The Journey to WordPress 4.7
WordPress has been ever evolving in 2016, undergoing 2 major releases already, namely WordPress 4.5 “Coleman,” and WordPress 4.6 “Pepper,” and a third one, WordPress 4.7, is on its way at the end of this year in December, 2016.
WordPress 4.7 started its development in August, 2016, and though it has not been officially released yet, we received a preview of it in its beta version that came out for testing in October 28, 2016.
Since WordPress 4.7 is still under development, run the beta version on a test site rather than on production.
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Get your hands on the beta version by installing the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (enable “Bleeding Edge Nightlies” setting – see image below), or download a zip version here to install it on a local environment.
Just like its predecessors, the WordPress 4.7 Beta version showcased some exciting and noteworthy features to talk about, and to look forward to in the final version.
As we await the final version that is going to be released soon, let us refresh our minds of the features in the beta, and see what we can possibly expect in the near future.
Noteworthy Features in WordPress 4.7 Beta
New Default Theme For 2017
As part of the yearly ceremony, WordPress 4.7 Beta has a new single page theme for 2017 named “Twenty Seventeen”. However, this theme stands out from all its predecessors with a new sleek business design.
It is designed primarily for business websites, having a landing page aimed at increased sales conversion with stunning tools such as a video header, mobile responsiveness and subtle animations.
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But due to its large featured images and crisp typography it can be used for blogs too. The new theme also comes with a starter content feature to help beginners setup their new WordPress site.
Hopefully, this new feature will be made available for existing site content in the final version.
New Look To The Customizer Pane
Along with a new default theme design, the WordPress Customizer Pane has been revamped with exciting new features and capabilities to personalize a theme to your liking within the Customizer itself.
Unlike previous versions of WordPress, you can now edit any element of a page, change the front page settings, as well as create and choose menus and widgets from the Customizer Pane. There are many other new features that are listed below:
WordPress 4.7 has a new way of changing the color scheme of your website.
Direct Theme Installation
This was an exciting feature where you could download, preview and install a theme directly from the Customizer. However, it has been removed in the Beta 2 version due to non-functionality on mobile devices. Hopefully, this capability returns with the next future major release of WordPress.
The WordPress 2017 default theme has caught up with the new trend of video headers that many premium WordPress themes were already featuring in the past.
You can showcase your services by uploading your own MP4 video without the use of third party tools, or use a YouTube and Vimeo video by simply entering its URL in the Customizer.
You can simultaneously have a header image that will be used as a fall-back while the video buffers.
This feature is not something absolutely new and to die for, since there were already workarounds available to use header videos in your theme without actually coding. If your theme doesn’t support header videos, here is one way you can do this.
With this already existing feature being part of the Customizer Pane you can now add and design new pages, as well as edit existing ones from within the Customizer.
With this fascinating feature in the new version, WordPress has become more powerful than ever. You can now add custom CSS styles, and preview it live within the Customizer, as well as publish it immediately if you are satisfied with the changes. This could probably be the cause of child themes fizzling out in the future.
Improvements to the TinyMCE Visual Editor
WordPress 4.7 has shown some small changes and improvements in the TinyMCE Visual Editor, eliminating two bad practices. The paragraph and heading selector menu has moved to the top section, and underline text and justify text buttons have been removed. Accordingly to the WordPress developers:
This is a welcome change since links can be now clearly distinguished, and the fact that justified text is not supported by the Chrome browser.
PDF Thumbnail Previews
It is a known fact that in earlier and current versions of WordPress, when an image is uploaded into the media library, its thumbnail preview is visible that helps distinguish the files from each other.
However, this isn’t true for PDFs as only a file icon is shown, and this drawback causes a lot of hassle especially when you have a bulk of them uploaded to the media library.
Now, with WordPress 4.7, you can easily distinguish between PDFs with its new thumbnail preview feature, which will display the first page of the PDF, and it gets updated every time it is updated.
Users Admin Language Control
If you have multiple developers (Administrators) and users from different parts of the world working simultaneously on a WordPress website, here is some good news for you.
Earlier, the WordPress dashboard would be in the language that it was installed in (usually English), and Administrators couldn’t change it to any other language. Now, in WordPress 4.7, each Administrator can change the language of the dashboard to one that they prefer from their user profile page.
However, the additional languages have to be added to the installation, and be assured that the website’s language will remain the same.
Increased Security Of Protected Posts
With the upcoming WordPress 4.7 release, a 12-year old ticket will be finally closed. With this ticket closure, users will be able to secure their protected posts with passwords that can go up to 255 characters, rather than the 20-character password that was allowed earlier.
What’s In It For Developers
WordPress themes and plugin developers are not left behind in the WordPress 4.7 Beta release. Here is a list of features they can look forward to:
1. REST API Content Endpoints
3. Custom Bulk Actions
4. Settings Registration API
5. Theme Developers
6. Locale Switching
7. Comment Allowed Checks
Check out this link to know more about these features.
It’s Not Over Yet
Well these were the exciting new features that we got to preview in the WordPress 4.7 Beta version; however, some of these features may not even make it to the final version.
But this is not the end of it. We can expect new features and some other tweaks in the final version too.
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The release of the final version of WordPress 4.7 is just around the corner with only a few days to go. Keep this date in mind and mark your calendar – December 6th, 2016, and keep on the lookout for what this new major release will bring us. Stay tuned and stay excited!
We hope you found this article useful and informative as always. Do leave your valuable comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your friends.
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