WordPress 4.8 arrives with link boundaries and widget improvements, drops WMV and WMA support


WordPress.org today launched WordPress 4.8, which adds a slew of new features to the blog management tool “to express yourself and represent your brand.” You can download the new release, available in 38 languages, now from WordPress.org/Download (8.5MB).

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WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that powers 25 percent of the web. The latest version is dubbed “Evans,” in honor of jazz pianist and composer William John “Bill” Evans.

WordPress 4.8 introduces link boundaries. If you’ve ever tried updating a link or the text around a link and found that the wrong text ends up being linked, this is for you. Link boundaries streamline the process of editing links, hopefully resulting in less frustration.

As for the widget improvements, you can now add an image to a widget without needing to know code, add any video from the Media Library to a sidebar on your site, and add a widget for any audio file in your Media Library. Last but not least, rich-text editing capabilities are now native for Text widgets: create lists, add emphasis, and insert links.

For those who want to improve their WordPress skills, the Events and News dashboard widget now draws your attention to nearby events. All upcoming WordCamps and official WordPress Meetups are now right there when you log in to your dashboard.

Other developer additions and changes include:

  • More Accessible Admin Panel Headings: New CSS rules mean extraneous content (like “Add New” links) no longer needs 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 that require the presence of the Silverlight plugin are being removed from core support. 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 with an eye towards removing calls to is_super_admin(). Additionally, new hooks and tweaks for more granular site control 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.
  • 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: 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.

The team did not mention WordPress 4.9 or 5.0, but presumably the next version is already being worked on and will be released in a few months.

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