Low End Mac Implements WordPress 3.9

Over the weekend we updated to WordPress version 3.9, and there are some real changes writers should know about. Most of the changes show up in the Ultimate TinyMCE plugin we use for WYSIWYG editing.

Edit bar in Ultimate TinyMCE

First off, you need to use a wider window than before to get the editing bar to show properly. I have done some fiddling around with what’s on each of the three rows of commands, moving a few more items out of the top row and putting more in the third. Now it looks like this and will work better in a narrower browser window.

WordPress 3.9 edit bar, revised

I’ve also had different results using Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. At present, Firefox seems to work best.

Secondly, I’ve been running into problems with the Search and Search & Replace function. All that shows up is a blank white box (below). Very frustrating.

Find and Replace box

Thirdly, it handles images completely differently than before. In some ways, the new way is better. In some, worse.

The old system gave you options to scale an image to 60%, 70%, 80%, or 90% of its original size, and in Advanced Settings you could manually specify image dimensions. You also had to use Advanced Settings to set space around an image and give it a border.

Image details

The new system lets you type in one pixel dimension for an image and automatically generates the length of the other side. That’s absolutely wonderful, so we can make sure even the widest image fits our layout by setting its horizontal dimension to 680 pixels or less. Also, there’s no longer any need to add space around images – WordPress 3.9 automatically does that now, which is as it should be. Text should never bump up against images.

The one place this falls down is that you can no longer specify a border around an image, and that has users up in arms. That’s been especially helpful with screen shots, particularly images with a white background or from the old black-and-white 1-bit days of the Mac OS. There’s no way to put a black border around this screen shot of Photoshop 1.0 on a Mac Plus just using WordPress 3.9 – and it really needs that border.

Photoshop 1.0 on a Mac Plus

There is a plugin to restore padding and border properties, but I (and many others who have posted their displeasure in the WordPress support forums) can’t understand why they would remove such a widely used feature. On the plus side, someone has already developed the Advanced Image Styles plugin to restore what we had in WordPress version 3.8.

That’s installed, and here’s the same image with a 1 pixel border – much better!

Photoshop 1.0 on a Mac Plus.

Whether you’re writing for Low End Mac or using WordPress 3.9 somewhere else, these are things you’ll want to know as you upgrade from previous versions and wonder about otherwise missing features.

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One thought on “Low End Mac Implements WordPress 3.9

  1. I just added a new post; I copied/pasted text from the draft on my computer, and was pleased that it seemed to be properly including the spaces between paragraphs – earlier versions skipped two lines instead of one. But when I previewed the post, I saw I actually had no paragraph breaks at all.

    On the other hand, I was able to add borders to my screen-capture images in a two-step process: insert the image using the set of options given, then – after the image appeared in the text in the edit window, click on it – that gives two options: an Edit pencil icon and a Delete trash icon. Clicking the Edit option shows additional options, including ‘Advanced’ options for Border and more. (And that’s just how it worked in the older version as well).

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