Major Customizer Improvements, Code Error Checking, and More! 🎉
Version 4.9 of WordPress, named “Tipton” in honor of jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipton, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.9 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors.
Featuring design drafts, scheduling, and locking, along with preview links, the Customizer workflow improves collaboration for content creators. What’s more, code syntax highlighting and error checking will make for a clean and smooth site building experience. Finally, if all that wasn’t pretty great, we’ve got an awesome new Gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.
Customizer Workflow Improvements
Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations
Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please.
Collaborate with Design Preview Links
Need to get some feedback on proposed site design changes? WordPress 4.9 gives you a preview link you can send to colleagues and customers so that you can collect and integrate feedback before you schedule the changes to go live. Can we say collaboration++?
Design Locking Guards Your Changes
Ever encounter a scenario where two designers walk into a project and designer A overrides designer B’s beautiful changes? WordPress 4.9’s design lock feature (similar to post locking) secures your draft design so that no one can make changes to it or erase all your hard work.
A Prompt to Protect Your Work
Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.
Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking? Yes, Please!
You’ve got a display problem but can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong in the CSS you lovingly wrote. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and the Custom HTML widget introduced in WordPress 4.8.1, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly. Practically guaranteed to help you scan code more easily, and suss out & fix code errors quickly.
Sandbox for Safety
The dreaded white screen. You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. You’ll sleep better at night.
Warning: Potential Danger Ahead!
When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file. Take the safe route: You’ll thank you. Your team and customers will thank you.
Even More Widget Updates
The New Gallery Widget
An incremental improvement to the media changes hatched in WordPress 4.8, you can now add a gallery via this new widget. Yes!
Press a Button, Add Media
Want to add media to your text widget? Embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. Woo!
Site Building Improvements
More Reliable Theme Switching
When you switch themes, widgets sometimes think they can just move location. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme.
Find and Preview the Perfect Theme
Looking for a new theme for your site? Now, from within the Customizer, you can search, browse, and preview over 2600 themes before deploying changes to your site. What’s more, you can speed your search with filters for subject, features, and layout.
Better Menu Instructions = Less Confusion
Were you confused by the steps to create a new menu? Perhaps no longer! We’ve ironed out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. Newly updated copy will guide you.
This release was led by Mel Choyce and Weston Ruter, with the help of the following fabulous folks. There are 443 contributors with props in this release, with 185 of them contributing for the first time.
Listen to Billy Tipton music during your installation!
(Be sure to BACKUP your website prior to installing any major update.)
Here’s one of my favorites…
This is a major release and unless you have managed WordPress maintenance services, you will have to manually initiate the update. Be sure to perform a complete backup of your WordPress website and database prior to updating.