordPress site and its contents easier. Let’s break down the key new features of WordPress 3.9:

A more powerful Customizer The Customizer makes managing the appearance of your WordPress site easier by allowing you to see your edits as you make them and preview your theme configurations before you take them live. With the 3.9 update, two of the WordPress community’s most anxiously awaited feature requests have been added to the customizer to make it “complete”:

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, December 12, 2013

WordPress 3.8: A quiet revolution

Today’s release of WordPress 3.8 is revolutionary in the history of WordPress—and a clear sign of things to come from the popular content management system. Sporting a clean new interface, tons of new features, and a new development philosophy, the 3.8 release is a milestone for the WordPress community in many ways. We’re already hard at work updating our WordPress Essential Training course to reflect WordPress 3.8, but there’s a lot to notice in today’s release beyond just what ships in the code.

Deadlines are not arbitrary Establishing the current WordPress philosophy “Deadlines are not arbitrary,” WordPress cofounder and project leader Matt Mullenweg made a series of bold announcements at WordCamp San Francisco back in July. First, he stated that WordPress 3.7 and 3.8 would be developed in parallel, with firm, preannounced release dates for each. Furthermore, he announced that all new features slated for version 3.8 would be developed as stand-alone plugins first, and only built into the WordPress core code once they were stable. Finally, Matt announced that he’d be personally leading the development team for the 3.8 release.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, August 01, 2013

WordPress 3.6: What's New, and Why it Matters

A few months behind schedule, version 3.6 of WordPress is out and ready for you to make the most of. The scope of changes in this release are relatively minor, but the updates are important and will help in your day-to-day work with WordPress. Here’s what’s new and why it matters to you.

Twenty Thirteen: The new theme standard

Since 2010, a new default theme has been released every year, and this year is no different. With 3.6 comes Twenty Thirteen. While the previous three themes—Twenty Ten, Twenty Eleven, and Twenty Twelve—got progressively simpler, Twenty Thirteen goes in a new design direction. It’s aggressively blog-centric with a heavy focus on Post Formats, and it’s a great example of the popular flat design trend currently sweeping the web.

The Twenty Thirteen WordPress default theme

Post Formats are a new feature in WordPress 3.6 that lets you choose unique layout and design templates for specific types of blog posts, such as images, videos, quotes, and regular articles, among others. The Twenty Thirteen theme supports Post Formats by providing a bold, unique visual style for each post so your site visitors can differentiate between the content in each one. In the image above you see the Video, Quote, Status, and Chat post formats on the front page. The Standard post format has a white background. The post format styling is also carried over into the post editor so as you change your post format you’ll see the styling change as you work, and the post formats are now identified using icons throughout the dashboard.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Monday, April 15, 2013

WordPress Under Attack: How to Protect Yourself

WordPress is under attack and your self-hosted site may well be in the crosshairs of people with nefarious intent. I’d like to shed some light on what’s going on, how to protect yourself against becoming a victim, and what to do if you’re hacked.

A bot-what-now attack?

Over the last couple of weeks, WordPress sites all over the world have been subjected to an unprecedented attack. Botnets—essentially thousands or millions of infected computers working in tandem—are executing brute-force attacks on self-hosted WordPress sites, attempting to log into administrator accounts, and taking over the sites. A brute-force attack is when a computer tries to log in using every password under the sun. While this would take forever for a human, a computer can make hundreds or even thousands of attempts per minute and eventually stumble upon the correct user name/password combination. This is one of the most extensive and wide-reaching botnet attacks ever recorded and it’s targeting all kinds of sites, from personal blogs to enterprise solutions.

By Morten Rand-Hendriksen | Thursday, March 21, 2013

Responsive design for all screens

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Is your audience getting the whole picture?

Responsive design has long been on the minds of web designers and developers, and over the last couple of years, it has become a focal topic among industry insiders and clients alike. Is the site responsive? Should it be responsive? Is responsive web design a good idea, or are we focusing on it as an exclusive solution to a much broader set of problems? Going to web design conferences these days you hear as many takes on the topic as there are people, and a common theme among them is that responsive design is profoundly confusing and complicated.

But does it have to be?

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