WordPress 4.9 is almost upon us! The new upgrade brings us ever closer to version 5.0, with all the novelties that it will bring, including Gutenberg. WordPress 4.9 is an important stepping stone that is currently still in beta, but we have taken a peek under the hood so you do not have to, so let’s dive in!
Although not a major release - at least compared to WordPress 5.0 - the upcoming update to WordPress comes with some neat changes aimed at making the content management system more flexible to use. Among these modifications you will find new ways to edit text directly, easier theme management and a brand new gallery.
WordPress 4.9 will be officially released on the 14th of November. Nonetheless, if you are feeling adventurous, you can download and try it out right now using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin. Be warned, however - it is still in beta!
Draft and Scheduled Customizations
Have you ever found yourself toying with your website’s theme and style, only to have to leave before finishing? In times like these, you have two options - save the half-baked changes and get back to them later, or discard everything. One of the most exciting additions to WordPress 4.9 is aimed right at this problem.
The upcoming update to your WordPress blog adds the ability to save customizations as drafts and schedule their release to the public. Once you decide to stop editing, you will have three distinct options to choose from. The first option is one you have grown accustomed to - publish those changes with immediate effect.
The second and third options are the latest additions to WordPress. The draft option allows you to save changes, but hide them from the public until you come back and finish the work - not dissimilar from how blog posts work. In fact, similarly to WordPress articles and pages, you also get a preview link that you can send to anyone to take a peek at what you have been working on and provide feedback.
The schedule option, like its namesake in blog posts, allows you to set a date and time when the changes should go live. This option comes in handy if you are working on rebranding your WordPress blog and want the updates to go live on a particular date or at a specific time. And while we are focusing on themes, coding them has become much easier with WordPress 4.9.
If, like us, you try to get the most out of your blog, you might have dabbled with coding for WordPress. Whether you are creating custom CSS, themes or plugins, there is no better way to make WordPress your own than by getting your hands dirty. As from version 4.9, your coding experience will get a little bit better thanks to a few changes.
Firstly, WordPress has introduced syntax highlighting, which means that colors now change to illustrate the role of different tokens in your code. Apart from making your code a little bit more pleasant to look at, syntax highlighting also makes it much easier to traverse the code and find what you are looking for.
Secondly, the latest update brings code suggestions and auto-completion to the table. While typing, you will get helpful tips about how to finish what you are writing. You can then confirm the suggestions and have WordPress complete the code for you.
Everyone knows that you cannot achieve your coding goals without a few hiccups along the way. Lacking features to guard against bugs and errors has made coding on WordPress somewhat of a chore. If you have experienced the pain of having your code not working, but at the same time at a loss as to what is causing the problems, then you will be glad to know that the third and final introduction is syntax error detection.
If you are more of a harcode programmer, and just want to code without any distractions, then you can opt not to switch to these additions. All of these introductions can be selectively turned off at will from your User Profile. Whatever your style, WordPress has got you covered!
New Ways to Visualize Media
One of the major introductions in WordPress 4.9 is a new gallery widget. Following the media and images widgets, the gallery widget is the next, natural progression to rich content. Rather than displaying a simple image or file, the gallery widget embeds a gallery right among your content.
The advantages of an embedded gallery are several. For starters, you can share more than one image, and the process is much quicker than embedding multiple images one at a time. The gallery widget is also organized neatly, occupying minimal space, but at the same time inviting your WordPress users to explore all the media.
Speaking of ease-of-use and media, WordPress 4.9 has also made it much easier to include images in text widgets. So far, the only option to include images has been to write HTML code. This is inconvenient at best, and difficult if you are not familiar with HTML.
Instead, WordPress has introduced a new button - add media - that lets you choose the media that you want to insert, and automatically create the HTML code for you.
Apart from this suite of changes, WordPress 4.9 also adds the little things that make a good product great. For example, WordPress will now house a so-called Global Notification Area, containing useful notices about your blog’s operation.
If you like to shake things up on your blog, you will also notice a new hub for themes. Indeed, a re-imagined theme manager makes it much easier to pick a new style for your WordPress blog.
In short, there is more to WordPress 4.9 than meets the eye. This blog post gave you but a glimpse at the biggest changes that you can expect to see when the new version lands. Excited? So are we, and the good news is that it is right around the corner!