WordPress 4.9 is called Tipton, the new update version which was released November 14th. The new features basically offer three major improvements:

  1. Changes to the Customizer workflow
  2. Brand new Gallery widget
  3. Introduction of the CodeMirror editor

Customizer Improvements

Several new features in the Customizer for themes make the workflow process simpler and more efficient. 

changes in WordPress 4.9 customizer workflow

Saving theme changes as draft

The Save Draft button saves any current customization tweaks to your site’s design as a draft and you can finish working on them next time you open the Customizer.

Share Preview Link

The Share Preview Link provides a live URL that you can share to clients and colleagues to collaborate on the new changes to the site design. This is a a very useful addition, particularly when you need to let others who cannot login or have no access to the site see a preview of the latest changes before final publication.

Scheduling changes in the customizer

You can schedule the latest theme changes to go live depending on the date and time you choose.

Creating Menus

WordPress 4.9 guides the user step by step through the flow of selecting menu locations and items making the menu creation process easier.

creating menus in WordPress 4.9

Improvements to the Widget System in WordPress 4.9

The brand new gallery widget in version 4.9 allows you to place dedicated image galleries on the frontend of your site. It’s a super way to create image widgets that will help draw more interest to your posts but won’t slow down your site.

The brand new gallery widget in version 4.9

Just choose a location or drag it over to your desired location and select images from your WordPress media library using the Add Images button

Text Widget Improvements

The not-so-often used Text Widget has also gotten an overhaul. They added a rich text editor so you can add an image and a text link and format it for visual appeal. And, with  the Add Media button you can actually use the text widget to create a gallery that has text and links to it.

rich text editor in Text Widget of WordPress 4.9

Text Widget will also now support shortcodes by default, so no need to use a plugin to help with that.

Video Widget Expands Support

The Video widget in WordPress 4.9 also now supports all oEmbed providers, making it possible to add videos to your site that are hosted by other providers and not just YouTube and Vimeo.

The Video widget in WordPress 4.9

Improvements to Code Editing 

An important change for developers is the new code editor called CodeMirror. It will make the editing experience better as you will easily be able to tweak:

  • your custom css in the wordpress customizer,
  • theme or plugin code from the dashboard editor, and
  • code in the custom html widget.

Live error checking and Autocomplete features will also help keep you safe from coding errors as it gives you a warning message if you are editing your theme’s template files and also auto-detect fatal errors in your code before you save the changes.

It’s great to have these many new and improved features in WordPress 4.9, but it’s just the beginning. WordPress says we can expect even bigger changes coming next year as it incorporates more theme and page builder functions.