Doc Pop’s News Drop: WordPress 4.9 Early Review and Features


Doc’s WordPress News Drop is a weekly report on the most pressing WordPress news. When the news drops, I will pick it up and deliver it right to you.

WordPress 4.9 is out now and it’s filled with new features. Codenamed Tipton, this release features major changes to the Customizer, new widget features, and syntax highlighting in the HTML and CSS editors. This week, Doc walks us through the new features and provides an early review.

Love WordPress News but hate reading? My name is Doc and this is Doc Pop’s News Drop.

WordPress 4.9 was released this week. Nicknamed “Tipton”, in honor of Billy Tipton the jazz musician, 4.9 features Customizer improvements, syntax highlighting, widgest and so much more. So lets dive right in.

The biggest changes all appear in the Customizer, this is the section in your WordPress dashboard where you can make changes to your website’s theme.

Previewing and changing themes is easier than ever because the Customizer allows you to view all of your installed themse and load a live preview. You can also browse and install new themes from right there in the Customizer.

Let’s check it out, start in your WordPress dashboard and go to Appearance/Customize. Here we see the Customizer loaded up with the preview of our site.

Some other big improvements to the Customizer are the abilities to save and schedule changes, or go back to previous revisions. To access these sections, make any changes in the Customizer and you’ll notice new options appear in the Action panel. So if I change my site’s header, for instance, I can schedule that change to go live tomorrow morning.

The new Customizer also allows you to save a draft of your changes and share it as a preview link with folks who don’t have access to your site’s Customizer.

Another big change in WordPress 4.9 is syntax highlighting, which I’m sure coders will love. Throughout the WordPress dashboard there are various places where you can add custom HTML or CSS code. These used to just be plain text boxes, but 4.9 has changed that by addeing code suggestions, auto-completion, and syntax highlighting. For a lot of us, this means running into the dreaded “dreaded white screen of death” far less often.

If for some reason you don’t like this new syntax highlighting feature, you can still disable it your Profile page. Users/Profile/Disable Syntax

There are a few more notable features in 4.9 including a new gallery widget and an easy way to add media to the already existing text widget. Got an mp3 you want to link to, or some product photos you want to display in your sidebar? Go for it!

Any features you’d like to see added or tweaked in 4.9.1? Let us know in the comments and be sure to like & subscribe for more weekly WordPress news as it happens.

Doctor Popular is an artist and musician living in San Francisco. As a full disclaimer, he is neither a doctor nor popular.

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