Get a sneak peek at what’s new in WordPress 4.7 in this quick video tour.
- A new task when you upload images
- Uploaded PDF thumbnails that act just like images – see the notes below the video about this one
- The TinyMCE text editor toolbar reordering
- A new Twenty Seventeen theme with a parallax effect and video header
- New features and enhancements to the Customizer
- REST API Endpoints added
- A few more Developer Perks under the hood
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I know images are a big deal for many of you, especially my craft and lifestyle bloggers.
When you upload an image, WordPress would derive the Title tag from the file name, as you see here.
It left the Alt Text field blank, but behind the scenes, it was trying to fill this in with something derived from either the file name, or the caption text. They did this for folks using screen readers. That fallback function has been removed. You will now have to explicitly fill in the Alt Text when you upload an image.
Most of you who care about SEO and Pinterest have been properly filling in the title and alt text fields anyway. Good for you. If you haven’t been doing this before, you really need to start now.
This change in 4.7 will not affect previously published content. So, don’t worry about your existing post.
UPDATE: Imagik, ImageMagick and Ghostscript for thumbnails has to be configured on your server for this to work. And it won’t apply to previously uploaded PDFs.
For those of you who offer PDF downloads, you’re going to like this next enhancement.
When you upload a PDF to the media library, it will now generate thumbnail image from the first page of the PDF. This will also affect the attachment page for that media too.
You’ll now be able to easily see it in the Media Library list. And you can now display them on pages and posts just as you would with images. You can even create galleries from them.
TinyMCE Text Editor Tools
In the text editor, the tools have been rearranged, with the most popular ones on the top line.
And less popular ones on the second row. That’s because so many folks have no idea that you need to click the Toolbar Toggle, formerly known as the Kitchen Sink tool, to see that second row of tools.
A few tools have even been removed, like underline.
Now, if you use the TinyMCE Advanced plugin, you can fully customize all tools on every row, so this change doesn’t really affect you.
Twenty Seventeen Theme
WordPress 4.7 also ships with a new theme.
Twenty Seventeen has a fully customizable front page with multiple sections.
It has a video header. You can bring in a video from YouTube, Vimeo, or host on your own site.
As you scroll, you can see a parallax type effect, where the background image changes.
Folks, I know this has been the trend, and it’s cool. But, this sort of thing is going to kill your conversion just as bad, or worse than sliders did. And that’s going to be especially true on mobile. Think of how far you have to scroll just to see a wee bit of text or a link to click.
And, you’ll also need to delete this theme once you upgrade if you don’t plan to use it. We wish to heck they would quit including the default themes on every major upgrade, as it creates one more potential security hole on the site.
Edit Shortcuts have been added. These are icons that show you which parts of your site can be customized while in live preview mode.
Video Headers have a new tab for any themes that support them. You can search sites with free ones to download and use too.
Menus have been improved for new site setup. You can add pages to the menu while still in the customizer instead of having to leave and go to the menu admin page.
And now you can add your own Custom CSS on themes that support it and instantly see the changes without refreshing the page.
WordPress 4.7 has also introduced Theme Starter Content. It will only appear on fresh installs and will not be saved to the live site until all changes in the customizer have been saved. This will help many theme designers, as they will not have to import bogus content just to see how it looks on a theme design.
REST API Endpoints
The first half was added in 4.4 and these end points were supposed to appear in 4.5. They are here now and offer developers a way to create apps that provide machine-readable external access to your site.
Expect to see more plugins making use of these in the next year.
Under the Hood
There are several core changes under the hood that you won’t see, but may affect you.
WP Hook is the code underlying filters and actions on the site. It has been improved, but may affect folks who run ads or use those hooks to place widget areas in other parts of static pages or posts.
In fact, several parts of the Theme API have been improved with new functions, hooks, and behavior. Designers, you’ll need to check to see how your themes will be affected by this.
Post Type Templates now have more flexibility with handling the template hierarchy.
And, more Custom Bulk Actions are available so developers can create their own bulk actions in list tables on admin pages. Think of the list you see when you view all pages or posts or other lists that come up with plugins, such as your shortcodes or scrollboxes.