We’ve come a long way since the release of the first WordPress version on May 27, 2003. The latest 2017 release includes a few long-awaited new features and improvements. The media widgets have been enhanced to be even more user friendly.
New Media Widgets
The wonderful thing about WordPress, is that the developers listen to the users and incorporate their requests and suggestions into each new and improved version of the formidable free publishing software and content management system.
Images courtesy of wpbeginner.com
This widget was created to specifically deal with the hassle of adding images in the sidebar. Previously you would need an extra plugin or you would have to write custom HTML to add an image. Now you can simply drag and drop the new widget to a sidebar.
In the image widget settings, you can just click the “add image” button and the standard WordPress media uploader will appear. From here you can upload a new picture or access the existing media library. Next, click “add to widget” button and you will see preview.
Note: remember to click save to store widget settings.
This one works similar to the new image widget. Now you can effortlessly upload a video to the sidebar. Or display an embedded video from YouTube, Vimeo or other host providers. To streamline your website, it is advisable to rather use a video host provider, instead of uploading a video.
With the video widget it’s very easy to embed videos. In the widget, click “add video” button and follow the prompts in the media uploader. Make sure you’ve copied the video URL before clicking on “insert from URL”. After pasting the URL, the widget will create a video thumbnail and display it. Next, click “add to widget” button to view the thumbnail in the sidebar. Click save to add the video.
Similar to the visual widgets, this one allows you to add audio files to the sidebar. All three widgets work on basically the same principles. Use the “add audio” button and follow the steps to upload an audio file.
The audio widget embeds the file in a HTML5 audio player. Formats supported include WAV, MP3 and OGG files.
Visual Editor in Text Widget
Before this widget, the default text widget could only manage plain text editing, meaning that you would have to add HTML for all style formatting. The new version includes an improved widget that includes visual editor support.
You will recognize the same editing features as the visual editor you use for pages and posts. Convenient editing buttons have been included such as add lists or links, plus the usual bold or italic. If you still prefer the HTML view, you can switch back to it.
Visual Editor Enhancements
What would we do without the visual editor! WordPress knows how fond its users are of this super easy to use feature, and they are always striving to make it even more streamlined.
Better Link Editing
Before this updated version, some beginner users struggled with moving the cursor away from the link while busy editing a post. This issue was addressed and now all you have to do is use the left or right arrow keys to move the cursor away from an embedded link.
News and Events Dashboard Widget
This is a new dashboard widget that has been introduced in WordPress 4.8 version. You can access it from your dashboard screen, in the admin area. It displays the latest WordPress news and events, based on your location.
It’s linked to each users IP address and time-zone, with multiple users the events will be automatically updated to the appropriate location. This information is sent to api.wordpress.org. Should you be using a VPN service, it will be updated based on your server’s location. If you want to rather see events in another area, you can change your location manually.
Under The Hood Changes
This version also has exciting changes for developers. The new API for TinyMCE editor is dynamically instantiated via JS. Another great change was made to the live theme customizer. Previously you might have observed the sidebar looking too narrow on large screens. In this latest version the sidebar’s width is customized to the user’s screen size.
Also, the user’s name is now displayed in the heading while using the edit user screen. Furthermore the tag cloud widget no longer uses a title tag. This feature has been replaced with more accessible aria-label attributes.
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