WordPress 4.9. The Customize


On October 12th, the release of the second beta of WordPress 4.9 was announced. If you want to test the newest version, you can download the whole package or the WordPress Beta Tester plugin, which allows you to upgrade a standard installation to a beta version.

We tried WordPress 4.9 and in this article, we offer an overview of the main news that will accompany the second major release this year. Generally speaking, these are news focused mainly on the User Experience. Few, however, the significant news for developers.

New in the Customizer

Probably the most relevant news concerns the Customizer. The most interesting is probably the possibility to save changes to the settings in a draft, or to schedule their publication at a later time. Drafting and scheduling are possible thanks to the use of the custom post type customize_changeset, which allows to memorize the settings of each configuration session according to the same post storage mechanism.

The new interface of the Customizer.
The new interface of the Customizer.

The rescue system based on customize_changesetgenerates, in addition, a direct link to the front-end of the last configuration ( Share Preview Link ), so as to allow sharing the front-end of the site, before the final publication, even with unregistered users.

Starting from WordPress 4.9 it will also be possible to choose the themes to install without leaving the Customizer interface.


Installation of themes from the Customizer interface.
Installation of themes from the Customizer interface.

It will also change the flow of menu creation, which is made more intuitive. Other news related to the Customizer are:

  • Global notifications.
  • Notifications in the sheets and sections.
  • Full page notifications.
  • Adding a date and time control.

News in widgets

The new version will bring with it the brand new Gallery widget, which will allow you to insert image galleries inside the sidebar.

The new Gallery widget.
The new Gallery widget.

Besides interesting news related to widgets are:

  1. support for shortcodes in text widgets: before the changes to the new version, it was necessary to use a plugin.
  2. Support for oEmbed in text widgets.
  3. Support for oEmbed in Video widgets: you can include videos hosted by any provider, not just YouTube and Vimeo videos.
  4. Media support in text widgets.
  5. Inserting the CodeMirror text editor into HTML widgets.

News for developers

WordPress 4.9 will include the CodeMirror text editor in the core, which will dramatically improve code editing in HTML widgets, the theme and plugin editor, and the Customizer.

The plugin editor enhanced by CodeMirror.
The plugin editor enhanced by CodeMirror.

More than an innovation for developers, this change also appears as an enrichment of the interface, which will allow you to easily insert HTML code within the widgets and CSS code in the “Custom CSS” section of the Customizer. Direct code editing in the theme and plug-in editor is not recommended.

The most interesting news for developers is probably related to the possibility of inserting custom instances of the editor within plugins. The following code shows an example of using the class WP_Customize_Code_Editor_Control:

add_action( 'customize_register', function ( WP_Customize_Manager $wp_customize ) {
    $wp_customize->add_setting( 'custom_html' );
    $control = new WP_Customize_Code_Editor_Control( $wp_customize, 'custom_html', array(
        'label' => 'Custom HTML',
        'code_type' => 'text / html',
        'settings' => 'custom_html',
        'section' => 'title_tagline'
    $ wp_customize-> add_control ($ control);

Other important news concerns the addition of individual skills for the activation or deactivation of plugins and for the management of language files, the removal of the SWFUpload library from the core, the permanence of widgets and menus in the change of themes.


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