If you haven’t pushed “UPGRADE” on your WordPress site in awhile, you may want to with their latest release this week, WordPress 3.8.
There’s been a lot of changes and a lot of noticeable improvements. First off, they revamped the whole back admin interface. If you’re not a fan of changes, you’ll need to learn to love this one. Everything has been replaced for this new, slicker looking dashboard.
But the change is more than just cosmetic. I’ve been testing it here and on average I find a 40-50% increase in speeds loading various admin pages. For someone who uses their laptop remote at the free local coffee shops a lot, this means a LOT! I might actually be able to do my updates and necessary work while on the road.
The speed of the frontend is still somewhat dependent upon the theme you select. However, in a side by side comparison it did appear to process the queries fast and return the pages better results than previous versions.
This new release also comes with the latest WordPress Theme, Twentyfourteen. Like the backend, it’s taken a slicker look and feel, modernizing the old base templates. It’s touted as a more “magazine-feel” and it definitely does convey that sense. Without any customization, it comes with 3 widget area:
- Primary Sidebar – The black area to the left
- Content Sidebar – Sidebar that can be in the white area on the far right
- Footer – Bottom area (not shown in screenshot) that is black like the left side
The theme by default also has a responsive mode for mobile devices. While looking relatively clean, it is still just a responsive design. (Read more about Is Your Website Mobile Ready? to understand why this is important.)
Why to not jump yet?
So, all this wonderful goodiness does come with some concerns. As with any WordPress update, you need to wait for the plugins and support to catch-up. Some of the plugin authors are pretty good about getting their updates on or near the release date of WordPress versions. But this one for some reason has them delayed.
The biggest impact I’ve seen so far has to do with any plugins that try to “add” features to the normal post or page templates. So if your plugin had a button which made it simpler for you to add shortcodes or a code that extends what boxes you have for post meta_data, it may not work right now.
Hang tight. I’ve seen emails from various developers in the WordPress community and the fix is coming!
So should I upgrade?
Without a doubt I’m a strong proponent of keeping up with the latest WordPress version. As with any software, you’re not only getting the latest and greatest, you’re also able to keep your site more secure and safer from attacks. At the end of the day, that’s probably the most important of anything.
Upgrading, as with any WordPress upgrades, comes with a level of caution and as always, make backups and copies so you can revert back in case anything doesn’t work. But if you’ve been keeping up with the upgrades, this one is relatively safe and quick to perform. If you need assistance though, feel free to drop us a line here at Creekside and we can work through the changes with you.