Every so often there is a bug in which WordPress does NOT update automatically. This is one of those updates. So for you website management and one-wo(man) developers, do the update manually this time and all should be good thereafter. File this under #NothingIsPerfect. However, we still trust WordPress above other CMS (content management) solutions BIG TIME!
So what’s new? Here’s what appears AFTER YOU UPDATE!
Welcome to WordPress 4.9.6
Thank you for updating to the latest version! WordPress 4.9.6 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors.
Maintenance and Security Releases
Version 4.9.6 addressed 18 bugs. For more information, see the release notes.
Version 4.9.5 addressed some security issues and fixed 28 bugs. For more information, see the release notes.
Version 4.9.4 addressed 1 bug. For more information, see the release notes.
Version 4.9.3 addressed 34 bugs. For more information, see the release notes.
Version 4.9.2 addressed some security issues and fixed 22 bugs. For more information, see the release notes.
Version 4.9.1 addressed some security issues and fixed 11 bugs. For more information, see the release notes.
Major Customizer Improvements, Code Error Checking, and More! 🎉
Welcome to an improved Customizer workflow with design drafts, locking, scheduling, and preview links. What’s more, code syntax highlighting and error checking will make for a clean and smooth site building experience. Finally, if all that wasn’t pretty great, we’ve got a great new Gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.
Customizer Workflow Improved
Draft and Schedule Site Design Customizations
Yes, you read that right. Just like you can draft and revise posts and schedule them to go live on the date and time you choose, you can now tinker with your site’s design and schedule those design changes to go live as you please.
Collaborate with Design Preview Links
Need to get some feedback on proposed site design changes? WordPress 4.9 gives you a preview link you can send to your team and customers so that you can collect and integrate feedback before you schedule the changes to go live. Can we say collaboration++?
Design Locking To Guard Your Changes
Ever encounter a scenario where two designers walk into a project and designer A overrides designer B’s beautiful changes? WordPress 4.9’s design lock feature (similar to post locking) secures your draft design so that no one can make changes to it or erase all your hard work.
A Prompt to Protect Your Work
Were you lured away from your desk before you saved your new draft design? Fear not, when you return, WordPress 4.9 will politely ask whether or not you’d like to save your unsaved changes.
Syntax Highlighting and Error Checking? Yes, Please!
You’ve got a display problem but can’t quite figure out exactly what went wrong in the CSS you lovingly wrote. With syntax highlighting and error checking for CSS editing and the Custom HTML widget introduced in WordPress 4.8.1, you’ll pinpoint coding errors quickly. Practically guaranteed to help you scan code more easily and suss out and fix code errors quickly.
Sandbox for Safety
The dreaded white screen. You’ll avoid it when working on themes and plugin code because WordPress 4.9 will warn you about saving an error. You’ll sleep better at night.
Warning: Potential Danger Ahead!
When you edit themes and plugins directly, WordPress 4.9 will politely warn you that this is a dangerous practice. It will recommend that you backup your files before saving, so they don’t get overwritten by the next update. Take the safe route: your future self will thank you. Your team and customers will thank you.
Even More Widget Updates
The New Gallery Widget
An incremental improvement to the media changes hatched in WordPress 4.8, you can now add a gallery via widget. Yes!
Press a Button, Add Media
Want to add media to your text widget? Embed images, video, and audio directly into the widget along with your text, with our simple but useful Add Media button. Woo!
Site Building Improvements
More Reliable Theme Switching
When you switch themes, widgets sometimes think they can just up and move location. Improvements in WordPress 4.9 offer more persistent menu and widget placement when you decide it’s time for a new theme. Additionally, you can preview installed themes or download, install, and preview new themes right. Nothing says handy like being able to preview before you deploy.
Better Menu Instructions = Less Confusion
Were you confused by the steps to create a new menu? Perhaps no longer! We’ve ironed out the UX for a smoother menu creation process. Newly updated copy will guide you.
Lend a Hand with Gutenberg 🤝
WordPress is working on a new way to create and control your content and we’d love to have your help. Interested in being an early tester or getting involved with the Gutenberg project? Contribute on GitHub.
Developer Happiness 😊
Customizer JS API Improvements
We’ve made numerous improvements to the Customizer JS API in WordPress 4.9, eliminating many pain points and making it just as easy to work with as the PHP API. There are also new base control templates, a date/time control, and section/panel/global notifications to name a few. Check out the full list.
CodeMirror available for use in your themes and plugins
MediaElement.js upgraded to 4.2.6
WordPress 4.9 includes an upgraded version of MediaElement.js, which removes dependencies on jQuery, improves accessibility, modernizes the UI, and fixes many bugs.
Improvements to Roles and Capabilities
New capabilities have been introduced that allow granular management of plugins and translation files. In addition, the site switching process in multisite has been fine-tuned to update the available roles and capabilities in a more reliable and coherent way.