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WordPress has just released a massive update to its blogging software, making it more useable on tablets, faster-loading and aesthetically more interesting. Along with the new back-end updates, WordPress have released a gorgeous new magazine theme for you to try.

I have been using WordPress for years now, but my number one wish on my WordPress Users Wishlist was definitely not “make the dashboard orange”. However, I have to say that I love it. It’s a major overhaul, which will hopefully lure bloggers from other services over to the WordPress platform.

Of course the orange dashboard and the standard template are not obligatory, but you should definitely take a look. If orange (sunrise) is not to your liking, you can choose from other colour combos such as blue, coffee, ectoplasm (for all you purple lovers out there), midnight, and ocean. Just go to your profile settings to change the colour to whatever you want.

The layout is also uncluttered and spaced out, making it easier to find what you want, and making it easier to work with. It’s been redesigned to be fluid and useable on tablets and smartphones.

The Twenty Fourteen default theme really pushes the boat out to let you create a magazine website with new features such as favourite content at the top of the main page as a slider or a grid. You can also have widget sidebars on both sides of the page. The theme really is easy to use and a delight to look at. Of course, you can delve into the code and change the colours if you want to. Black is not everyone’s cup of tea.

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WordPress is also introducing “vector-based icons that scale to your screen”. So by saying goodbye to pixels, pages apparently load significantly faster.

WordPress 3.8 is available for download and installation right now. Just go to the WordPress.org website or existing users can update from their dashboard.

Source: WordPress Blog

  1. Bill Davis
    December 19, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    My response to the 3.8 update is, "Meh." I don't really see anything substantive (nothing to write home about), but I suppose most, if not all, of the changes are subjective.

    The theme - makes no difference, as my stable of standard themes comes from StudioPress...

    The "colorful" dashboard - again, meh. Putting lipstick on a pig may be challenging but it offers no tangible benefits, to the pig or the applicator.

    And the widgets - so they changed where things are. It's still drag-and-drop, right?

    As for the ease of use on tablets - while I consider myself to be on the technology leading edge, I haven't embraced tablets yet, though I own them. I just don't see any real advantages to using them versus using a laptop or desktop with a real keyboard and processing power...

    Were there any significant backend improvements? Speed? Code streamlining? Security updates? I don't know. Please tell me there was something more than putting a fresh coat of paint on.

  2. Matthew H
    December 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I'm really undecided whether I love or *really* hate Twenty Fourteen. I've installed it on my personal website (matthewhughes.co.uk). I like the typography and the color scheme. I don't like that the .site-content width is 474 pixels. I'm undecided about the featured images.

    Have you given it a spin?

    • Mark O
      December 18, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      I have. Just go to http://www.markoneill.org/blog . I haven't fixed all the things that need to be fixed though, so the template is a bit rough around the edges at the moment.

      I'm sure there is a way to expand the width of the template. Everything in WordPress is customizable. I'll take a look at the code later.

    • Matthew H
      December 18, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      There is. Edit the CSS file and look at '.site-content'. I just think it's a pretty odd default to have.

      My other major qualm with this template is that I have to remove everything from my right hand sidebar. Otherwise, it looks badissimo.

    • Mark O
      December 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm

      I altered mine last night to expand the content area to 900px wide.

      You can have the sidebar on any side you want - or both sides even.

      I will need your help at some point with a few niggly things that I couldn't fix - if you don't mind. :-)

    • Matthew H
      December 20, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Sure thing. You know how to get hold of me, if you need to! :)

    • Marc S.
      March 26, 2014 at 1:33 am

      This enormous redesign of the UI relects a very predictable pattern IMHO. Power users got bored with old and then wrongly assumed everyone was also bored and thus they proceeded to "improve" the UI. When their efforts are not universally hailed the descend into condescending statements "Dont panic" or "everything is still there". Count me amoung those that appreciate actual new features and capabilities., which I should be implementing. Instead I'm wasting time learning a radically new UI. Silly.

  3. Joel L
    December 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I understand the current trend towards using magazine-style themes but what about people like me who just want a clean & modern look for walls of text? :(

    • Mark O
      December 18, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Then you just change the theme to whatever you want. Nothing is forced upon you :-) WordPress is simply making it easier for people who DO want a magazine-style theme.

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