If you are an avid WordPress user, you are probably aware that the latest version (at the time of this writing) of the content management system (4.8) was released in early June 2017. After much speculation within the WordPress community about what the new version would offer, we now know there are quite a few new features for both WordPress developers and end-users.
In this post, we will highlight the best new features for end-users. If you are WordPress developer, you likely do not need our help anyway. If you want to know more about new features for developers, there are plenty of online resources detailing the goodies. As for end-users, we have selected three new features we believe will make your WordPress experience a lot more enjoyable.
1. Sidebar Image Widget
In previous iterations of WordPress, the only way to display images in the sidebar was to hard code or use a plugin. Hard-coding is generally not an option for inexperienced users, and plugins always create unnecessary risks. So developers decided to implement a new widget for displaying sidebar images.
To use the widget, you simply navigate to the ‘Appearance’ section of the Dashboard. Drag the widget into the desired sidebar position, then upload an image or choose something from your library. You can even add an image title. Click the ‘Save’ button and you’re all set.
2. Sidebar Video Widget
The second great feature offers the same sidebar functionality but for videos. It is a widget that makes it possible to embed uploaded videos directly or stream videos from other sources like YouTube and Vimeo. Using the widget is a simple as using the image widget.
The one piece of advice we might give regarding this widget is to be very cautious about uploading your own videos. Not only does video require an extraordinary amount of storage space and bandwidth, but there are always security concerns to think about as well. You’re better off uploading your videos to a third-party service and then streaming them through the WordPress widget.
3. Visual HTML Editor
Last is a new HTML editor – just in case you want to place customized code in the sidebar. To this point, users have had to have at least a basic understanding of HTML to use the custom text widget. That’s no longer required. WordPress 4.8 now includes a WYSIWYG text editor for creating sidebar text. The visual editor is very similar to the editor used for creating new posts and pages.
To use it, just drag the custom text widget into place and start typing. You can give the code a title; you can use standard text editor features like bold and italicized text, bullet points and numbered list, and even links. You can also choose to use ‘Text’ mode inside the editor for pasting code borrowed from elsewhere.
WordPress developers have done a very good job with version 4.8. They’ve made using the CMS easier and more efficient. Perhaps that’s why so many people love WordPress.