What’s New in WordPress 4.9

WordPress 4.9 is coming soon! Very soon, in fact: Tuesday, November 14th is the official launch day for the newest integration of the web’s greatest CMS. What’s new? What’s changed? We have widget upgrades, saving and scheduling of theme customization, some cool new UX improvements, improved code editing, and more. Let’s take a tour through what’s new in WordPress 4.9 so you can hit the ground running on Tuesday. Check it out!

Introducing WordPress 4.9

The changes fall into three primary categories:

  • New Widgets
  • Theme Customizer Upgrades
  • Improved Code Editing

There are some other smaller, miscellaneous changes we’ll mention as well. Let’s take a look!

New Widgets

We have one brand new widget and two widget upgrades coming in WordPress 4.9!

The Gallery Widget

You’ve been able to add image galleries to your posts for a long time. Now you can add them to your sidebar as well! This is a welcome addition for lots of different WordPress users from photographers to restaurant owners to realtors. You’ll find the Gallery widget right along side the rest of your WordPress widgets: Appearance>Widgets in your WordPress dashboard.

wordpress 4.9 gallery widget

Shortcode and Media Support in the Text Widget

It’s been a long time coming, but these oft requested features have finally been implemented into core. You were able to do shortcodes before with a bit of code editing, but now all you have to do is pop the shortcode into the text widget and go. Ninja Forms work here too! 🙂 There’s now a handy dandy Add Media button in the text widget as well.

wordpress 4.9 upgraded text widget

Expanded Video Widget

On its introduction, the video widget only supported uploaded videos, YouTube, and Vimeo as sources. You can now embed video from virtually anywhere.

Theme Customizer Upgrades

Discovering, previewing, and installing themes has gotten easier. WordPress 4.9 introduces a new, far more organized way to browser installed themes and discover new ones from the customization interface.

wordpress 4.9 new theme customizer interface

The biggest usability improvement that you can see is in left hand sidebar as you’re browsing. Theme categorization makes managing multiple installed themes far easier (especially for you MultiSite users).

Filtering through new themes by feature has been improved too. The new theme browser has been designed with extensibility by theme developers in mind. Built on the core customize API for easy development, the customization to come from creative theme developers is very exciting to consider.

Drafting, Sharing, and Scheduling Theme Customization

You’ve been able to save drafts of posts and pages for a long time. Scheduling changes to posts and pages has been a thing for a long time as well. Now you have the same flexibility in the theme customizer!

wordpress 4.9 theme editing window

As you customize your theme, you’ll now notice that the Save option has become Published, accompanied by a gear icon. Click that gear icon after a change has been made to present this brand new set of options. Notice as well in the lower right hand corner you have a URL (after the changes have been saved). Sharing that URL allows you to share a visual of the theme changes with others before they go live.

Code Editing Improvments

Anywhere you’re adding code within your dashboard, you’ll now see a much improved experience. See the difference here in the Custom HTML widget, for example:

WordPress 4.8.3

WordPress 4.9

Aside from the very obvious visual upgrade to the code editor, these improvements include:

  • Syntax highlighting (can be disabled under user settings)
  • Code suggestion and auto-completion
  • Error and warning messages

See the yellow exclamation mark on the screenshot of the Custom HTML widget for WordPress 4.9? Hovering over it gives you this:

Warning and error messages for potentially problematic code can be a real time saver for those of us who are not full-time developers! And… maybe even for those that are 🙂

There is More…

WordPress 4.9 features a small host of other, minor changes as well. You can find a full list of those in the WordPress 4.9 Field Guide over at Make WordPress Core. If you’re interested in installing the official release candidate prior to Tuesday’s live release, you can download it now from WordPress.org.

Have any questions about upcoming changes? You’re more than welcome to ask away in the comments!

New & improved widgets, new theme customization, improved code editing- have you seen WordPress 4.9?Click To Tweet