WordPress 4.9, named “Tipton” in honour of jazz musician and band leader Billy Tipton, was just released recently. It’s available for download from WordPress.org or you can update in your WordPress dashboard. Of course, whenever a major version of WordPress is released it means that I also update the Easy WP Guide.

Improved Customizer Workflow

When making changes in the Customizer, it's now possible to create a draft of those changes, rather than publishing them straight away. On top of that, you can also schedule your changes to be published at a later date & time.

If you need to get feedback on proposed site changes, from a client or colleague, the Customizer now generates a preview link that you can send them.

Coding Enhancements

When adding code in the Additional CSS panel in the Customizer, within the new Custom HTML Widget, or in the (code) Editor under the Appearance menu, there is now syntax highlighting and error checking, which will significantly help locate any errors inadvertently introduced.

On top of that, the (code) Editor has introduced Sandboxing, which will go a long way to detecting errors before they're saved, and in the process, avoid those annoying WordPress White Screens we all hate.

When you first go to the Editor, to edit some of your theme files, you'll now get a polite message warning you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file.

New Widgets

WordPress 4.9 introduces a new Gallery Widget that will make it super-easy to add image galleries to any of your Sidebars. You can now also embed images, video, and audio directly into the Text widget, using the new Add Media button.

Additional Features

As is usual with every WordPress version, there's also lots of changes under-the-hood, which you may or may not notice.

Customizer JS API Improvements

There's been numerous improvements to the Customizer JS API in WP 4.9. There are also new base control templates, a date/time control, and section/panel/global notifications, just to name a few.

CodeMirror available for use in your themes and plugins

A new code editing library, CodeMirror, has been introduced. CodeMirror allows for syntax highlighting, error checking, and validation when creating code writing or editing experiences within your plugins, like CSS or JavaScript include fields.

MediaElement.js upgraded

WordPress 4.9 includes an upgraded version of MediaElement.js. This new version removes dependencies on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernises the UI, and fixes numerous bugs.

Roles and Capabilities Improvements

New capabilities have been introduced that allow granular management of plugins and translation files. In addition, the site switching process in multisite has been fine-tuned to update the available roles and capabilities in a more reliable and coherent way.

Latest Guide Updates

As with each guide update, numerous screenshots have been updated making sure that what you see in the guide is exactly what you see when using your WordPress Dashboard.

Head on over to the download page to download the latest version of the Easy WP Guide, or if you want to get stuck straight into it, you can always read it online.