There’s little doubt that one thing dedicated WordPress users look forward to year after year are those always-exciting updates. And with WordPress 4.8 set to be released in less than a month, the online community is already abuzz with facts and speculations as to what the newest version will bring.
Thankfully, the good folks on the editorial staff at WPBeginner.com have done the research and offered a few tantalizing details about the first major WordPress update of 2017. Current users can field test the beta version of 4.8 now via their computer or by using the WordPress Beta Tester Plugin. But to get all the new features and functions of the release everyone will have to wait until June 8th.
One of the most noticeable changes will be with the visual editor in the text widget. The basic WordPress program comes with a built-in plain text widget, which has a very simple box where users can input text and HTML code. However, up to now users with no knowledge of writing HTML code weren’t able to add links or even use basic formatting in their text. That’s set to change with 4.8, which will come equipped with both a simple visual and text editor, not unlike users see on their post edit screens. So now, everyone will be able to add links with ease, build lists and make text bold, italic etc.
Currently, if you want to display an image in a sidebar, you need to either use a plugin or know how to write HTML code. For those frustrated with this limitation, WordPress 4.8 will introduce a widget that lets users add images quickly and easily directly from the widget or from their media library. And you’ll even been able to preview the sidebar image before making it live. And speaking of widgets, 4.8 will see also the debut of a video tool that will allow people to upload videos to their sidebar as well, or display a video from providers such as YouTube, Vimeo etc.
For those who love their WordPress dashboard, the new release will see an Events and News widget that will appear on the page and give up-to-date information about all things WordPress related as well as events and gatherings happening in the user’s immediate area. A replacement for the old widget which only showed News, the new feature automatically detects a user’s location to drive the Events section, and you can edit the location manually or view events at other locations.
There will also be some nice improvements meant solely for developers and those who are fairly competent at writing code: the customizer pane will size proportionally to the screen and the user’s name will display on the edit user screen, something that didn’t happen previously.
Most likely there will be more changes and additions coming with the 4.8 platform, but WordPress isn’t releasing that information just yet, so for the next month both beginning and expert users will have to wait patiently.