WordPress 4.8: The 5 most important innovations + developer features

WordPress 4.8 “Evans” (download) makes everyday tasks easier with new widgets for videos, pictures and text as well as improved editing of links.

Features for content creators

If you simply want to tell a great story without having to worry about things like PHP, HTML or CSS, these features are for you:

Adding text to an existing link should always be simple. This is why WordPress 4.8 clearly highlights when you edit the link text. So you always know exactly whether you are creating regular text or link text.

Tip: Once you have finished your link text, just press the right-arrow key on your keyboard to continue with regular text.

2. Image widget

With the new image widget it is easy to add a profile image or any other image to your site in the footer or sidebar. In the Customizer, you can preview your changes, drag and drop your image, and see it appear automatically.

Click Customizer > Widgets > Add Widget and add an image widget to your site.

3. Video widget

Many successful websites use video to inspire us with engaging content. In WordPress 4.8, you can easily place a video in the widget area of your page with support for videos from your media library and external videos from YouTube, Vimeo and other services via embedded URLs.

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Add a video to your sidebar or footer: Click Customizer > Widgets > Add Widget > Video.

4. Audio widget

For podcasters and musicians: Upload your latest song or podcast to the media library and include a compact audio player as a widget in your sidebar or footer.Tip: External songs can be embedded via URLs.

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To add an audio widget, click Customizer > Widgets > Add Widget > Audio.

5. Rich text widget

The text widget now uses the visual editor. This makes it easy to create lists and links or to emphasize your text in bold or italic. No HTML skills are required!

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Click Customizer > Widgets > Add Widget > Text


Features for developers

For developers, WordPress 4.8 brings these innovations (Source: wordpress.org):

More Accessible Admin Panel Headings

New CSS rules mean extraneous content (like “Add New” links) no longer need to be included in admin-area headings. These panel headings improve the experience for people using assistive technologies.

Removal of Core Support for WMV and WMA Files

As fewer and fewer browsers support Silverlight, file formats which require the Silverlight plugin are being removed from core support. These files will still display as a download link but will no longer be embedded automatically.

Multisite Updates

New capabilities have been introduced to 4.8 geared towards removing calls to is_super_admin(). Additionally, new hooks and tweaks for more granular control of site and user counts per network have been added.

Text-Editor JavaScript API

With the addition of TinyMCE to the text widget in 4.8 comes a new JavaScript API for instantiating the editor after page load. This can be used to add an editor instance to any text area, and customize it with buttons and functions. Great for plugin authors!

Media Widgets API

The introduction of a new base media widget REST API schema to 4.8 opens up possibilities for even more media widgets (like galleries or playlists) in the future. The three new media widgets are powered by a shared base class that covers most of the interactions with the media modal. That class also makes it easier to create new media widgets and paves the way for more to come.

Customizer Width Variable

Rejoice! New responsive breakpoints have been added to the customizer sidebar to make it wider on high-resolution screens. Customizer controls should use percentage-based widths instead of pixels.


WordPress 4.8 update stuck in maintenance mode? There is a simple solution

If you update to 4.8 manually and the update process fails at some point, leaving your WordPress website stuck in maintenance mode, there is a simple solution: How to disable WordPress maintenance mode after a failed update

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