WordPress 4.9 is under beta phase and is expected to be rolled out on November 14, 2017. The update will feature many significant advancements in the customizer. The highlights include:
- A new gallery widget
- Customizer scheduling
- Added media button in the text widget
- Syntax highlights in CSS editor
With WordPress 4.9, it will be easier for users to save customize themes and plugins made with the help of Customizer. Now, a unique URL of the new preview will be created that can be shared on the web. Moreover, this will not require a login access to the admin dashboard. This will account for quicker reviewing of customizations in a theme.
WordPress 4.9 is expected to feature a scheduled publishing feature for optimizing WordPress themes. This feature can turn out to be highly beneficial, especially when a website is reporting less traffic.
With WordPress 4.9, you will experience an improvement in the Theme Switcher tab within Customizer. In this update, the core team has been able to successfully separate the installed themes from the new themes present in the repository.
If you have made any updates in the Customizer but are yet to accept or reject these changes, you will not see Active Theme tab. For doing so, you will have to discard or publish these customizations.
WordPress 4.9 Gallery Widget
Following the new widgets for media and image introduced in WordPress 4.8, the new release will also contain the Gallery Widget. This will be the simplest way to add and show selected images in the sidebar. You can also select the number of columns, order and the size of images to be displayed in the sidebar.
Media Uploading In Text Widget
The Visual Editor became a part of WordPress in its version 4.8. Earlier, an admin had to know the technical know-how of HTML and CSS to integrate media in the text widget. With WordPress 4.9, things will become easier as the “Add Media” button will enable the admin to use images, videos, audio or any media in the text widget with a single click.
Shortcodes Support In Text Widget
WordPress shortcodes are generally pieces of code which may be integrated into WordPress. Shortcodes play a critical role in making complex functions work with little or no efforts. For example, a contact form plugin which may create a shortcode “use-contact-form” to use on any post of a WordPress driven website. An admin needs to write the shortcode and the contact form comes up on the page. In earlier versions, the shortcodes could be used on post and pages only. But with the latest updates in 4.9, shortcodes can also be featured in text widgets as well.
Video Widget Compatible With Videos From Other Sources
With the WordPress versions so far, the Video Widget was restricted to display videos only from YouTube or Vimeo. For instance, if you use a direct video URL from any other portal such as Facebook, the video thumbnail will come up in Video Widget but it will not appear live on the WordPress website. With the version 4.9, the video thumbnail options support videos from third-party platforms.
Improved Coding Experience
As WordPress 4.9 will be more developer friendly, it will be providing an enhanced user experience to end users and the back-end users altogether. A feature CodeMirror has been added to Custom CSS as well as theme/plugin editor. If you go to Customizer > Additional CSS, you can expect an improved coding experience.
WordPress 4.9 can be termed as the second critical update this year in the WordPress CMS. The update is scheduled to roll out on November 14, 2017. However, the beta version has been made active since October 4, 2017. This beta version will enable managing plugins and themes easier from the dashboard itself.
This includes updating the CMS and options for modifying the theme in Customizer. The list of expected updates you may see in the WordPress 4.9 update are as under:
- Dropzone will allow the users to use the highly cherished feature of drag & drop to place the theme or plugin file into the dashboard itself
- Update will enable the users to store the updates or changes as a draft which may be published later, or schedule the changes for a specific date or time
- Highlighting and linting of code in the code editor for plugins and themes in the dashboard
- Optimized widget mapping while changing or updating WordPress themes. This will help admins tackle the dilemma of orphaned widgets, which an admin experiences while switching themes
- Themes and plugins can be updated through zip file upload
So, How To Enable Beta Updates?
To upgrade your WordPress installation, you will need a Beta Plugin. This plugin will allow you to explore the new version while it is still under development.
Step – 1
From the admin panel, download and install WordPress Beta Tester
Step – 2
Select Tools>>Beta Testing
Step – 3
Switch to Bleeding edge nightlies
Step – 4
Select Dashboard>>Updates>>Update Now
Step – 5
The update is successful. Discover the beta version of WordPress 4.9.