November 16, 2017 Last Updated 9:59 am

WordPress 4.9 released, new features include design drafts, scheduling and locking

The latest version of the digital publishing platform is named after jazz musician Billy Tipton, which is quite appropriate considering recent, and surprising, election results

The newest version of WordPress was released yesterday and is their practice, version 4.9 has been named after jazz musician Billy Tipton. If you are unfamiliar with Tipton then you definitely should read his biography at Wikipedia, which will explain that WordPress chose Tipton for more reasons than just being a jazz musician (please do read that entry).

Mentioning new versions of WordPress is not something TNM would normally do except that so little is happening in other areas, such as iBooks Author, for instance.

It also used to be that there were exciting things to say about new versions of iOS or the macOS, such as iBooks coming to the iPhone or Mac, or something else that might advance digital publishing. If 2010 through 2012 seems like exciting times in digital publishing, the last few years have been very disappointing (at least from my perspective).

Like many software developers, the folks behind WordPress use even numbers for giant, major updates, and the first number after the decimal to signify rather major updates. Updates to follow will look like 4.91 or 4.911.

“New features in 4.9 will smooth your design workflow and keep you safe from coding errors,” wrote Mel Choyce on the WordPress blog.

“Featuring design drafts, scheduling, and locking, along with preview links, the Customizer workflow improves collaboration for content creators. 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 an awesome new Gallery widget and improvements to theme browsing and switching.”

The biggest change is likely the ability to tweet your site’s design and schedule the changes as to when they go live.

Other changes include design preview links, design locking and the addition of a prompt to remind users to save their work (which I am sure some will find annoying).

Here is a full list of the chances, along with the links to further explanation (that those hashtag numbers):

What’s New


  • Drafting (#39896) and scheduling (#28721) of changes in the Customizer. Once you save or schedule a changeset, when any user comes into the Customizer the pending changes will be autoloaded. A button is provided to discard changes to restore the Customizer to the last published state.
  • Addition of a frontend preview link to the Customizer to allow changes to be browsed on the frontend, even without a user being logged in (#39896)
  • Addition of autosave revisions in the Customizer (#39275)
  • A brand new theme browsing experience in the Customizer (#37661)
  • Improve the flow for creating new menus in the Customizer (#40104)
  • Educated guess mapping of nav menus and widgets when switching themes (#39692)
  • Plugins: Introduce singular capabilities for activating and deactivating individual plugins (#38652)
  • Sandbox PHP file edits in both plugins and themes (#21622)


  • Support for videos from providers other than YouTube and Vimeo in the Video widget (#42039)
  • Media: Upgrade MediaElement.js to 4.2.5-74e01a40 (#39686)
  • Media: Use max-width for default captions (#33981)
  • Media: Reduce duplicated custom header crops in the Customizer (#21819)
  • Media: Store video creation date in meta (#35218)


  • Gallery widget (#41914), following the media and image widgets introduced in Version 4.8
  • Support for shortcodes in Text widgets (#10457)
  • Support for adding media to Text widgets (#40854)
  • Addition of dirty state for widgets on the Administration Screen, indicating when a widget has been successfully saved and showing an “Are you sure?” dialog when attempting to leave without saving changes (#23120, #41610)


  • Role/Capability: Introduce capabilities dedicated to installing and updating language files (#39677)
  • Users: Require a confirmation link in an email to be clicked when a user attempts to change their email address (#16470)

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