WordPress 4.8 introduces four new widgets

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WordPress 4.8 introduces four new widgets

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 18:19
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WordPress 4.8 is named "Evans" in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans.

WordPress 4.8 is now available and introduces users to new content management tools including three media widgets covering images, audio and video. The "Evans" release also includes link improvements, an updated text widget that supports visual editing, and an upgraded news and events section in your dashboard. 

When Matt Mullenweg announced the release of WordPress 4.8 he mentioned that this new version was built with you in mind. While the updates seem minor, he indicated that users will find that the improvements intuitive enough that "you’ll welcome [the changes] like an old friend".

New Widgets for WordPress

As mentioned, Wordpress includes three new media widgets and one rich text widget. Below is a description of all four widgets:

1. Image Widget

Adding an image to a widget is now a simple task that is achievable for any WordPress user without needing to know code. You simply insert your image right within the widget settings and see it appear automatically.

2. Video Widget

You can now add any video from the Media Library to a sidebar on your site with the new Video widget. WordPress gives examples of how this widget could be used including "to showcase a welcome video to introduce visitors to your site or promote your latest and greatest content".

3. Audio Widget

Despite the increased popularity of video in content, interest in podcast creation is making its own comeback. WordPress sees their new audio widget being welcomed by podcasters, musicians, and avid bloggers. Users just need to upload their audio file to the Media Library, go to the widget settings, select your file, and the page is ready for listeners.

4. Rich Text Widget

Rich-text editing capabilities are now native for Text widgets. Add a widget anywhere and format away. Create lists, add emphasis, and quickly and easily insert links.

Additional New Features in WordPress 4.8

Improvements for the User and Community

WordPress is open source and open source software is supported by it's own community of developers, designers, and users. For WordPress, this includes an offline community with group meetings held regularly in over 400 cities. WordPress has decided the best way to promote their community is by including WordPress Events (such as WordCamps and WordPress Meetups) in the WordPress dashboard. Upcoming events are available through the Events and News dashboard widget.

Also included are improvements in editing text for a link through a new feature called link boundaries. The editing process is streamlined and ensures your links will work correcting.

Improvements for WordPress Developers

While authors may not care what is under the hood, Wordpress developers and site administrators will welcome most of the below changes found in WordPress 4.8:

  • More Accessible Admin Panel Headings -  Via new CSS rules in order to improve the experience for people using assistive technologies.
  • Multisite Updates - New capabilities have been introduced to 4.8 with an eye towards removing calls to is_super_admin(). Additionally, new hooks and tweaks to more granularly control site and user counts per network have been added.
  • Text-Editor JavaScript API - With the addition of TinyMCE to the text widget in 4.8 comes a new JavaScript API has been added for instantiating the editor after page load. 
  • Media Widgets API - The introduction of a new base media widget REST API schema to 4.8 opens up possibilities for even more media widgets (like galleries or playlists) in the future. 
  • Customizer Width Variable - New responsive breakpoints have been added to the customizer sidebar to make it wider on high-resolution screens.
  • Removal of Core Support for WMV and WMA Files - Not sure if this will make everyone happy, but WordPress has decided to stop support for the Microsoft proprietary audio and video codec. Reason giving is that "fewer and fewer browsers support the Silverlight plugin required to play these file formats in your browser.

Image source: WordPress.org.

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