WordPress 4.9: New Features and Updates

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WordPress 4.9 is the second major release of this year and it brings a lot of bug fixes, new features, and other enhancements. It was clear from the beginning that it won’t be about Gutenberg. This is planned for a 5.0 release next year. And that is going to be one big change. But let’s get back to the 4.9 version which also brings a lot of novelties. It’s named Tipton in honor of jazz musician and bandleader Billy Tipton. New features in 4.9 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors.

What’s new in WordPress 4.9 – most exciting features

New features are added in both the design and coding parts of WordPress. And we are finally getting some new premium widgets.

Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations

Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please. For instance, you can now change your logo in the Customizer and set the exact date as to when the new logo should appear on your website. This will help you in reducing the time spent behind the computer since you don’t have to wait to publish the change, but simply set it and forget it.

Collaborate with Design Preview Links

There is now an option to send the drafted design changes to colleagues and customers to collect feedback before your changes go live.

A Prompt to Protect Your Work

Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.

Design Locking Guards Your Changes

Just like you can lock your post so no one can override your content changes to the post, it’s now possible to lock the design changes. So if you have more designers working on your WordPress website they won’t override each other changes anymore.

Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking

This is probably the change that I like the most. I was waiting for this for years and finally editing the CSS directly from WordPress Dashboard is a valid option. I will still probably use Notepad++ for most of my code editing, but for a fast CSS change this will surely come in handy. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly.

Sandbox for Safety

Who hasn’t seen the dreadful white screen of death in WordPress? You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. We will all feel better when changing anything crucial in our WordPress installation.

Warning: Potential Danger Ahead!

Another feature that will help you ensure you don’t accidentally crash your website. When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice and will recommend that you draft and test changes before updating your file.

The New Gallery Widget

In WordPress 4.9, you can now add a gallery via this new widget. Simply add the images like shown in the screenshot below and you are ready to go.

We will, of course, had to make some CSS changes to fit in our WordPress Themes, but it already looks decent by default.

Button to add Media in Text Widget

Want to add media to your text widget? You can now embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. This is a feature that was desperately missing when the Visual editor was added to the text widget. Now it’s finally a complete solution and adding rich text and media is no longer something only the ones with coding skills can do.

Reliable Theme Switching

Probably all of us were already in a situation when you switched the theme and suddenly widgets and menus were all over the place. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme.

Find and Preview the Perfect Theme

Looking for a new theme for your site? Now, from within the Customizer, you can search, browse, and preview over 2600 themes before deploying changes to your site. What’s more, you can speed your search with filters for subject, features, and layout.

Better Menu Instructions

We had to create thorough menu guides in our themes documentation since users always had problems with implementing their menu. WordPress 4.9 now brings out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. The newly updated copy will guide you.

Lend a Hand with Gutenberg

WordPress is working on a new way to create and control your content and we’d love to have your help. Interested in being an early tester or getting involved with the Gutenberg project? Contribute to GitHub.


WordPress 4.9 brought a lot of new features that will help you with both developers and typical users. Now onwards to WordPress 5.0.

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