WordPress 4.8 “Evans” Released Featuring Nearby WordPress Events, New Media Widgets, and Link Boundaries

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.

Image, Video, and Enhanced Text Widget

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 script or style tags (as in the case of 3rd-party JavaScript embeds), since auto-inserted paragraphs will cause script errors; this will be fixed in #2833.

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 filter instance prop set to false), the previous behavior of not doing wpautop will be maintained: only once the widgets are modified will any extraneous line breaks need to be removed.

Link Boundaries

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.

News Widget Shows Upcoming Meetups and WordCamps
News Widget Shows Upcoming Meetups and WordCamps

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.

Customizer Sidebar 345 Pixels Wide

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.

Noteworthy Changes

This release was led by Matt Mullenweg and Jeff Paul. 346 people contributed to WordPress 4.8 and 106 of them were first time contributors.

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.

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  1. Thrilled we’re finally dropping IE 8, 9, and 10. Music to my ears!


      1. Dropping old versions makes sense, but I’d need to find an alternative to WordPress if that happens to 11 too…
        FF is a CPU hog, needs an addon to customize the new tab page as of some time ago, doesn’t display a list of recently closed tabs, fonts look nasty and it has way fewer options directly available (as in not digging through about:config and having to look up each thing). And I’m definitely not touching Chrome.
        Vivaldi seems interesting, and felt like a good fit when I tested it when I used Linux for a couple of weeks some months ago and giving it a go seemed like the only valid option, but being based on Chromium makes me too wary to try it again since, when not forced into it.


      2. Seems like they did, at least my IE11 doesn’t display the Visual/Text tabs. Off to another browser!


    1. As much as I’d like to drop IE support, we have a few priority corporate clients that still run IE9. Not so much music to my ears, but more of a possible nightmare!


  2. New Image, Video, and Audio Widgets will surely help a lot for the enthusiast like me. Great initiative. Our blogger will soon implement it on our community site Amader Electronics to benefit from these features. Best wishes to you guys. Keep up the good work cause I believe-

    Knowledge is power when it is open for all



  3. A video made to explain link boundaries, shows how underwhelming this release once again is.


  4. Just to confirm, am I reading the part about the text widget correctly?

    As noted above, for previously existing Text widgets that had the auto-add paragraphs’ checkbox unchecked (and thus the filter instance prop set to false), the previous behavior of not doing wpautop will be maintained: only once the widgets are modified will any extraneous line breaks need to be removed.

    As a lot of my sites do not use the check box for paragraph breaks, do I need to update every text widget I use, or is it only moving forward?


  5. The video widget does NOT seem to allow you to just drag and drop Youtube URL’s into the widget outlined box….

    And drag and drop and copy stuff seem to be a bit messed up also ….

    At least that’s two issues I’ve had working on my blog in 4.8….


  6. I won’t install the update immediately. I’ll wait so the theme and plugins I use get updated.


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