WordPress 4.1 is a features update with a renewed focus on writing

WordPress has released version 4.1 of the platform. The 4.1 release follows closely on the tail of 4.0.1, which was a “critical security release” that addressed multiple vulnerabilities in the WordPress core.
WordPress 4.1, however, is an update focused on features. If you missed the 4.0.1 security update, we strongly recommend that you update immediately. If you have elected to turn off automatic updates, you may not have this important security update installed. Otherwise, WordPress maintains its standard all-inclusive update policy: If you update to 4.1, it will include the critical security release from 4.0.1
Maintaining the recent jazz theme of the past several versions of the platform, WordPress 4.1 is named “Dina” after jazz singer Dinah Washington.

Renewed focus on writing

WordPress 4.1 distraction-free writing mode pull quoteGetting back to the platform’s roots, WordPress 4.1 has a renewed focus on writing. The WordPress team has introduced a new distraction-free writing mode, which looks similar to popular minimalist writing software like FocusWriter or Omm Writer, or more powerful and robust writing apps like Scrivener that have had distraction-free writing options for years.
VentureBeat points out that “this feature has technically existed since the release of WordPress 3.2, but the old version required hitting a button to enter the mode, which lasts only for a single writing session.” This new version makes the feature much more front-and-center, with a persistent button to pull the feature out to be spotlighted and easier to find, and, of course, more likely to be used.
More telling is what the addition of a feature like this shows: WordPress is recognizing that people are creating their content somewhere else before importing it into their WordPress site. WordPress may be your go-to platform to publish your content, but, for many, it’s not your first choice to create that content — to actually write.
WordPress has, previously, embraced this by adding native Microsoft Word formatting in earlier versions of the platform. Write a post in Word, then simply copy & paste it into a WordPress post and it will recognize all the Word formatting, H-tags, and (most of the time) give you a great-looking post with minimal edits required.
Recent blogging upstart Ghost has been gaining a name for being focused on pure writing, and one of its much-touted features is a distraction-free writing design. What Ghost does, it does quite well. While a distraction-free writing option is not groundbreaking, it’s hard not to feel that WordPress is actively responding to what users, e.g., writers, want. Consumers, thankfully, only benefit from competition.
By including more writing-focused features, WordPress is trying to get its users to actually write in WordPress, thereby keeping them captivated inside the application.
Additionally, WordPress 4.1 includes a new default theme, Twenty Fifteen, described as “a blog-focused theme designed for clarity.” It sports Google’s Noto font family, “straightforward typography,” and “flawless language support,” so that “your content always takes center stage, whether viewed on a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.”

Additional features ‘under the hood’

WordPress is constantly iterating on language support, and version 4.1 puts the application at over 40 supported languages. The team has also added the ability to log out everywhere, so you no longer have to worry if you forgot to log out from a public or shared computer.
Vine is now recognized with native embedding support in WordPress 4.1. Much like embedding YouTube videos in WordPress, you can now paste a Vine URL in its own line and WordPress will embed it with little work needed on your part. If it’s been a while since you’ve jumped into embeddable content in WordPress, it’s worth looking at the official embeddable content support list maintained by the WordPress Team to see what you can do.
Update 4.1 also includes:
  • Complex Queries: metadata, date, and term queries in advanced conditional logic
  • Customizer API: now supports conditionally showing sections based on previewed page
  • <title> Tags in Themes: help to handle the complexities of document titles
  • Developer Reference: new improvements to inline code documentation
WordPress 4.1 is available now. If you’d like to find out more information, you can see the official release notes here. And if you’d like to dive deeper into the update, you can view the WordPress Codex post here, and the 4.1 changelog list of closed tickets here.
As always, if you have any questions about setting up your own site’s updates, don’t hesitate to call a member of our support team. And if you’d prefer to let us completely handle your site upgrade, we’ll be happy to help.
Works Cited / For Further Reading:
WordPress 4.1 “Dinah” adds new features. (WordPress.org)
WordPress embeddable content site list. (WordPress.org Codex)
WordPress 4.1 codex changes. (WordPress.org Core)
WordPress 4.1 core changeleog. (WordPress.org Codex)
WordPress 4.1 arrives with new default theme, distraction-free writing mode (VentureBeat)
Omm Writer minimalist writing app. (OmmWriter)
FocusWriter distraction-free writing. (FocusWriter)
Scrivener long-form writing. (Literature and Latte)
Ghost blogging platform for writers. (Ghost)