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WordPress 4.8 “Evans”: New Features, Tutorials & Videos


Written by

Dave Warfel

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6 minutes

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Everything you need to know about WordPress 4.8’s new features, including detailed write-ups about all the changes, and tutorials on how to use the new features.

Update: WordPress 4.8 was released on June 8, 2017.

WordPress 4.8’s new features:

In a hurry? Watch this quick 2-minute video showcasing all the new features:

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one.

Let’s start with the front-end changes that will impact everyday WordPress users, bloggers and content producers.

Media Widgets

Three (3) new widgets were introduced in WordPress 4.8. All of these new widgets are focused around adding media to your sidebar, whether that be images, video or audio.

All 3 widgets use the media library, so you can…

  1. Choose an existing file from your media library
  2. Upload a new file from your computer
  3. Add a file by entering its URL (especially helpful for YouTube videos)
WordPress image widget, add file in 3 ways
3 ways to add files to the WordPress image widget

Image Widget

The image widget will be a welcomed addition for many users. Gone are the days where you had to edit HTML code in a text widget, or install a plugin, just to get a simple image in your sidebar.

Learn: How to add an image to your WordPress sidebar

WordPress 4.8 image widget

The image widget works in very much the same way as you’re used to inserting images into posts.

Alt text, captions & links

Just like images within your main content area, you can update the alt text, add captions and insert a link when someone clicks on the image. If provided, the caption will display beneath the image.

Editing the WordPress image widget
Editing options for the image widget

Watch our video tutorial on how to use the new WordPress image widget:

Video Widget

The new WordPress video widget allows you to add a video to your sidebar. You can upload a video to your server, or the more recommended option is to embed a video from a provider like YouTube or Vimeo. Just enter the URL for a video from any supported third-party video service, and WordPress takes care of the rest.

When inserting YouTube videos in your sidebar, you’ll get a playable preview in the media dialog. The same goes for all WordPress oEmbed providers.

View a list of WordPress oEmbed providers »

YouTube video in WordPress video widget
Add a YouTube video to the widget

Video Widget Options

There are a few additional options for the video widget. These include:

  • Loop
  • Alternate sources (.mp4, .ogv, .webm)
  • Preload (auto, metadata, none)
  • Add subtitles

I couldn’t find any information about these options, but as soon as I do, I’ll provide an update.

Widget video details
Additional details for the video widget

Audio Widget

The new audio widget allows you to easily add any audio file (song, podcast, etc.) into your sidebar. You can even play a preview of the file before it appears on your site.

WordPress audio widget

Audio Widget Options

Just like the video widget, the audio widget has a few additional options, which I’m still trying to dig up exactly what they all mean.

  • Add alternate sources
  • Preload
  • Loop

Here’s what all of WordPress 4.8’s new widgets look like in the sidebar of the default Twenty Seventeen theme:

WordPress 4.8's new media widgets
WordPress 4.8’s media widgets in sidebar of twentyseventeen theme

Read how the new media widgets were built »

WYSIWYG Text Widget

The text widget got a makeover in WordPress 4.8. You can now use a WYSIWYG editor.

WordPress text widget animation
WordPress 4.8 text widget in action

You don’t have all the same options as when you’re editing your main content, but the simplified visual mode is a nice addition. The following TinyMCE buttons are available to make editing text widgets much easier.

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Lists (bulleted & numbered)
  • Links

You can also switch between Visual & Text mode, so custom HTML is still available.

Learn more about the technical details of the update on the WordPress blog.

This update may go unnoticed by many, but for anyone who’s tried to edit their link text, this is an excellent usability update. The WordPress editor now provides visual feedback as to the location of your cursor. Is it inside or outside of the <a> tag?

Link editing is now much more user-friendly.

WordPress Editor link boundaries

Dashboard Widget: Events & News

WordPress has always had a dashboard widget displaying recent news, but it got revamped in version 4.8. The dashboard widget now includes both news & events in the WordPress community.

Dashboard widget with WordPress events & news

Events are pulled from two main sources:

  • WordCamps

WordPress will attempt to automatically detect your location, and display events close to you. This will be unique for each user that logs in. You can easily change your location if WordPress gets it wrong.

Change location for WordPress events dashboard widget

The widget still includes the same news that it always did.

News is pulled from several sources:

3 links were added to the bottom of the widget, linking out to:

Other Small Updates

A few smaller updates were also included in 4.8.

Editing User’s Names

Before WordPress 4.8, the “Edit User” screen used to just say “Edit User” at the top. Now you’ll also see the user’s display name.

Edit User in WordPress 4.8

Tag Cloud Widget Updates

The tag cloud widget now provides an option to show how many posts contain each tag. Tag counts are not shown by default, but can be easily turned on with a checkbox in the tag cloud widget.

WordPress tag cloud widget (show count)

Learn more about the update »

Customizer Pane adjusts width based on screen size

The left sidebar containing the customizer’s options used be set at 300px wide. Now it can be anywhere between 300px and 600px wide, depending on the screen size.

Now we’ll take a look at the new features in WordPress 4.8 for developers.

Developer Updates

These are updates to the WordPress core code that won’t affect most users, but give developers more flexibility when working on WordPress projects.

TinyMCE updates to version 4.6

For the Editor, WordPress has updated to TinyMCE 4.6. You can read more about these updates in the posts below.

Foundation for Gutenberg

Gutenberg is the codename for a current project underway to improve the WordPress editor. The new editor experience is not available in WordPress 4.8, but the groundwork for future updates has begun.

Learn more about Gutenberg here »

For all you hardcore developers out there, you can view the full list of all 300+ changes.

Multisite Updates in WordPress 4.8

There are over 50 multisite updates in WordPress 4.8. Most of them are smaller updates geared towards developers, but you can learn more here.

For anything else I might have missed, WordPress has put together a 4.8 Field Guide, to go along with their official video.

What do you think of the WordPress 4.8 release?

Dave Warfel

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Dave has been working with WordPress since 2011. He's built 100s of client sites and almost a dozen of his own. He's tested almost every plugin you can think of, hosted with at least 10 different companies, and gone down every SEO rabbit hole you can imagine. When's he's not tinkering with new software, you'll find him in the mountains of Colorado, trail running, summiting peaks, and rippin' downhills on his mountain bike. 🏔️🏃🚴🤸

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