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Meet Powell: WordPress 4.2 Release

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April is my favorite month for many reasons – nice weather (at least over here on the south-west corner of the USA), Easter candy, and more. But now there’s another reason to love April – a brand new WordPress release. Powell just dropped and is available for download, so let’s take a look at what you can expect!

WordPress 4.2 New Features

There are lots of fun updates in 4.2, but nothing too groundbreaking. So let’s dig in! Starting with the most important features (of course):

utf8mb4 Character Encoding

WordPress 4.2: utf8mb4 Character Encoding

Need a way to express how you feel? Or show genuine emotion in a post? Well guess what, now you can use your favorite emojis in WordPress! Of course there are more practical uses for the encoding update, such a native support for Han character languages like Japanese, Chinese and Korean as well as fancy characters you might use for complicated mathematics, composing music or transcribing hieroglyphs (but let’s be honest – you’re most excited about the emojis aren’t you?).

Press This

In case you don’t already know, Press This is WordPress’ own creation that allows you to create posts on the fly by quoting text, images, and videos from anywhere on the web. Just add the bookmarklet to your desktop or mobile browser. Oh, but a note for all the Firefox users out there – make sure to checkout the Press This page in the codex to get the bookmarklet working in your browser, since it doesn’t play nice with some of Firefox’s security add-ons.

Customizer Expansion

WordPress 4.2: Customizer Expansion To Include Theme Selection

The WordPress Theme Customizer has made it easier than ever for users to tweak the look of their site, and now the Customizer has been expanded to include theme selection. For many users this will make it faster to view a new theme before committing to it. Plus it’s nice to have the bulk of your site options all in one place (especially for newbies).

Improved Plugin Updates

Updates usually don’t take that much time, but for those of you wanting to make every. second. count. then you’ll appreciate the new plugin updates right from the plugins screen. No refreshing required.

More Embeds

WordPress 4.2: More Embeds

WordPress has supported embeds for Twitter and YouTube for quite a while, but now you can add Tumblr posts and Kickstarter campaigns as well. Adding Kickstarter is a super idea in my opinion, since many small businesses are finding startup money through crowdfunding these days – and those same small businesses are probably using WordPress for their websites!

Other Fun Features

There were lots of other tweaks to WordPress, including JavaScript accessibility, shared term splitting, complex ordering and other features WordPress developers will appreciate more than the average WordPress user (but if you are curious, a full list of behind the scenes updates can be found in the codex). Checkout the WordPress 4.2 and see for yourself.


Your thoughts?

So what do you think of the new release? Are there any features you’re excited about – or maybe ones that you’re not? Let us know in the comments below!

Article by Kyla staff
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  1. Dragan

    Thanks, Kyla.

    I love the new plugin updates feature. What’s your favourite?

    • AJ Clarke

      I know you aren’t asking me, but I love how when you are working in the customizer and you alter a setting that uses the refresh method the site fades-out as it updates 😉


    Some interesting updates in 4.2, although if recent news is anything to go by, updating their developer documentation (or just making it clear and concise) would better serve the community to ensure security vulnerabilities are minimal.

  3. Isabella Scott

    my wordpress gave me the option of 4.2-en_CA or 4.2-en_US, I thought I clicked on the US version but it updated me to the CA. I can’t see any downloads in the Codex that specifically say US, can anyone help me here to get it to the US version? I haven’t tried any other features yet. Regarding the auto plugin updates, I’m not a fan of that, I would rather it be my proactive action, instead of auto. Thanks

    • Kyla

      To change your language settings you can just log into your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Settings > General. At the very bottom of the page there should be a language option. Just select select “English (United States)” then save, and you should be good to go!

      As for auto-plugin updates, you have nothing to fear – that’s not packaged with WordPress 4.2 (and I really hope they never add that feature!), they’ve simply made it faster for users to update plugins on their own. Now you can click the update wait a couple seconds and you’re done – no more redirecting through plugin update pages and having to navigate back to the plugins page once you’re done

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