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Update on 29th March: WordPress 3.9 Beta 3 has been rolled out with more than 200 changes for Widget previews, UI refinement and media manager. Read the announcement for more details.
Update on 20th March: WordPress 3.9 Beta 2 has been out with tons of changes and updates from Beta 1, especially bug fixes for TinyMCE and Widget management. Read the announcement for more details.

Just by the end of last year, WordPress community welcomed the release of WordPress 3.8 Parker. Couple months later, once again we are expecting another milestone: WordPress 3.9 which is scheduled for the release in April.

Meanwhile, WordPress 3.9 Beta 1 has been released recently and this becomes a hot topic everywhere. We all know that WordPress 3.8 has been a great release with improvements in the UI. Now coming to WordPress 3.9, it is promising release with significant improvements and updates in the core as well as the user experience in which good becomes better.

We are testing WordPress 3.9 Beta 1 in all our products as well, so I think I would give you guys a heads up on what to expect from WordPress 3.9. Here we go!

Major update: TinyMCE

Who doesn’t know TinyMCE? I hope not to see anyone here. We all know that TinyMCE is a powerful platform that provide the visual editor in WordPress. In WordPress 3.9, the team will update TinyMCE to its latest version 4.0.

This is considered as the major update of WordPress. With the latest version of TinyMCE, the team aims to a cleaner markup.

New TinyMCE in WordPress 3.9
Differences between the TinyMCE Editor in WordPress 3.9 & 3.8

The team also approaches a new way of handling the Paste function, especially when you copy and paste texts from Microsoft Word. The button “Paste from Word” has been removed. When I tested pasting a block of text from Word into the new Editor and to be honest, it did not have much difference between WordPress 3.8 and WordPress 3.9.

Besides, there are other new things in the new version of TinyMCE editor like: the color picker for Text color has been dropped and Horizontal Line button is added.

Widget Live Previews

A new feature has just been added for WordPress 3.9 and promises to make our life much easier: Live previews for Widget management.

In Appearance > Customize, the team now supports to have Widgets management and live previews for it. What does it mean to us? It means that now we have a better visual over the widgets, we can add/ edit widgets and have a live preview right in the Customize panel.

Live preview Widgets management in WordPress 3.9

While with WordPress 3.8, widgets are managed in Appearance > Widgets, without further support. Everytime we edit a widget, we have to save it and keep refreshing the site to see the changes. Now with the support of Live previews in Customize, we save our time in switching between the site and admin panel.

Live preview for Galleries

The live preview function is just getting better and now we have it right in the Editor for Gallery.

Visual Gallery in WordPress 3.9
Visual Gallery in WordPress 3.9

The preview doesn’t reflect 100% how the gallery should look like in the site, but this is way better than the blank image like in WordPress 3.8 (if you know what I mean).

Drag and Drop Images

A new function for the editor: Drag-and-drop images. The name speaks for itself already. Yes, we now can simply drag and drop an image into the editor for inserting.

Drag-and-Drop image function in WordPress 3.9
Drag-and-Drop image function

Instead of inserting an image directly into a post, it still opens the Insert Media popup window where you fill in image details like Alt Text, Caption and Description. This kink seems fair enough, there should be no image without Alt text and soon or later we all need to edit image’s details.

But frankly speaking, I did think of directly inserting images when I heard the term drag-and-drop.

Editing Images

How many times do you use this feature while editing a post? I do sometimes. In WordPress 3.8, this function is not completely convenient. The edit image option is available when you about to insert an image and when in the editor. However, there are differences in the two options and especially “Crop image” function is only available when you edit an image before insert it into a post. Well, we all know how it works here: a new window for editing an image, after editing and updating, we come back to the editor window – refresh the image then insert it. How complicated it was?

The team has made it a lot much easier to make changes to an images by improving this feature in WordPress 3.9.

Edit image in WordPress 3.9
Edit image window

Now either before or after inserting an image, we can all make changes to it in the same window with full options. No more new window redirected.

Theme Installer

Go to Themes > Add new and wow the nice layout of theme browsing experience has been extended for this part in WordPress 3.9. The theme preview still needs to have demo content, I wish they could add this.

Theme installer in WordPress 3.9
Theme installer in WordPress 3.9

With all those New thing, we are excited for the release of WordPress 3.9 in April and you guys can also expect that all of our WordPress themes and plugins will be up-to-date by that time.

So have you tested out the Beta 1 yet? Please tell us what are you looking forward to most in WordPress 3.9? If you have not yet then you should download the WordPress Beta tester and give it a shot.

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Jin is Nanny at DesignWall, a leading WordPress development company which builds responsive WordPress themes and best WordPress plugins. She makes sure everyone is happy, every question is answered, every release is bug-free. She also blogs about our products and shares her WordPress knowledge with our readers. Jin is also a travel lover.