WordPress 3.8 – What to Know Before You Update

WordPress 3.8 was released on December 12, 2013 to a lot of excitement, certainly around our office. Code named “Parker,” WP 3.8 introduces some great new features and enhancements that continue to impress.

So what is new in WordPress 3.8?

A new, modern design for the dashboard.

WordPress developers introduced a new look, customization options, and improvements, such as:

  • Tablet focused / friendly interface (this was desperately needed).
  • Admin color schemes. The color scheme is managed on the individual user’s profile.
  • Open Sans font for a better reading experience.
  • Higher contrast UI elements to make the admin area easier to read and navigate.

WordPress 3.8

An improved mobile experience.

WordPress 3.8 got a tablet-focused interface overhaul, making the dashboard a much better experience on tablets and smartphones alike. The images are also vector based icons that will reduce page load times.

Better theme management.

The “Appearance” section received some attention, too. It’s easier to see the themes you have installed, discover new themes and manage widgets. All improvements take the screen size into consideration, even for those fortunate enough to be on dual widescreens.

A new magazine layout theme.

True to form, the Twenty Fourteen theme is a nice touch by the folks at Automattic. You can see the theme in action at the Twenty Fourteen demo.

Lots of development.

188 people contributed to 602 tickets for the WordPress 3.8 build. You can see all that action here.

Before you update to WordPress 3.8…

If you are familiar with WordPress 3.7, you may be saying, “What about the auto update?” Keep in mind that automatic updates only apply to minor release versions, such as 3.7 to 3.7.1. Automatic updates don’t take effect in updating from 3.7 to 3.8, so you will need to trigger the update from your dashboard. And while 3.8 includes lots of goodies for the admin and a fantastic transition to a more mobile interface, you should cover your bases before you update.

  • Backup your website
  • Backup your database
  • Confirm plugin compatibility

All in all, it’s in your best interest, for security and performance reasons, to keep WordPress up-to-date. But if you find yourself having questions and needing help – give me a shout, I’d love to help.

Download WordPress 3.8.

How do you like the new WordPress dashboard? Leave a comment below.