What’s New in WordPress 3.9 Beta

 39   Tweet

Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.

what is new in WordPress 3.9

Many of you might already be aware that the first beta for WordPress 3.9 is out in the wild, and you can download it and try out some of the new things that are expected to be shipped with this new release, which is expected to be ready sometime in April 2014. Of course, there will be a Beta 2,3 and a Release Candidate version out for 3.9 before the public release. You can check the project schedule here.

If you have not caught up with what is new in this beta build, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We will be running through some of the most important changes from a developer and user point of view. Click the buttons below to jump between the two sections.


Warning : This is a beta build, and it’s not recommended that you run this on a production version of your site. These versions are released so that active community members can play around with the new features and test out the new stuff, to make sure there is no issues with it before it’s deployed for the broader public.

Pro Tip : If you want to try the new releases, I highly recommend installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.

Important links:

  • Oh noes, I found a bug: Inform the right people on the forum or file a bug report.
  • I hate bugs: So do we! Go through this bugs list before submitting a new one, because there is no point in submitting a duplicate bug report.
  • Squashed bugs: Here’s a list of stuff that was fixed.

What’s New for Developers in WordPress 3.9 Beta 1

These are some of the core changes that will impact WordPress theme and plugin developers:

  • The multisite load process was rewritten. #27003
  • WordPress 3.9 will be using the MySQL Improved (mysqli) database extension if you’re running a recent version of PHP. Plugin developers are advised to test their plugins and see that everything works well. You are also advised against calling mysql_* functions directly. #21663
  • Autosave was refactored, so if you see any issues related to autosaving, heartbeat, etc., let us know (#25272).
  • Backbone 1.1, Underscore 1.6 (#26799), Masonry 3 (#25351), PHPMailer (#25560), Plupload (#25663) and TinyMCE ( #24067) were updated.

What’s New for Users in WordPress 3.9 Beta 1

In this section we will be looking at the changes that impacts users.

1. Updated to Visual Editor

TinyMCE was updated to the latest version. For the uninitiated, TinyMCE is an open-source, platform-independent, web-based Javascript HTML WYSIWYG editor that powers the Visual Editor on WordPress. The update made it possible for them to remove the “Paste from Word” button. It’s said that the visual editor will handle copy paste from Microsoft Word with more grace, and will add much cleaner HTML markup.

TinyMCE Before After

It looks like 3.9 Beta 1 introduced a Horizontal Line button on the visual editor header. This is how the horizontal line renders in the Twenty Fourteen WordPress theme.

horizontal line WordPress 3.9

It would also appear some visual changes were applied to the button icons, like the one for Text Color, and the new TinyMCE editor dropped the support for the color picker / palette option.

Font Color Before and After

2. Widget Customizer & Header Image Editor in Live Previews

Widgets offer an easy way to customize you sidebars and footer on you WordPress site. When you go into Appearance >> Themes >> Customize in WordPress 3.9, you have the option to see live preview for widgets. When you click on “Add A Widget”, a new menu slides out where you can search for a widget, and you can see the widget in action before you push it live on your site.

Widget Customizer in Live Previews

You can also upload, crop, and manage header images, without needing to leave the preview area. Don’t forget to have a look through GraphicRiver’s Background Images for some great header images you can use on your site.

header image preview

3. Visually Appealing Theme Browsing Experience

You can see below the screenshot for the themes you can download from the WordPress theme repository. You’re able to look at a live demo for the theme, or install it from this screen. While you’re browsing for themes, don’t forget to have look through the professionally designed WordPress themes on ThemeForest. From parallax to responsive, we’ve got just about every WordPress theme styles you can think of.

Old Theme Install

New Theme Install

4. Drag and Drop Media in Visual Editor

It is now possible to drag and drop images in the visual editor, and WordPress will upload that media to your site. This will a great time saver, especially if you are working with multiple monitors where you usually try to drag and drop items between screens. I tried it with images and video, and both worked well, so I am going to take a stab in the dark and assume it will also work for audio.

drag drop

5. Live Gallery Preview in Visual Editor

No longer will you have to look at the placeholder box for galleries in the visual editor—you get a live preview now. Here is a before and after shot for a simple gallery in the visual editor.

Old Visual Gallery
Old Visual Gallery
New Visual Gallery
New Visual Gallery

6. Audio and Video Playlist

Now you can create audio and video playlists within WordPress. You can access this when you go to the Insert Media screen.

Old Media Gallery

New Media Gallery

And in case you are wondering, this is how an audio playlist will look in the default theme.

audio playlist

7. Improved Image Editing Options

You can edit images from within the visual editor while working on your post. Previously, you needed to leave the page and open up the image editing controls.

old image editor
Old image editor
new image editor
New image editor

So, there you have it folks—some of the new things that are present in the WordPress 3.9 Beta 1. Let us know what you like (or dislike) with the new version.

download wordpress theme

  • ThemeWonder

    Nice one guys, this is exactly what I was looking for.

    • Saijo George

      Glad to help 🙂

  • Thomas

    Hey Saijo,

    What do you mean exactlyby “multisite load process was rewritten” ?


  • Thanks, Saijo.

    I wasn’t expecting anyone to do a review on this, but I’m glad you’ve taken the time and energy to put it together, changes are looking good, but still lack anything ‘holy crap!’ worthy.


    • Saijo George

      I am guessing the WOW will come with WordPress 4.0 😉 which should be released later this year. ( August to be precise )

    • Saijo George : I am guessing the WOW will come with WordPress 4.0

      i’m agree

  • MrMontey

    wordpress is a dying platform, ghost is the future of blogging.

    • Saijo George

      I seriously doubt that, its one of the widely used platform out there. Any particular reason you feel this way ?

    • Anon

      My friend, WordPress has expanded from being just a blogging platform a long time ago. Your argument is not valid.

  • Wow , i love it 🙂

    • Saijo George

      Glad you enjoyed it mate.

  • Thanks Saijo, I always find any wordpress info really helpful. I dont really know who else gives the time and effort like this.

    I am looking forward to the wordpress 4 version.

    • Saijo George

      No worries Duna. We are hoping to make this a part of notes and in the future we might also expand in to other products 🙂

  • WordPress is just getting better and better! The last updates were really good and as I see more goodies will come. Great post! Thanks for taking the time comparing the versions.

    • Saijo George

      Yeah a lot of really cool stuff coming out for WordPress and with 4.0 coming out in Aug, its only going to get better 🙂

  • Eslam

    Wow this is really what i was looking for

    but im asking if it support rtl languages

  • Eddie Mayan

    WordPress 3.9 Beta 2 updated

    Best features of WP 3.9 beta 1 are drag and drop feature, image editing, cropping, resizing in the visual editor.
    New Add Theme layout

    In Beta 2
    New theme “Filter feature” to improve search of themes inside WordPress
    audio and video rendering in the visual editor, audio and video playlists
    widget area in “Customize theme” interface

    Source: http://www.cloudways.com/blog/wordpress-3-9-beta-2/

  • whether it will have much effect on the previously installed themes?

  • Good improvement ! It helps to work better.

  • Peter

    Still no folders in Media Library

  • Cindy Potters

    Thanks for the article. It’s my understanding that this version won’t have any built-in SEO features ?

    I guess it would be really awesome if all the features from WordPress SEO by Yoast would just kindly migrate to the WordPress core. Do you think it’s possible any time soon?

  • Dumpeal

    Hi, thanks for the review!

    But what happend with color picker? Where is it now?

    • CrashSix

      I love the color picker!! I’m more than upset about this. I have multiple other ways of accessing one, but this one is right in the editor for convenience- which I thought was the whole point of all of these other changes…?
      Bring back the color picker!!!

  • Akhtar

    Great update especially images gallery things this is exactly what I was looking for.

  • Looking forward to the new changes in WordPress 3.9. Beta 3 was just released a few days ago, so we are very close to launching 3.9. So many new features its hard to pick a fav, but the adding media options look like a huge boost for sure.

  • CrashSix

    Don’t remove the color picker!!!

  • I wonder how many plugins will be affected by the deprecation of the old Mysql calls.

    The rest is great, thanks for putting this together!

  • Onebob

    Colour Picker gone? Damn, they did the same thing in GEDIT on Gnome 3.10, why do they think we only want to use their colours!?!

  • I am new entrant to the website/content management scene and I think all the features mentioned in this review would be welcomed by me. However, like someone already pointed out, I would have liked to see some more file management stuff. The clarity between the physical server space and the WordPress gallery needs to be there. I would like to upload/save my pictures , videos, music etc into separate folders with folders within them and have WordPress recognize the file system and respect it while placing into posts or content or after edits by giving me an option to where I would like to save those files. Now I can see multiple versions of the same file in the media tab and am not even sure which one to delete.

  • Hello Saijo,
    Wordpress has improve its core to 3.9 version which has many significant improvements, but I am still worried to upgrade my web to the new version. How about the bug? Could you review it please?

  • Bill

    What happened to the image advanced settings styles box? It’s gone. How do you add shadows and borders on images in posts now? Heavy disappointment!!!!

  • JHF

    I hate 3.9. They buggered the TEXT EDITOR. Now we can no longer drag TEXT (duh) into it. Some of us are professionals and don’t need or want this “Drop files to upload” silliness. At any rate, my writing workflow is now completely screwed. There was no reason to make automatic media uploading part of the TEXT EDITOR. Text, text, text, not images. TEXT!!!

  • laure


    Since the update at wp 3.9, the new Visual Editor is really minimaliste, no color pick up for underline, no palette option, no font size, no font familly…I mean ok update is good but here without tinymce ultimate, or advanced, we miss a true wp visual editor.

    I don’t understand why this update has erase tinymce before giving a complete visual editor, it’s really important to get one who has some buttons, i mean to have the possibilities of cropping a picture is not so important as to get a visual editor who has a good wp editor….

    For the first time i m unhappy with this update…

  • Tony

    Hi Saijo,

    A great article overview about WordPress 3.9. I mostly like visual image editing feature. Much more fun working with content now. Just want to add more overview to WordPress 3.9 via infographic here http://visual.ly/wordpress-39-new-features-you-will-love

  • Tony

    Here is the short video about WordPress 3.9 https://vimeo.com/92580979

    Check it out, guys!

    • Unfortunately, vimeo my country can not be opened.
      is unfortunate