The second major WordPress release of the year dropped today; WordPress 4.9 brings a range of improvements and enhancements in line with the user centered update promised on June 16th. See them all here. This is what’s new in WordPress 4.9.
It was made clear early that there wouldn’t be a focus on Gutenberg for this release – Gutenberg will be the driver behind WordPress 5.0 next year. However, WordPress 4.9 is one for the loyalists with a couple of additions that have been waiting eight years for inclusion. This WordPress 4.9 release is an opportunity to clear the decks in preparation for Gutenberg watershed sometime next year. In that light, the changes that we see here are overwhelmingly user oriented. With a strong desire to help users with editing and management.
Does it succeed? Should you update immediately? Well, we have been running the rule over 4.9 for months now, and this article will show you its best features in detail, plus the best of the rest:
Here’s what’s new in WordPress 4.9 – the most exciting stuff
1. The Scheduler and Draft Saver
The Customizer was always great for going through with big changes. But those changes had to be done en masse, and they went live as soon as you clicked the save button. Not particularly great from a visitor’s point of view.
One of the great things about working in the updated Customizer of WordPress 4.9 is the ability to save and schedule changes.
Basically, if the new features are actors then the new scheduler is Morgan Freeman; loved by all.
Having this kind of functionality in the Customizer helps reduce the workload. Anything that has a time limit or is time sensitive can now be handled without needing to sit by the computer and time your Save & Publish to perfection.
Even Matt Mullenweg himself sees these new features as game changers for the future of WordPress and what’s there to come next. In a podcast episode of Draft Podcast with Brian Krogsgard, Mullenweg had this to share:
2. The Code Syntax Error Highlighter
CodeMirror is back after eight years in the wilderness. It is not for us to rank the various new features, but if we were then this would be a close second, very close.
This is a huge improvement for all users. Who of us hasn’t added a ton of code only to Save & Publish to the sound of crickets? The change is not there. You might try the odd refresh, but really this is just a Hail Mary. You just know it in your bones that your code is missing a
The Gallery Widget
WordPress 4.8 brought us some pretty sweet media widgets with image, video, and audio. This is a continuation of the trend, and WordPress now allows users to add a gallery in their widget areas too. People will tell you that a plugin is the way to go but in the battle of bloat vs functionality this widget is a winner.
Add new shortcodes in text widget
In our WordPress 4.8 post, here, we lamented the absence of oEmbed support in the text widget. Well, it has arrived. You can now embed videos from any site that supports oEmbed. You can even embed your Facebook Live stream, as well as TED, CollegeHumor, FunnyOrDie. This is a big deal.
Add media in text widget
As mentioned above, WordPress 4.9 will also allow you to embed media in the text widget. This was a crucial inclusion because the media specific widgets will be clearly aligned with blocks when Gutenberg arrives.
Don’t forget to join our crash course on speeding up your WordPress site. With some simple fixes, you can reduce your loading time by even 50-80%:
Layout and presentation by Karol K.