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Introducing Wordpress 4.3 Billie

by  David Dwyer on  05/10/2015

Don’t Be a CMS Sheep | There is another way to YOUR perfect CMS

Wordpress is the Worlds biggest Content Management System (CMS) with 19% of the World’s sites being driven by the platform. It powers websites large & small. What started as a basic blogging platform for personal use has transformed into a system capable of running large, high-traffic websites, including e-commerce sites.

It’s also a platform that is regularly updated. In some cases, these updates are necessary to tackle new security threats, while others are used to introduce new features.


Wordpress 4.3 Billie


Each major release of Wordpress is named after a well-known jazz musician. The time it’s the turn of Billie Holiday to be honoured. (If you’re interested in such things you can find the full list here - https://wordpress.org/about/roadmap/)

In terms of recent releases, 4.3 is quite major, with three significant changes and a host of other features designed for the developer community. In this article, we’ll focus on the three significant changes.


Formatting Shortcuts & Editor Enhancements

For frequent Wordpress publishers, this is probably the change that was greeted with the greatest cheer.

The editor now supports a form of ‘Markdown’ that acts as a shortcut to create headers, bullet lists, numbered lists and ‘pull quotes’. In practical terms, these keyboard shortcuts remove the necessity to click on the individual icons in the editor that previously controlled those functions. For those familiar with writing using shortcuts, it will be a welcome addition.


Menu Customiser

Creating a menu in previous versions of Wordpress wasn’t necessarily difficult, but it was somewhat clumsy. You can now customise menus with a live preview of any changes you make. All the menus options are now available in the customiser. The real benefit is that the changes take place in real-time without having the need to reload the page.


Strong Passwords

By default, Wordpress 4.3 now generates long, random and secure passwords. It's a much-needed step in the right direction in our opinion, but users can still create their own, weaker passwords if they choose to do so. The latest iteration also does away with the ability to email passwords to users, which again, we see as a good thing.


The Inspire Perspective

There’s no doubt that the changes rolled out in ‘Billie’ enhance the experience for established Wordpress users, but for first-timers, the changes just create more confusion. The interface is slowly moving towards what Joomla (another Content Management System) offers, and that isn’t a compliment. If you’ve never used Wordpress before, the busy interface can be quite intimidating. Many of the features will remain unused, but their very presence can be off-putting.

Security is always a major focus for us at Inspire, so we applaud the stronger password feature. But why did it take so long? Our biggest concern with Wordpress has always been its vulnerability to attack. In fact, it is the MOST attacked Content Management System in the World. [Article: http://www.eweek.com/security/wordpress-to-remain-most-attacked-platform-researchers-say]

Stronger passwords will make it harder for the hacking community to hack Wordpress sites, but in our experience it won’t be long until they have figured out another way to hack the system. It’s an ongoing game of cat and mouse that will never end as the sheer volume of Wordpress sites is just too tempting a target. Each counter-measure merely represents another obstacle for would-be hackers to overcome.


Securing Your Wordpress Install

At Inspire, we manage Wordpress sites for our clients around the world. In many cases these opportunities have come to us as a result of the site owner having a technical security issue that they simply couldn’t resolve on their own. We’ve recovered the situation via our Developer SOS service and continued to support their Wordpress based install.

We know the existing vulnerabilities and thanks to Google Alerts and plugin alerts, we're notified as soon as new threats are identified and secure plugins become available.

If you have a Wordpress site, do you know if it is secure? If you’re not sure, get in touch, and we can advise the best course of action to secure your Wordpress site.


Don’t Be A CMS Sheep

We can see the attraction of Wordpress, but there are a host of other off the shelf Content Management Systems available in the marketplace, including Joomla and Drupal. While they are all different in some way, they all experience the same issues mentioned above.

At Inspire, we took a strategic decision very early on to develop our own CMS that followed the principle of:

Easy to use > more inclined to use (greater engagement from website owner) > greater return

It's easier to build on and is tailored to each client's needs, the opposite of a ‘one size fits all’ solution.

Because it can scale and be expanded as much in the back end as the front end, it is an affordable, secure alternative to the big CMS names.

We create a custom Content Management System that has the tools that YOU need; this creates a clutter-free interface that allows you to do what you need to do. Our approach is flexible, which means you can add new features to your custom built CMS when you need them.

If you’d like to find out more about our custom Content Management System or need some support with your Wordpress site, please get in touch. Whatever your situation, we’ll help you get the most out of your Content Management System.

Contact David on 01738 70 00 06 to find out more. 

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.


Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

CMS, Content Management Systems, Cyber Security, Disruptive not Disrupting Tech, Inspire Web Development, Inspire Web Services, The Evolving Web, Web Consultancy, Website Management, Wordpress
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