3 Major Features in WordPress 4.1

wordpress 4.1

wordpress 4.1It seems like only a few weeks ago that WordPress 4.0 shipped.

Well, the WordPress team are moving quickly, and version 4.1 is now due on December 10th.

Not surprisingly, given the short time-frame, there won’t be many new features in 4.1. One major feature that won’t make it is the new REST API.

However, 4.1 does have one nice writing feature, a very cool internationalization improvement, and the new Twenty Fifteen Theme.

Feature #1. Distraction-Free Editing

Distraction-free writing has been an option since WordPress 3.2, but there’s every chance that it goes much further in 4.1.

In Version 4.1, as soon as you put your cursor in the text, everything else fades away. Here’s how the distraction-free mode appears:


Sarah at WPTavern comments:

“reaction to the new distraction-free writing mode has been mixed, with the most vocal feedback coming from those who are not looking forward to turning the feature off on multiple sites. WordPress core contributors will be gathering feedback during the beta period in order to determine whether or not the new DFW mode will be shipped as “on” by default.”

Also in the editor is a smaller change. When you select an image, you now get alignment options in addition to an editing button:


Feature #2: Super-easy language installs

Now this is cool. Version 4.1 removes the idea of even installing a new language.

Go to Settings > Site Language and choose a different language. WordPress will automatically change the language and won’t mention anything about an installation while it does so.


Feature #3. The Twenty Fifteen Theme

Twenty Fifteen is a very clean, blog-focused theme with the currently fashionable over-sized headers:


To me, the theme actually looks better in the mobile view. Maybe this shouldn’t have been a surprise to me as the designer, Takeshi Irie says he used a mobile first approach in the design.



  • Steve Burge

    Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.

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9 years ago

“Feature #1. Distraction-Free Editing” looks strange to me, I don’t think it is usable as a “default” in general, at least not in such a visual appearance. Hiding the UI elements completely and keeping that empty space feels wrong to me. Maybe it does work in a fullscreen mode. Personally, i would prefer a button to switch into some kind of “ZEN-mode”. Comparable to a large lightbox effect with dimmed background, where I still notice the UI elements.

9 years ago
Reply to  pepperstreet

Good points, pepperstreet. It sounds like quite a few other people share your opinion too – it may not become the default option.

Dan Knauss
Dan Knauss
9 years ago
Reply to  steve

It’s a major feature many of us have likely ignored because there’s no prominent switch and old habits die hard. I ought to play with it more but never get around to it, so I’m open to getting it forced on me at least briefly if I hate it.
If you are routinely composing new posts in WP and not somewhere else, zen probably ought to be the default. If your main task is editing and working on things involving metaboxes a lot, zen mode is a TERRIBLE default. I’ll probably end up making it a role-based default I control based on client needs if the core imposes it on all users, but I’m curious to see how people react.

9 years ago
Reply to  Dan Knauss

Well put, Dan
Given the mixed feedback, it does seem as if this should not be a default feature.
It doesn’t seem as if this passes the 80/20 rule.

Andru Dunn
Andru Dunn
9 years ago

Does the site language feature mean you can set posts be in specific languages? Like a core functionality similar to WPML?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x