A look at all the biggest WordPress news of 2016

A look at all the biggest WordPress news of 2016

And just like that it’s December: the season of short, cold days, spastic light displays, and year-end retrospectives.

When it comes to WordPress news, it’s safe to say 2016 has been a big year. From the REST API to PHP7 to Calypso, there’s been no shortage of excitement—at least if you’re a tech-minded WordPress developer.

But what about the rest of us, for whom “Calypso” is nothing more than a syncopated musical genre and a brand of particularly delicious bottled lemonade? What have the Big! Changes! of 2016 meant for WordPress users?

A whole lot, as it turns out—and in today’s post we’re going to bring you up to speed on all of it. (Okay, not all of it, since that would take us ’til January… consider this more of a happy highlight reel.)

1. Streamlined theme setup

WordPress just launched version 4.7 “Vaughan,” and it’s a big step forward—especially when it comes to the initial setup of your theme. The new version allows theme developers to include onboarding content that appears when you first install your theme. This could take the form of a mocked-up contact page, for example, or a pre-populated dropdown menu on the homepage. WordPress 4.7 also comes with new edit shortcuts, which show you the parts of your site that can be customized within a live preview.

2. Better site management

While “Vaughan” is a godsend when it comes to customizing your site, it’s Calypso that revolutionizes the way you manage it. A new interface for managing WordPress content, making updates, and editing site settings, Calypso has been called “a great tool” and “a dream to work with.” It’s especially great for admins with multiple sites to manage, allowing you to update themes, plugins and content across multiple sites at once. You don’t even need multiple accounts and passwords anymore—with Calypso, they’re all in one convenient place!

3. Next-level responsiveness 

With the adoption of true responsive images in late 2015, WordPress went full-on mobile, and they haven’t looked back since. “True responsive images” are images that don’t just look smaller on mobile, they actually are smaller. Every time you upload or link to an image, WordPress creates several different sizes of it and files the copies away for future reference. Then, when someone lands on your site from their phone or tablet, their browser automatically chooses the most appropriate size—saving bandwidth and speeding up load times in the process.

4. Multilingual functionality

Now that WordPress powers more than 26.4% of the web, it needs to be able to speak more languages than ever. The WordPress Polyglots have completely translated the platform into 59 languages as of December 2016, with more than 100 others in the works (if you’re waiting on the Bengali version, it’s just about ready to go!). This means more and more people will be able to use WordPress in their native language, which can only be a good thing.

5. Rock-solid security

Since launching earlier this year, HackerOne—a “vulnerability and bug bounty platform” created in conjunction with Facebook, Microsoft and Google—has found and patched thousands of security holes in WordPress. Paid hackers are constantly hunting down and resolving security issues, so it’s important to keep your WordPress installation up-to-date and protect yourself from known issues.

Summing up!

It’s been a big year for WordPress, and it seems like a safe bet to say that 2017 will be even bigger. The platform is on the cusp of some huge positive changes, which will affect its codebase, interface, and, most importantly, users like you!

How have the changes in this post affected you? What changes would you like to see in 2017? Don’t be shy! Hit us up in the comments!

PSA: As of Sept. 29, 2017, you can no longer purchase themes from this website. We will continue to provide limited support, including bug fixes and security updates, until March 31, 2018. Thank you for everything. We'll miss you dearly.