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WordPress has just released version 4.9 named after Billy Tipton after the Jazz Musician and band leader. This is the last major release for the 2017 calendar year. With this latest update comes some much anticipated and sought after improvements in the WordPress Customizer and the Widget area.
Scan, Backup & Update
Before updating your website, I recommend scanning your website first with the Wordfence scan feature to ensure there aren’t any security issues on your site. Then, once your scan is complete, use your favorite Backup plugin to take a full backup of your database and files. Once the backup is complete, then update to WordPress 4.9.
Enhancements to the WordPress Customizer
The customizer has come a long way over the years becoming the first place a person goes to in order to make changes to their site. Some of the latest features added include:
- Theme Browsing is simplified and enhanced. You can easily view your installed themes and browse all themes on the official WordPress website.
- Save, Schedule & Share your changes in the customizer. It’s now easy to save a draft of your changes, schedule them and share them with others to view which is a cool feature that can help you get feedback on your latest changes before you publish them.
Enhancements to the WordPress Widget Area
Besides all the changes made to the customizer, the widget area saw some major love from the WordPress team. Here’s a list of what has changed.
- There is now a Gallery widget that you can use to make photo galleries in any widget area.
- There’s now an Add Media button in the text widgets which makes it easier to add an image to a text widget.
- Shortcode support for widgets is now a default feature. This is something people have wanted for a while and previously required custom code or a plugin to enable shortcodes.
Code Editing in WordPress
I’m a huge advocate for getting people to Learn to Code, hence why on my YouTube Channel, I have quite a few videos dedicated to helping people become coders.
One thing that has often been an area of concern is coding in the various editor locations in WordPress since any mistake could cause the white screen of death or other unforeseen errors.
Now there’s syntax highlighting in the CSS Editor in the Customizer and a Heads Up warning in the themes and plugins editor location.
This means you can customize your css with additional confidence and insight and recognize the potential issues that can arise when changing code in the themes and plugins.
While all eyes are on WordPress 5.0 and Gutenberg, this release has brought some awesome improvements people will definitely benefit from.
If you found this article helpful and want to learn more about WordPress, check out my other articles and videos on YouTube.