WordPress version 4.7 has been released. And as usual, the WordPress development team has been working hard at tweaking and improving things. So, what’s new?
New theme: Twenty Seventeen
Twenty Seventeen is the new default theme. Complete with funky features like, a snazzy video header, large featured images and parallax scrolling. It’s the first default theme with a more business design focus.
And another good thing. Twenty Seventeen won’t be added to existing WordPress websites automatically, so if you want to use it, you’ll need to install it individually.
New Features to Customizer
Customizer (when activated) is the tool that you can use on your WordPress website to edit theme options and widgets. In WordPress 4.7 it adds new features like; Theme Starter Content, Edit Shortcuts, Video Headers, Smoother Menu Building and Custom CSS.
Theme Starter Content
Starter content gives theme developers the ability to provide all kind of theme setup content. This can range from placing a business information widget in the best location to a complete sample menu setup with social icon links to a home page filled with beautiful images. The starter content serves as a placeholder and doesn’t appear on the live site until you publish the theme setup.
Visible Edit Shortcuts
When using the customizer tool to edit your website’s appearance, you’ll notice some little blue pencil icons. These are the new so called visible edit shortcuts. They appear to show you which parts of your site can be customized while live previewing.
Create a Page Within a Menu
You can now create pages from within the Menu Customizer. One of the most common site setup steps is to build your menu. But if you haven’t already created the pages, you have to go do first that and come back. Not anymore.
Sometimes you just need a few visual tweaks. WordPress 4.7 allows you to add custom CSS and instantly see how your changes affect your site. The live preview allows you to work quickly without page refreshes slowing you down.
PDF Thumbnail Previews
Uploading PDFs will now generate thumbnail previews images. Previously, when you added a PDF document WordPress showed a generic document icon. Now an image is being created for the first page of PDF document during upload.
Dashboard in your language
Just because your site is in one language doesn’t mean that everybody helping manage it prefers that language for their admin. There is now an option to add more languages to your site and a user can choose his language option in his user profiles.
WordPress has long enabled WordPress developers to create templates for pages. Now that capability has been expanded to posts templates! For example, if you want to have a different style for essays than for quick blog posts, you can use post templates to easily do that.
Text Editor Improvements
The text editor has been further optimized.
Some of the toolbar buttons have been rearranged to make them easier to access and to encourage proper use of the HTML elements they insert.
The paragraph and heading drop-down is now moved to the top row, and the strike-through and horizontal rule button are moved down.
The underline and justify buttons have been removed from the bottom row. Underlining is a bad practice as readers can confuse it with links (bad accessibility), and it does not insert a semantic element. Justifying has uneven browser implementation, and in many cases is bad for readability.
Accessible Alt Text for Images
WordPress automatically used the image file name as alternate text for images added in WordPress. If the file name is non-descriptive (e.g. DCS2532655677.JPG) as is common with photos uploaded from digital cameras, the alternate (alt) text can be meaningless. Starting from 4.7, WordPress will now leave the alt text field blank. You will need to explicitly set a value for the alt text field.
Under the hood
WP REST API Content Endpoints Added to 4.7 – One of the most exciting improvements to WordPress for developers is the addition of the WP REST API content endpoints for posts, comments, terms, users, meta, and settings. This API opens up new ways of accessing and presenting WordPress content in themes, plugins, and applications – both inside and outside of the traditional WordPress interface.
oEmbed support for Facebook – posts/activities/photo/videos/media/questions/notes
More Theme API Goodies – WordPress 4.7 includes new functions, hooks, and behaviour for theme developers.
Custom Bulk Actions – List tables, now with more than bulk edit and delete.
WP_Hook – The code that lies beneath actions and filters has been overhauled and modernized, fixing bugs along the way.
Settings Registration API – register_setting() has been enhanced to include type, description, and REST API visibility.
Customize Changesets – Customize changesets make changes in the customizer persistent, like autosave drafts. They also make exciting new features like starter content possible.