As usual, with every WordPress release I put the new functions for you in a row. What’s new in WordPress 4.9? And we are looking forward to WordPress 5.0 in this article!
WordPress 4.9: more changes to the customizer
The WordPress customizer has been redone in version 4.9 and again quite extensive. Actually, that is also the most striking change compared to the previous version. This is how we see the following changes:
You can prepare and save changes to the Customizer. You do not need to put them live.
You can schedule changes to the Customizer. Just like with a regular message, you can automatically put them live at a later time.
It is also possible to test and set up a new theme in this way, without the visitor noticing something.
The customizer also shows a link that you can share with others, so that you can even rate the upcoming changes together.
Beautiful! And they are absolutely useful additions. It makes the customizer better and perhaps that this technique will now also be used by the large commercial theme builders. Because as long as that does not happen, all these changes are not always relevant to everyone.
Also adjusted in the customizer is the way in which you can select a theme. It is easy to navigate between already installed themes and the themes of wordpress.org.
Syntax error Highlighter
Who ever changes code for example a theme or plugin knows how annoying they can be. The syntax errors. In many cases, not much more than a simple typing error. 1 Error is enough to put your entire site down. In WordPress 4.9 there is a solution through the Syntax Error Highlighter. Do your code changes directly in WordPress then this is a particularly useful tool. However, real developers will work in a different way and check the syntax in their own favorite code editor.
You can also disable the new Syntax Highlighter. You do that in the user profile.
New Gallery widget
In WordPress 4.8 the outdated text widget had already (finally!) Been tackled. Now it’s the turn of a new gallery widget, with which you can easily add a photo gallery to your sidebar or footer.
Its use works in exactly the same way as inserting a photo gallery into a message or page. Of course you can also use the widget from the Customizer.
More widget changes
There are more adjustments to the widgets:
The text widget had already been converted to a visual editor, but did not yet contain a button to add images. That is now regulated.
What was also missing was the possibility to use oEmbed. That is the technique in which you only place a link to, for example, a video in your article. WordPress sets that up by automatically convert the oEmbed technique into the video display. And that does not just work with videos. Until now you could not apply this in widgets, but now! Recording a video in your sidebar or footer is suddenly super easy!
You could not use shortcodes in widgets. The more extensive themes are often full of it and what would be useful to be able to do that in a text widget. In WordPress 4.9 it is finally possible.
When you changed theme, all your widgets disappeared with the settings. This was due to the reference to widget areas, which differs from theme to theme. In WordPress 4.9 this problem should be solved.
Other changes in WordPress 4.9
Then there are some changes that are less noticeable:
The way in which you make your menus has changed slightly, which should make the workflow a little more logical.
The changes in the Customizer can also be used by developers via the Customizer JS API.
If you work with the code editor to change files directly, you will receive a warning in advance. After all, a mistake is made quickly here. Conveniently, WordPress 4.9 shows a tree structure of the folders and files of your theme.
What comes in next, in WordPress 5?
All in all a decent list with adjustments in WordPress 4.9, which will not be equally relevant to everyone. Are we already looking forward to WordPress 5, what will happen? The most important change will be the ‘Gutenberg editor’, which will replace the current text editor. That seems to be something small, but it is not. Changing the editor has a big impact on your entire site and the way you work with it. In addition, plug-in developers will have to anticipate this and websites will have to be tested well before the migration to version 5.