How WordPress 4.0 “Benny” Makes Your Site Swing

WordPress 4.0 has been released to the world under the nickname Benny, for clarinetist and big band leader Benny Goodman.

Benny Goodman is considered the King of Swing for a style of music he practically invented that gave old time jazz a danceable rhythm. Swing is the music that launched the famous Jitterbug and the ever popular Swing dancing.

Goodman not only ushered in the Swing Era, which dominated American music from 1935 to 1946, but he was also was ahead of his time by integrating his band. He hired African Americans at a time when bands were either all white or all black, but never mixed.

Ever since Benny Goodman’s biggest hit, Sing Sing Sing, was played at Carnegie Hall in 1938, it has since become a swing jazz anthem. Check out the list of films and TV shows it’s been heard in.  Here’s a clip to play as you read.

WordPress 4.0 is full of cool new features to help you smooth your groove online. But, when you look at 4.0 – “Benny” –  you gotta ask yourself, does it swing like the King?

Let’s dig this crazy beat.

Sticky Editor Tools

Hands down, the coolest change to WordPress is the new page Editor.

wordpress 3.9 edit box
WordPress 3.9 Edit page looses sight of tools

In old versions, if you scrolled down the page, you quickly lost sight of the Edit Box and its Edit Tools. That made formatting and adding links a real pain in the carpal tunnel.

wordpress 4.0 Editor,
In WordPress 4.0, the toolbar stays in sight until you scroll past the post.

In WordPress 4.0, the Edit Box and Tools hold firm as you scroll down past the Publish Box, Categories, Tags, and Featured Image. Edit Box doesn’t move until you reach the end of the post. That’s because the Edit Box scroll bar has completely disappeared and is only controlled by the page scroll bar.

So now, those tools and your post remain in view while you manipulate the page around it.

This feature is killer diller!

Media Library Grid

The old Media Library showed your images in a list. Viewing the details of each image required clicking Edit and waiting for the upload. 

wordpress 3.9 media library,
WordPress 3.9 Media Library is your basic list. Yawn.

Once the Edit Media page opened the details were spread around the top, sides and below the image, including the Yoast SEO box. To open another image you’d need to click on Media Library again and then repeat the process to see another image.

wordpress 3.9 edit media
3.9’s Edit Media page spreads out tools and offers no advance mechanism.

That process is such a drag, it drives one to do everything in the on-page Media Manager.

Wordpress 4.0 media library,
In WordPress 4.0 the Media Library appears as a grid, like in Media Manager.
wordpress 4.0 attachment details,
And, in 4.0, you can navigate back and forth between images.

The Media Library in WordPress 4.0 is now laid out like the Media Manager, on a grid. Click to open an image, and a panel on the right shows find the file’s information writ small, with the meta information immediately below that.

What’s smokin‘ here is the forward and backward arrows that allow you to navigate to other images without the back and forth clicking and tiresome upload time.

Not only that, you can drag and drop images straight into the Media Library without clicking Upload.

This joint is jumpin’!

Media Embed Views

In olden times, only inserted imaged were viewable in the Edit Box. Then, with version  3.9 , the media gallery went from showing a blank box to viewable images. You could see the pictures without saving and navigation to the front end. What a concept!

wordpress 3.9 embed
Video embeds in 3.9 appeared as blank boxes.

Still, a video embed remained shrouded in grey on the edit page. Not cool.

wordpress 4.0 embed
With 4.0, the embed code presents a real image.

Now, finally, With WordPress 4.0, your embedded video becomes visible before you even press Save Draft.

This new embedding tool would be killer diller but for one major issue: sizing.

Its problem is, by simply laying down an embed code like, “”, there is no easy way to edit the video’s size. You’re stuck with the standard 960 x 536 YouTube size.

wordpress 4.0 video embed
There is no way to change the size of the video!

If you have a narrow post page like mine, embedding video this way kills the sidebar.

In case you’re wondering how I placed the video embed at the top of the post, I used the regular old embed code that allowed me to adjust the size to 620 x 515.

Still, I’d rather to see the video preview, so if you have a hack for this bug, please leave it in the comments.

A bit of a clinker, this one

Plugin Billboards 

Plugins, both new and installed have always been presented in a basic three column list. Clear, and organized, but dull.

wordpress 4.0 plugins
Pretty, but prepare to scroll more.

Now, there’s plugin billboards! Featured images for each plugin so you can shop by logo spotting. It’s pretty, but with the added space it’s likely to increase your scroll time.

For something you only need once per plugin, it’s kinda window dressing. I’d say the new Add Plugin feature swings, but like a rusty gate.

WordPress 4.0 is Almost The End

Although I wish this version had been named for Billie Holliday, Benny Goodman was certainly one hep cat and the way he blows is the end, man! 

And, yes, WordPress 4.0 does swing, in its way. I wouldn’t exactly call it supermurgatroid, but some of these new features will help your site Sing Sing Sing!

What do you think of 4.0? Is it working for you? Let me know in the comments below.

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