On December 7, 2016 WordPress Version 4.7 was released. This version is named “Vaughan” in honor of the American jazz singer Sarah “Sassy” Vaughan. She made a name for herself when she won an amateur night contest at the Apollo Theater. Later, she opened for Ella Fitzgerald and went on to become the lead singer in Earl Hines’s band. If you’re looking for some jazz to move to, listen to her version of “I Got Rhythm” on YouTube.
What’s New in WordPress 4.7
In this update, contributors have added several new features to the WordPress Customizer and deep integration with the new stock WordPress theme, Twenty Seventeen. Also, there are some additional features that developers will love like enhancement to the REST API. Read on to learn more!
New WordPress Theme: Twenty Seventeen
The Twenty Seventeen theme by WordPress, puts its focus on business sites and features many customizable features. For example, you can add multiple sections to your front page. You can also personalize your site with widgets, navigation, social menus, a logo, custom colors and more. Another great feature is that the site is mobile friendly and multi-language friendly.
Theme Starter Content
If you are installing WordPress for the first time, twenty seventeen comes with “starter content” to help you visualize the changes you need to make to your site.
When you’re logged into your new site and editing the twenty seventeen theme, you will see icons you can click to edit and take you directly in to the customizer to edit.
Video headers have been becoming more popular. This theme supports using video as a header image. The best part is that it auto-plays without sound so it doesn’t scare visitors away.
Smoother Menu Builder
Now you can add new pages while building menus within the customizer. There’s no need to abandon what you’re working on to go to a different location in the WordPress administration menu.
If you know CSS, this can be very helpful when customizing your theme. You can add custom CSS and instantly see how the change looks before you save your changes and make them public.
PDF Thumbnail Previews
Remember when you would upload a PDF to your media gallery and all you saw was a gray icon? In this update, when you upload a PDF, WordPress will generate a thumbnail, making it easier to find the PDF you’re looking for.
Dashboard in Your Language
Not everyone using your site make speak English. Now users can select their preferred language in the admin options.
REST API Content Endpoints
The average website administrator may not know what this is about, but developers of WordPress plugins this will be useful. Now, developers can use the REST API to connect to content endpoints to provide machine-readable external access to your website.
Especially for Developers
Here are some more updates that developers will appreciate.
Post Type Templates
Theme developers will have more flexibility with the WordPress template hierarchy. When you wanted to customize a page template you could, but not other post types. In WordPress 4.7, theme developers will be able to support other post types, not just pages.
This is what makes actions and filters work in WordPress. WP_Hook has been overhauled and modernized.
More Theme API Goodies
For WordPress theme developers, WordPress 4.7 includes some now functions, hooks and behaviors to help extend the possibilities of what a theme can do.
Settings Registration API
This improvement to the Setting Registration API is an enhancement to provide more data including type, description, and REST API visibility.
Custom Bulk Actions
Now you can list tables with more than just bulk edit and delete actions. An example of this would be creating a custom action that can forward a form submission to a pre-defined user or email address.
Customize changesets helps extend what’s possible with the WordPress Theme Customizer.
Why Should You Update to WordPress 4.6?
It’s the same reason every time. You need to keep your site performing at its best and it needs to be protected from exploitable vulnerabilities that can cause you to lose access to your site resulting in you having to spend gobs of money to fix you up and get you back online. These new features, while they are developer focused, extend what’s possible with WordPress in the near term. It will be exciting to see what theme developers do with these new features in 2017.