WordPress 4.7 is available, and it offers features to gladden the hearts of both developers and users.
Named after jazz singer Sarah Vaughn, the new features aim to make building your WordPress site smoother and more intuitive.
They’ve coupled the release with the new free theme, TwentySeventeen (shown above), which offers an elegant, parallax-scrolling front page and a video header.
To make sitebuilding easier for the new WordPress user, themes can include starter content. You’ll see it when you open the Customizer. (Not all themes will include starter content.) With the new TwentySeventeen theme, you’ll see icons in the preview screen that take you directly to the appropriate spot in the Customizer when you click on them.
Click the pencil icon at the top, and it opens the Header menu within the Customizer.
Click next to the words “Example Site” (that’s the name of one of the sandbox sites where I play around with new things so yours will be the name of your site), and it takes you to the Site Identity section of the Customizer.
Smoother Menu Building
Want to make a menu? Until now, you have to create your pages before you can add them to the menu. But now, click Menus in the Customizer and you’ll see a new options — you can create pages on the fly.
Click Add Items, and a new section flies out.
Add new pages, posts, tags, categories, or custom links, directly from this screen, and include them in the menu. (Of course, you’ll have to add content to them later!)
Post Editor Tools
The area where you likely spend most of your time inside WordPress, the post editor, has a few subtle changes as well.
The style selector dropdown (where you select paragraph, Heading 1, etc.) is now on the top row, and Strikethrough has been moved to the second row. Justify and Underline are gone. (You can still use them, but only with keyboard shortcuts — click the question mark in your editor for details.)
This puts the most common functions all on the top row.
Built-in Custom CSS Editor
Until now, if you’ve wanted to adjust the CSS (custom stylesheet), you had to either change the original code or use a plugin. Now, that ability is baked directly into WordPress, and you can see changes immediately in the Preview.
Navigate to Appearance / Customize, and scroll down to the bottom. Notice the Additional CSS link.
Click it, and the CSS customizer opens.
Click on the little question mark to see additional information about CSS.
PDF Preview Thumbnails
Now, when you upload a PDF file, WordPress will generate an image preview to help you distinguish between different files more easily.
Goodies for developers include:
- Rest API Content End Points
- Post type templates
- More bulk edit / delete functions
- Modernized WP_Hook
- Dashboard language selector lets individual users select their own language for the dashboard
On the whole, this WordPress update simplifies what you need to do to get your WordPress site up and running.
As always, before you update WordPress, or any themes or plugins, make sure you download a complete backup of your site — just in case.