This week we are updating client sites to WordPress 4.1, which the developer has code named “Dinah” in honor of jazz singer Dinah Washington. We always recommend keeping WordPress up to date, but Dinah will also provide new usability and security features–nothing essential or groundbreaking, but nice things to have when you need them.
Our favorite Dinah addition is “distraction-free writing mode,” which allows you to press a button and temporarily banish all the sidebar elements around the main editing box in your new posts and pages. Even if those sidebars were never a distraction per se, you might never have realized how much they put the edit box into a “blog update” context. Without the sidebars, the page suddenly resembles a word processor, and has a look and feel that may be more conducive to your creativity.
When you do need those sidebar elements, move your cursor out of the text box and they will reappear.
Another feature we like is “log out everywhere,” a valuable security feature for anyone who logs into their site from multiple computers. If you tend to log in from wherever you happen to be, you might find yourself waking up to the blind panic that you’ve forgotten to log out from a remote site.
Dinah provides a button to log out of that computer from this computer.
If you’re paranoid, this feature also gives you a way to check whether someone has gotten hold of your login credentials and is using them now-right-now for some nefarious purpose.
One more feature you might find useful is the ability to embed short looping video clips from Vine from a URL.
You may have previously placed graphics or videos into a page by cutting and pasting a chunk of code. But for a growing number of trusted sources, now including Vine, you don’t need that chunk of code. Just point WordPress at the page where the to-be-embedded object lives by dropping the URL onto a line by itself, and WordPress will automatically generate the code to embed.
Gaining the ability to embed Vine content gave us an excuse to look up all the other fun things WordPress can seamlessly embed.
For example, here is an embedded photo of Dinah Washington from Flickr:
Here is some embedded music by Dinah Washington from SoundCloud:
Here is part of a documentary about Dinah Washington, embedded from a YouTube video:
Here is some of Dinah Washington’s sheet music as an embedded document from Scribd:
Here is embedded information about a Boston-area meetup dedicated to jazz:
And now, “WordPress Dinah” allows us to add an embedded Vine loop of a Royal Conservatory tribute to Dinah Washington:
Each of these embeds is accomplished by pasting a single URL and letting WordPress do the rest.