WordPress made the release candidate for version 4.7 available late last week, with the official public release set for the 6th December 2016. The main focus of WordPress 4.7 is to help users get their theme set up for the first time, and includes a new default theme, video headers, custom CSS, customizer edit shortcuts, PDF thumbnail previews, user admin. languages, REST API content endpoints, post type templates, and more.
While the release is not yet public, you can install the new version in your staging environment by installed the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.
The new features coming in version 4.7
#1 New Default Twenty Seventeen Theme
As WordPress 4.7 is the last major release of the year, like in previous years, it comes with a new default theme.
Unlike previous themes that are designed with the blogger in mind, Twenty Seventeen is different. It targets the business owner with a great looking fullscreen header image with the main content scrolling into view, with the main image being fixed in place. The effect looks really great:
As with other recent themes, it is fully responsiveand features some great typography. The default font used is "Libre Franklin" which looks very smart.
The theme also comes with starter content, which we talk about more in the next section.
#2 New Starter Content feature with themes
This must be our most favorite feature of this version. While many theme designers will create an import file to give to the purchasers of their theme so that they can install the theme and make it look like the theme's demo website, this is a clumsy and sometimes haphazard way of dealing with the issue.
From 4.7, theme designers will be able to tailor starter content to apply to the customizer when previewing the theme on a fresh install. The starter content will be staged in the customizer, and will not be live unless the changes are actually published.
#3 Video Headers support in Twenty Seventeen
The new Twenty Seventeen theme supports video headers that allow you to showcase your product or service. You can either upload a video to use, or alternatively simply add the URL of a YouTube or Vimeo video.
For the best results, we suggest you upload or link to a video that has dimensions of 2000 x 1200 pixels. We tried added a standard example background YouTube video to test, and unfortunately there was some unfilled space which didn't look that great.
A screenshot of the admin. screen is below:
#4 Set up your website in one flow
There are multiple improvements designed to make setting up a new website much more simple. For instance you can now:
- Find and installthemes right inside the customizer
- Automatically view theme-specific starter content
- Clickable shortcuts that jump directly to editing an item from the preview pane
- Add pages while you’re building a NAV menu or setting a static front page
#5 Custom CSS with live previews
Changing or tweaking the look of your theme is much more simple. You can now add custom CSS into the customizer and preview the changes instantly.
In the example above we adjusted the size of the H1 heading tag, with the results displaying instantly.
#6 User Admin languages
You can now allow individual users to use different languages within the admin. area. Simply install as many different languages as you wish (Settings -> Site Language -> Choose Language -> Save), then the option to choose from one of those languages will appear in each individual users profile.
#7 PDF Thumbnail Previews
When uploading a PDF to your website within the Media Center thumbnail images will now be generated to make it easier to distinguish between documents.
#8 WYSIWYG Editor improvements
There are also some minor editor improvements coming in the new version. This includes slight changes to the buttons displayed in the WYSIWYG toolbar, such as the paragraph and menu bar now appearing in the top bar, and the removal of the underline, text color and justify button.
Hugo Baeta, Brand and Visual Designer at Blend, and WordPress contributor commented on the changes:
- Underline — "It introduces a potentially bad user experience issue: readers confusing the underline text with a link. Underlined text is broadly interpreted as web links."
- Justification — "A great way for a user to break the theme!! Alignment should be left to the care of the person who spend hours crafting a great theme with the correct type settings. WordPress is built on this idea of one being able to switch themes and things looks great no matter what. Well, hardcoded styling in a post won't!"
- Text Color — "same arguments as text alignment. Should an editor really be able to break a theme that was carefully designed with a color palette in mind? Maybe if this came from some kind of theme function (where the theme designer sets a color palette for the editors to use on the visual editor) maybe... but let's not go off topic ;)"
#9 More technical improvements for Developers:
There are a number of other changes on the development side:
- REST API content endpoints — This adds various endpoints for WordPress content types. You can read more about the changes here.
- WP_Hook changes — The code that lies beneath actions and filters has been overhauled, and may effect code that uses the $wp_filter. You can read the developer notes here.
- Custom bulk actions — Developers can now register their own bulk actions on list tables. You can read more about these changes here.
- Expanded Settings Registration API — This expands on the register_meta introduced in 4.6 allowing developers to specify more information about (post|user|term|comment) meta. You can read more about it here.
- Post type templates — Extends page template functionality to custom post types.
- Locale switching — Allows front admin. bar to load in the same language as the content. Further information can be found here.
- Comment allowed checks — These now have the potential for a backwards-compatability break. Further discussions can be found here.