WordPress Version 4.4 “Clifford” Features Responsive Images, Twenty Sixteen and more

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Four months of development headed up by Scott Taylor, WordPress version 4.4 is available for download.  Nicknamed “Clifford” after legendary Jazz trumpeter Clifford Brown, the new release features responsive images, a new Twenty Sixteen theme, WordPress embeds, a boatload of small under-the-hood improvements, and the first half of the long-awaited REST API

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Responsive Images in WordPress 4.4

When users upload their photos and images to WordPress, they are usually automatically cropped to a smaller size.  When you upload an image with the dimensions of 1500 x 706, your options are as follows:

  • Full Size – 1500 x 706
  • Large – 500 x 235
  • Medium – 300 x 141
  • Thumbnail – 150 x 150

WordPress 4.4 adds srcset and sizes support to core operating system. This lets WordPress automatically display the right image based on the screen being used.  If you attach the full size image for desktop viewing, mobile devices will see a large or medium image instead, with not extra coding required.

responsive-web-template3 wordpress 4.4

This moves decreases the amount of bandwidth used to load any WordPress site, because small images have a smaller file size.  Making images responsive have no setting to configure and are automatically used in 4.4

Embed WordPress Posts

For years, users of WordPress have been able to easily embed content from certain sources, by pasting a URL into the editor window.  With the release of 4.4, WordPress has become a trusted oEmbed source, which means anyone can easily embed content from any WordPress-powered website.

Embedded content displays inside an iFrame, with sharing icons, excerpt of the post and a link to comments:


Feature Plugin Merge Proposal: oEmbed

If you don’t want your content to be shared as easily, you can easily grab the Disable Embed plugin.  Disable Embed

  • Prevents others from embedding your site.
  • Prevents you from embedding other non-whitelisted sites.
  • Disables all JavaScript related to the feature.


4.4 includes the ‘first half’ of the long-awaited REST API.  The first part – the infrastructure part – handles the JSON serialization/deserialization, status codes, routing, and more related to the API

Theme and Plugin developers can start using the API already, using the infrastructure in the WordPress core to replace the current custom admin-ajax endpoints.

New Twenty Sixteen Theme

Twenty Sixteen is a new default theme for WordPress.  It was designed with a responsive, mobile-first approach.  It has optional right-hand sidebars and displays author bios to the left.  It comes with four different color schemes, all modifiable using the Customizer

twenty-sixteen-theme-e1440896131806 wordpress 4.4

Other Noteworthy Changes


The built-in WordPress comments section has undergone a huge revamp.  The biggest difference users will notice is the order of the fields: the Comment field now comes first, and then Name, Email and URL.  This change is meant to improve navigation when using a keyboard to move through the fields.  It’s also meant to make it easier for readers to leave comments.

CommentsFirst wordpress 4.4

WP_Title is Not Deprecated

Contrary to earlier reports, the core development team decided not to deprecate the WP_Title function. It’s considered a zombie function and add_theme_support( 'title-tag' ); remains the recommended way to insert the title tag in themes.

Changes to the Headings Hierarchy

To improve accessibility, the headings hierarchy in the admin section of 4.4 restores the H1 heading to admin screens.  This should help admins locate important information.

WordPress Multisite

WordPress Multisite has a new class.  WP_Network,along with *_network_option should make it easier to use multiple networks.

Taxonomy Term Meta

In the last few release cycles, the WordPress core development team worked to complete tasks from the Taxonomy roadmap.

In WordPress 4.3, the development team successfully split shared taxonomy terms, which ensures that terms can be uniquely identified by their term_id. In 4.4, the $taxonomy parameter is now optional in get_term() and get_term_field(), functions that previously required both $term_id and $taxonomy.

WordPress 4.4 introduces Term Meta, which lets developers use the new term meta API to store data about terms, much in the same way users would for comments or posts.


WordPress 4.4 Clifford had help from over 400 contributors.  Lead developer Scott Taylor previously stated one of his goals in this release was to go through the backlog of tickets and review fixes and patches that had fallen by the wayside.

Volunteers are watching support threads during the rollout, for if you have any issues, report them on the support forums.  Update your sites and let us know what you think of the new features.

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