WordPress 3.4 is here and out the door. We’ve dubbed this release “Green” in honor of guitarist Grant Green whose soulful simplicity has kept many of us company during this release.
This release includes significant improvements to theme customization, custom headers, Twitter embeds, and image captions — here’s a short clip with the highlights:
The biggest change in 3.4 is the theme customizer which allows you to play around with various looks and settings for your current theme or one you’re thinking about switching to without publishing those changes to the whole world. For themes that support it, you can change colors, backgrounds, and of course custom image headers. We have more planned for the customizer down the road.
Throughout the rest of the admin you’ll notice tweaks to make your everyday life easier. For example, if you have lots of themes we’ve made it quicker to browse them all at once without paging. We’ve made it possible to use images from your media library to populate custom headers, and for you to choose the height and width of your header images.
We’ve expanded our embed support to include tweets: just put a Twitter permalink on its own line in the post editor and we’ll turn it into a beautiful embedded Tweet. And finally, image captions have been improved to allow HTML, like links, in them.
There are hundreds of under-the-hood improvements in this release, notably in the XML-RPC, themes, and custom header APIs, and significant performance improvements in WP_Query and the translation system. The Codex has a pretty good summary of the developer features, and you can always dive into Trac directly.
We’ve also put together a busy developer’s field guide to the new APIs in 3.4.