It’s almost here! WordPress 4.3 brings some improvements to the core and a focus on mobile. The Beta was released a few days ago and brings the usual round of improvements to your favourite website platform. Below is a quick rundown on what to expect in the coming weeks. All subscribers to SiteProtect will be pushed to 4.3 as soon as it’s released, and the sites will be tested for issues as part of the maintenance program.

WordPress themes

Menus can be edited for a website’s theme from the Theme Customizer directly. This allows developers to make changes to their site without putting it into maintenance mode, while previewing how new menu options and styles will look.

A feature that has spent four years in the WordPress forums has been added to the core, and that’s the ability to upload and customize the site’s favicon. Most themes already have this built in, but for those that don’t this will be a welcome addition.

A UI focused on the mobile experience

This has been a focus for the WordPress team for some time, with mobile support already being available for a couple of versions now.

Version 4.3 will add better mobile support for the whole admin UI, but it will also focus more on the network admin, which is the page where WordPress is managed when working in multi-site mode. Most users don’t need to worry about this but it will be great for administrators.

WYSIWYG Editor changes

Other improvements packed with the first 4.3 Beta include changes to the WYSIWYG editor that adds basic Markdown support, a clearer list view for post/page listings in the mobile dashboard, and complete removal of the old “Distraction Free Writing” mode for the post editor. Certain text patterns are automatically transformed as you type, including * and - transforming into unordered lists, 1.and 1) for ordered lists, > for blockquotes and two to six number signs (#) for headings.

Better passwords = better security

Another focus point for the new version will be to change the way passwords are chosen in WordPress during and after installation, also giving users the option to have WordPress generate a new password for them. The new password generator will bring 24-character random strings, making it much harder to guess a password. Save this in your favourite password safe and use two-factor authentication and you will have the Fort Knox of website security for your site.

Additionally, the password strength meter messages will also be enhanced, as the team considers them too short and uninformative as they are right now.

If you want a more in-depth view of what changes have made it into 4.3, check out all 4.3-tagged posts on the main development blog. To test WordPress 4.3 today, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”) – or you can download the beta here (zip).