The core team announced the beta version of the new WordPress v4.9 about a week ago. After using it for a while, I am excited to share the new features and my impressions about WordPress 4.9.
The features which you will find in this upcoming version of WordPress are listed below:
Drafting & Scheduling in Customizer
WordPress 4.9 allows you to create a draft and schedule changes in the customizer. It also generates a public preview URL. A user, not having access to the dashboard access, can view the changes using that URL.
Once you save a draft or schedule a changeset, it will auto reload the next time you open the customizer. You can continue changing it or discard it to restore to the original.
New Theme Browsing Experience in Customizer
This update comes with a significant overhaul to the theme browsing experience in the customizer. Now, apart from installing themes, you can browse, preview and install themes directly from the WordPress theme repo through the Customizer.
It also offers useful filters to narrow down your search.
Personally, I found this feature very useful. It saves you from the hassle of going back to the Themes section to install a new theme. It is going to save a lot of time for sure, and help users to quickly experiment different themes at one time.
Shortcodes & Media Support in Text Widget
Text widget now comes with an “Add Media” button and support for Shortcodes in WordPress 4.9. Visual Editor in text widget was introduced in WordPress 4.8. But you have to use HTML to insert the media. Now you can directly add media from your media gallery with Add Media button.
Using shortcode, you can do awesome stuff, like displaying products in the text widget using WooCommerce shortcode, or may insert a contact form right in your textbox using your contact form shortcode.
WordPress 4.9 introduces a new gallery widget. Using the gallery widget, you can display a gallery of your favorite pictures on your site.
You can also adjust the size of the images and number of columns of the gallery.
Support for More Video Providers in Video Widget
In v4.8, WordPress video widget had support for only YouTube and Vimeo. Video widget, in WordPress 4.9, uses oEmbeds to support other video providers as well. You can only embed the videos from the URLs present in the internal whitelist.
It means now you can add your favorite TED from TED.com or maybe a Facebook video on your blog.
Better Coding Experience
Version 4.9 introduces a CodeMirror editor in the theme/plugin editor, Custom CSS in Customizer, and Custom HTML widgets. It also includes support for linters to catch errors. It all adds up to a better experience while writing code in WordPress.
This is something; developers are going to love!
Confirmation Email on Email Change
Unlike the previous versions of WordPress, v4.9 sends a confirmation email when a user changes his email address.
Updates for Developers
WordPress 4.9 also plans to introduce several other new features for the developers. I have listed a few of them below:
- Improved usability of Customize JS API.
- Control templates for base controls.
- Support for MySQL servers connecting to IPv6 hosts.
- Upgraded MediaElement.js.
- Date/time control in the Customizer.
- WordPress Rest API Support Upgrades.
- Minor improvements in Multisite and Media settings.
What to Expect?
Better user experience seems to be the point of focus of this update. To streamline the customization process, users should expect to witness some major changes in the customizer.
WordPress 4.9 is still in the development phase. It is not recommended to test on the production sites. However, if you want to try it out, you can download the beta version from here. Alternatively, you can use WordPress Beta Tester plugin to download the update.
So far, I am pretty happy with the new updates. What do you think about these updates? Let me know in the comments!
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