If you have checked out your WordPress admin console you have noticed some new features.  They have been steadily providing new versions and some new features along the way.  These may be highly useful to you so they are worth a look.

New Widgets

The big changes are found in three new widgets.  In version 4.8 they added the image, video, and audio widgets.  These are not monumental in what they provide, but they do provide an avenue that can eliminate the need for plugins or custom code.

The image widget provides the familiar drag-and-drop approach for adding an image to the WordPress sidebar.  This also provides a post type of image.  These post types allow you to quickly drop a number of images into a post as a simple gallery display if desired.

Audio and Video

The audio and video widgets work in a similar fashion.  The goal for these is to provide a link to a service like Vimeo or YouTube rather than uploads these file types.  Both of these widgets also take advantage of the new HTML 5 related tags.  Therefore eliminating a need for embedded players and the subsequent support issues.

Editor Update

The editor control has also been updated and used liberally.  Now you will have the ability to edit text in any of the fields rather than just in the post.  The HTML tags you had to use in the past versions can now be avoided through the pervasive visual editor.  The feature is not up to high-end WYSIWYG standards, but it makes styling text much easier.

Localized News and Events

The last feature we will cover is the updated news widget.  The new version adds location support and information to the events.  Thus, users will see items that apply more specifically to them.  Although not a critical new feature, it does make the news feed somewhat useful now.

WordPress is an active project with regular updates.  Often these are fixes and minor adjustments under the covers to improve performance.  However, sometimes we get some new features that can make our life easier in using the tool.  This is why we recommend checking out WordPress.org at least monthly or quarterly to see what new features have been provided.

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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