WordPress 4.8 is to release on 8th June, 2017. The Beta version has already released on the 12th of May, although the final release may see some more changes.
This will be another major WordPress upgrade of this year. It will be equipped with many new features and widgets to make a host of functions more streamlined. The layout will be better organized and easier to use as compared to the current version.
The Gutenberg project, which is aimed at improving user experience and the post editing interface, will be flagged off with this WordPress update. Let’s check out which newest additions this update will bring to your WordPress website.
WordPress 4.8 Features
The Image Widget
The new image widget will allow users to simply drag and drop it anywhere they want. You can add images into the sidebar easily, upload an image directly from the widget, or use one from the WordPress gallery.
The earlier version required users to write out an HTML code in the image text widget. Adding proper titles and alt tags is very important for an image from the SEO perspective, for them to be crawled and start showing up in searches. Although this was easy for those familiar with HTML, users who were not would understandably have a problem.
The new image widget will change this. There won’t be any extensive HTML coding and adding images will become very easy.
The Text Widget with Visual Editor
The earlier text widget did not have a visual editor for editing videos and other visual media and adding it to the website. It required installation of plugins for adding a visual editing section to any widget. The new text widget will come equipped with visual editing support for easy alteration of all visual media.
The Video Widget
This is a new addition in the WordPress 4.8 update. It will let users upload videos to the sidebar or link videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video hosting websites to the users’ own websites.
In most cases, uploading videos directly onto the website isn’t recommended; instead inserting it to the website using the URL link of any video hosting website is the way to go. This is known as embedding. It enables easier sharing, more traffic and visibility, better video quality, and a lot less bandwidth usage.
The News and Events Dashboard Widget
This is a new addition that wasn’t present before, at least as a combination. The new WordPress 4.8 news and events widget will be present on the dashboard of your website. It will contain all the latest updates and information about WordPress news and WordPress events in the close geographical location of the user. Just like a news feed, the contents of this widget will be replaced with newer updates on a regular basis.
This widget will pull the geographical location of each and every user on the website by sending their IP address, time zone, and location to api.wordpress.org. This way, it will be able to send precise location-based updates to specific users. However, you can access the news and events of locations other than yours by manually adding another location.
Better Accessibility on Admin Screens
In the WordPress 4.8 update, admin screens are now re-equipped with bigger font. The header text on pages is much better arranged, making admin screens easier to use. The earlier admin screens had a lot of components crammed into one header. For instance, the header also had an ‘Add New’ button for Pages and Posts apart from text. This feature is now shifted under a separate tag, making the header text a lot more minimalistic, clean, and easy to use.
The HTML code simply moves the irrelevant and unrelated content outside of the main heading, thus making the header tag a lot more pertinent to the user. It will require the user to update their old WordPress version, and the software will take care of the rest.
Some Other Improvements
Easier Link Editing
You can now navigate through links a lot easier using your arrow keys. This way, managing and editing links in the website has become a lot easier.
More efficient Browser Support
Browser support will now be more streamlined as IE 8, 9, and 10 will officially be out.
Rich text widget
The text widget will now come with the rich text editing feature. Before the TinyMCE was introduced in WordPress 2.0, users had edit content in posts as pure HTML, with some assistance from Quicktags. TinyMCE is has now been upgraded to an amazing rich text widget.
Check and Edit Current Plugins
Plugins are a necessity in terms of increasing the usability and functionality of a website as well as assisting in customization for users of varying coding abilities and knowledge. However, after every update, it is important to check all your plugins and make sure to remove the ones that are redundant or useless. Too many plugins can cause complete chaos in the background of your website by making it slow, affecting its performance, causing code clashes and blunders, and many more issues. Read up thoroughly on a new update and decide which plugins should stay and which you can do without. This will ensure smooth and seamless functioning of your website.
WordPress 4.8 is going to be even more amazing than before. Everything will be a lot more streamlined, extremely user friendly, more interactive than before, and mainly much easier to use for those who are not accustomed to coding or HTML. The look will be cleaner, more spacious and less crammed.
Mainly, WordPress 4.8 will enable better customization of your websites than before, be it looks, user experience, or functionality. Additionally, it will save you a lot of work when it comes to plugins, adding and removing any media, and managing the text pages and widgets. It is all set to become a lot easier and much more fun with this major WordPress release of the year 2017.
[ UPDATE 13-Jun-2017 ]
Now that its been a few days since 4.8 was released, have you had any issues after upgrading to 4.8? Do leave a comment here and let me know – would love to help you out.