archive of the free track of the month

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Post Status: WordPress 4.1, “Dinah”

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wordpress-4-1
WordPress 4.1, “Dinah”, has just been released. WordPress 4.1 is the result of months of work and includes a number of excellent new features.

WordPress 4.1 was led by John Blackbourn, who did an outstanding job. Two hundred and eighty three contributors were part of WordPress 4.1, which Matt Mullenweg states is a new high.

Here are some of the new features.

Persistent Distraction-free Writing

I must begin with the new persistent Distraction-free Writing feature, as I’m using it to write this very post. We’ve had Distraction-free Writing since 2011, with the release of WordPress 3.2. However, it’s always been a single-experience decision. You hit the button to enter distraction free mode, and you utilize it for a single writing session.

Now, the button itself is persistent, and the experience of writing distraction free doesn’t enter a new screen, but rather fade away the distractions of the default editor.

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The left admin seamlessly floats away, as do the metaboxes to the right of and below the editor. The editor itself remains, versus using a modified editor like before.

When you update to WordPress 4.1, you are triggered with a note about Distraction-free Writing, and now that it’s a decision you only have to make once, I think this feature will finally get the broad use it deserves. It really is much more pleasant to write without everything else around you, to be lost in your thoughts as they make their way to the editor.

Twenty Fifteen theme

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The Twenty Fifteen theme is the finest work I’ve seen yet of the default theme team. A blogging, and personal, theme — Twenty Fifteen is simple, with beautiful typography, and capable of showcasing blog posts of any format with poise.

Twenty Fifteen comes in six base color schemes: default (light), dark, yellow, ping, purple, and blue. It also supports WordPress’ background and header image features, and allows you to customize colors from your base selection; Twenty Fifteen can be as quirky as you are.

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Here’s a link to the default theme demo, as well as it’s new page on WordPress.org.

Dozens of languages, available any time

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WordPress has made tremendous progress for non-English speaking users in the past few releases. With WordPress 4.0, you could choose a language on installation, whereas before it required many more steps. Now the team has gone a step further, so that language can be changed at any time, right from WordPress’ general settings page.

Given that a third of WordPress installs are non-English (and if I recall correctly half of new downloads are non-English now), this change further reduces the barrier of language in publishing software, and is an excellent move for the progression of the platform across the world.

Recommended plugins

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I believe recommended plugins is probably the most controversial feature in WordPress 4.1, though it is not without precedent. “Featured” themes have been in the WordPress dashboard for a while now. But with a tab for recommended plugins, now users can see plugin recommendations based on plugins already installed and plugins other sites have installed.

Recommended plugins are replacing the former popular plugins tab, and is mostly a change in the underlying API for showing the plugins themselves. Since it’s not a manual recommendation, I think this is a good change, and will more accurately help folks find relevant plugins than just listing the most popular plugins in the directory.

New template tags and theming tools

I’m really looking forward to using some of the new template tags introduced in WordPress 4.1.

My favorite is get_the_archive_title(). Themers out there all know about the big blob of conditionals in most theme archive templates to spit out the right string based on which archive template it is. Now, there’s a function for that, and it’s fully filterable to boot.

Descriptions of the new title functions, some new pagination functions, and some particularly nice body class assignment enhancements are well described on this Make WordPress post by Konstantin Obenland. There’s also a post about adding theme support to let WordPress handle title tags, which is a handy thing.

Log out from anywhere

A relatively small but nice security feature is the new ability to log out of all installs from a single location. WordPress uses cookies to keep you logged into your install for a period of time. Well, if you ever leave yourself logged in on a computer you don’t trust, you can now log out of all instances easily, from your profile page on an install.

There is a new button that says “Log Out of All Other Sessions,” and also tells you if you are logged in at more than one location.

More improvements to queries

I love how much progress has been made on the WordPress query tools in the last couple of years. WordPress 4.1 introduces the ability for a nested query syntax, which makes more complex queries possible for WP_Tax_Query, WP_Date_Query, and WP_Meta_Query. I don’t often call out single individual’s work on something, but Boone Georges really slayed it with the nested queries work. He wrote about it on his blog in detail.

More under the hood

WordPress 4.1 includes many other under the hood features you should check out on the Codex page about the release.

More excellent progress for WordPress

WordPress is better than ever, and hundreds (or thousands) of people make it so. Great job everyone. Now, go download WordPress 4.1.

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WPTavern: Nulis: A Free Minimalist WordPress Theme with a Unique Twist

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Nulis is one of the most unique designs to land in the WordPress Themes Directory this year. At first glance, you might think the theme is rather plain. The screenshot on the theme’s description page doesn’t indicate anything interesting going on under the hood, but something about it intrigued me enough to put it up on a test site.

Nulis-screenshot

Nulis includes several options built into the native customizer for adding your own header image, background, a custom logo, the ability to change the header text color, and more. Once customized, the theme looks quite a bit less plain than its screenshot.

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The icon on the top right spins when clicked and fades in a search bar. The icon at the top left of the theme also spins and opens a hidden panel with your logo, bio, navigation menu, social links, and any custom widgets you wish to add. Everything included in the hidden panel can be added via the customizer.

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Nulis is the Javanese word for ‘writing,’ and the theme does an excellent job of highlighting your content, especially if you are fond of post formats. Each post format has its own unique styling to set it apart from the others. The one-column theme surrounds your content with ample white space and showcases large, full-width featured images. The theme is also responsive and looks fantastic on mobile devices.

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Check out the live demo to see the theme in action, and make sure to try the interactive icons at the top while you’re there. It’s a fun addition for toggling the hidden panel and search box.

Nulis was created by web developer Denny Kuswantoro. It’s his first submission to the themes directory and his account will be one to watch in the future. You can download Nulis from WordPress.org or install it on your site via the admin themes browser.

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In the Kitchen with Skye Gyngell, London’s Chef du Jour

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Last month London-based chef Skye Gyngell opened her highly anticipated restaurant Spring to instant acclaim (we dropped in a couple of weeks ago for lunch and were smitten by the food and the decor).

So what does the former head chef of Petersham Nurseries (where she earned a Michelin star) and previous food editor at Vogue UK do when the day is done? She heads home and cooks some more. "When it’s freezing outside, cooking warming soups and stews gives me a reason to look forward to coming home," Gyngell says. "I like to relax in my kitchen, cooking and spending time with my two daughters." Join us for a tour of her kitchen and find out what she’s cooking for Christmas. 

Photography by Alexis Hamilton for British Standard, unless otherwise noted.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: Gyngell opted for a two-tone kitchen: Everything under the counter is dark, and everything above the counter is white. Her battered wood floors suggest a "working" kitchen and are in keeping with the spirit of cabinets from British Standard, Plain English’s more affordable offshoot.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: The kitchen is on the ground floor of a west London terraced house and looks out onto the street. The tall cabinets on the left provide ample storage without looking too "kitchen-y."


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: A white Carrara marble backsplash running the entire length of the wall is matched by the same material on the countertop. The traditional cabinets, painted Hague Blue from Farrow & Ball, contrast with the clean details of the stainless steel Mercury 1000 Range Cooker and Hood. An open shelf continues the datum set by the height of the hood.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: The Deck-Mounted Goose Neck Faucet with Cross Hair Handles is from Perrin & Row.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: Gyngell selected a copper sink for aesthetic reasons—she liked the way the copper looked with the Carrara marble worktop and the dark cabinets underneath.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: A shimmer of copper is glimpsed through a partially open cabinet door.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Double Copper Sink,  Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: Copper has essential antimicrobial properties, which has its advantages when it comes to kitchen sinks.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Black Glugell Ceramic Jug, Green Glass, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above L: A Gurgling Cod Pitcher from the Gluggle Shop in the UK holds herbs. Above R: Gyngell introduces dark green to the palette through colored glass bottles. 


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: The chef’s vintage cookbooks are easily accessible via open shelving on one side of the island. A painting propped on the counter is a warm addition to the Carrara marble backsplash. (Want to try this in your kitchen? See The New Art Gallery: Paintings in the Kitchen.)


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: A detail of a customized drawer pull provided by Plain English, British Standard’s bespoke parent company. 


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: A wall-mounted white BL6 Light from Bestlite provides task lighting along the clutter-free worktop. "I don’t have a food processor. I do everything in a pestle and mortar. I love hands, the connection with food," she told the London Times recently. Her arsenal includes "good knives from the Japanese Knife Company and Bourgeat pans."


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, Carrara marble countertop and back splash, Farrow & Ball Hague Blue Cabinets, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: At the end of the kitchen, casual bench seating echoes the shape of the bay window.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, White Tall Cabinets with Leather Pulls, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: The leather cabinet pulls are from Plain English, British Standard’s parent company.


Skye Gyngell kitchen by British Standard, White Cabinets with Brown Leather Pulls, Photography by Alexis Hamilton | Remodelista

Above: Herbs are hung to dry from the tall cabinets with a wrought iron S hook. In 5 Quick Fixes, S Hooks with Style, we source some of our favorites.


Skye Gyngell at Spring, Photograph by Amber Rowlands | Remdodelista

Above: What’s the chef cooking for Christmas? "On Christmas Eve, I’ll cook with friends—something traditional like a big glazed ham," Gyngell says. "Everyone always makes a big fuss about desserts at this time of year, but I like to finish meals with just a few lovely fresh clementines." Photograph by Amber Rowlands.

See more quintessentially British kitchens:

And on Gardenista, we visit 10 Charming Carriage Houses.

More Stories from Remodelista

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MP3 At 3PM: Walter Martin

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Walter Martin (of Walkmen fame) debuted his latest album, We’re All Young Together, earlier this year to much critical acclaim. Now, just in time for the holidays, Martin releases “I Walk So Slow (Under The Mistletoe),” a laid-back track recorded with singer/songwriter Kat Edmonson. The song has excellent use of marimba and helps usher in the holiday […]

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