“WP Beginner” has a decent run-down of what’s coming in WordPress 4.2, here. In summary…
- Improved emoji support. I must be off the pace: I was still calling these “smileys”. Does it differ in different parts of the world?
- A theme switcher built into the dashboard’s “customizer”.
- “Shiny plugin updates”.
- “Press this” improvements.
- Under the hood things
Feeling under-whelmed? Me too!
On the other hand… I much prefer gradual improvement to constant revolution. I also like WordPress’s regular every-4-months release schedule, which can be relied upon. Features can’t be added until they’re ready (there’s always next time, which isn’t far off).
The most interesting change for UpdraftPlus in WP 4.2 is “shiny plugin updates”. Note that the WP Beginner article above is already out-of-date: support for “shiny plugin installs” has been dropped from the plan; it’s now only updates. What is this about? Basically, updating plugins currently looks like this:
It’s a bit ugly. I’m a programmer: I like seeing the information; but even I can admit that it’s unnecessary. Information of this sort is good when something’s broken and needs fixing; otherwise, it’s noise and we don’t need to see it.
“Shiny updates” means making this prettier. In future, on your plugins page (it’s only being implemented on that page in the first stage), you’ll see your update link, like so…
.. and when you click on the “update now” link (bottom, just right-of-centre), it’ll turn into “Updating…”:
… and finally, if successful, it’ll tell you so:
Earth-shattering, this is not. But small improvements are nice too. Under-the-hood, it changes the way updates are done a lot, so this small tweak brought us a lot of work to get “Automatic Backups” working again. (“Automatic Backups” are our very handy, and unique, feature, whereby an appropriate is taken just before you do a plugin update – so that, if the new plugin is faulty, you can quickly switch back to the old one… without having to take special effort and risk not bothering and being caught out).
The work is done now and is included in the just-released UpdraftPlus 2.9.62.
WordPress 4.2 is scheduled for release in 3 weeks from now. If you’ve not got UpdraftPlus Premium with its “Automatic Backups” feature yet, then please do take a look – it’ll take a backup of your WordPress site for you before you update to 4.2, so that whatever 4.2 brings, you’ll be covered.
David Anderson (founder, lead developer, UpdraftPlus)