WordPress 4.8 “Evans” is available for download and is the first major release of the year under the new release cycle. WordPress 4.8 is named after William John “Bill” Evans, an American jazz pianist.
New Image, Video, and Audio Widgets
WordPress 4.8 includes three new widgets. All three widgets make it easier to display images, video, or audio without using HTML. The Text widget now has support for TinyMCE providing rich-text functionality. Similar to the post editor, users have a choice between using a Visual or Text editor with limited formatting options.
Because the Text widget uses TinyMCE, it inherits its nuances when it comes to pasting and displaying code. In a dev note that explains how TinyMCE was added to the Text Widget, Weston Ruter offers the following notice.
When pasting HTML into the ‘Text’ (HTML) tab of the Text widget, any extraneous line breaks should be removed or else unwanted paragraphs and line beaks may result. This is particularly important when you paste in
This behavior aligns with longstanding behavior in the post editor, so it is not new, although it does differ from how the Text widget has previously behaved. As noted above, for previously existing Text widgets that had the auto-add paragraphs’ checkbox unchecked (and thus the
filterinstance prop set to
false), the previous behavior of not doing
wpautopwill be maintained: only once the widgets are modified will any extraneous line breaks need to be removed.
Adding and editing links in the visual editor is more intuitive thanks to link boundaries. Link boundaries provide a visual representation of where a link begins and ends. This helps prevent adding unnecessary text to the beginning or end of a link.
See Nearby WordPress Events in the Dashboard
One of the pillars of WordPress’ ecosystem is its community of meetups and WordCamps. In 2016, more than 62,566 people attended a local meetup in 58 countries. About a third of those were new members.
WordPress 4.8 draws attention to these events by enhancing the News Dashboard widget. The widget will try to automatically guess your location and display meetups and WordCamps that are nearby.
If the location is incorrect, clicking the Pencil button opens a box where you can type in your city. The bottom of the widget includes links to the WordPress Meetup landing page, WordCamp Central Schedule, and the WordPress.org news blog.
Responsive Customizer Sidebar
In previous versions of WordPress, the Customizer Sidebar had a maximum width of 300 pixels. In WordPress 4.8, the Customizer Sidebar is responsive and its width will automatically increase based on the size of the screen up to a maximum of 600 pixels.
More Accessible Admin Pages
The headers on admin screens are now separate elements making it easier for assistive technologies to help people navigate pages.
Support Dropped for Internet Explorer Versions 8, 9, and 10
WordPress 4.8 drops support for Internet Explorer versions 8, 9, and 10 as these versions no longer receive security updates and are used by a small percentage of people. WordPress 4.8 will work in these browsers but some features related to TinyMCE will be limited. New features will no longer be tested against these older versions of IE.
- Changes to the Editor API
- Embeds of WMV and WMA files are no longer supported
- New Capabilities and others enhancements for WordPress Multisite
- Accessibility improvements to the Tag Cloud widget
- The addition of a Media Widgets API
- TinyMCE was updated from version 4.5.6 to version 4.6.2
- Twemoji was updated from version 2.2.2 to version 2.3.0
- zxcvbn was updated from version 1.0 to version 4.4.1
If you think you’ve discovered a bug in WordPress 4.8, read this support thread first to see if it’s a common issue that’s already been reported. If not, describe your issue in as much detail as possible and publish it to the Troubleshooting section on the support forums.
As you upgrade your sites today, enjoy Time Remembered by Bill Evans, released in 1983.