WordPress released v4.9 on Thursday as the last major release this year with new features around theme customization improvements and editing. The 4.9 version is named after jazz musician Billy Tipton.
The highlight features in 4.9 surround theme customization and editing and bringing media abilities into text widgets.
Create Drafts and Schedule Theme Customizations
Just like creating a draft for a post, you can save drafts and schedule design changes to go live on a date and time that you select. Have that holiday theme ready ahead of time? Now you can schedule it for the future.
Share Design Preview Links
If you are making some theme customizations that you want to share with others you can now save a draft and share a preview link with others:
The ability to share previews of theme changes will allow you to get feedback about design without worrying about your changes going live until you’re ready to publish your changes.
Theme Editing Syntax Highlighting
WordPress now warns you if you attempt to edit theme files directly, but also provides syntax highlighting and error checking if you do end up editing your theme directly:
Also part of 4.9, WordPress warns you about saving an error, which is designed to help you avoid the dreaded white screen when you introduce a PHP error by making a theme editing mistake on the live site.
Find and Preview New Themes
You can now find and preview over 2,000 themes from within the WordPress theme customizer, with filtering and search options to select from the wordpress.org community of themes:
The widget manager has a new Gallery theme that allows you to drop a photo gallery directly into a widget area. For example, you can now easily embed custom photo gallery directly in your sidebar, giving non-developers plenty of options that don’t require a plugin or custom widget:
You can also now add media to the Text widget directly, including images, video, and audio, making your plain text widgets more flexible, again, providing non-technical users better widget options that can make your WordPress theme more flexible without custom work:
The last significant theme change is better persistence for your menu and widget placements when you switch themes. In the past, widgets can sometimes move location, making it hard to switch between themes.
Check out the official announcement with more details about the new release, including various developer-related features related to Syntax highlighting and further JS API improvements.
Download WordPress 4.9 today or upgrade your site from your control panel.