Sarah Vaughan

WordPress 4.7 brings video headers, PDF thumbnails

The WordPress 4.7 update just dropped, and it comes with a variety of great changes.

Like most WordPress releases, 4.7 is named after a famous jazz musician. This time around, the WordPress folks celebrate vocalist Sarah Vaughan. Take a listen while you soak in the new features.

Justify and underline removed from editor

If you’re a frequent user of “justify” and “underline” in your content editor, you may find life a little harder. Both options have been removed from the content editor. Underline has no semantic HTML element associated with it and can confuse readers who think it denotes a link, while justify is bad for readability, and generally isn’t suited for the web. If you memorized the keyboard shortcuts, those will still work.

Customizer improvements

If you spend a lot of time in the Customizer, you’ll notice it’s continuing to receive lots of love.

Editable content areas are now marked with icons in the preview area that let you quickly hop to them in the sidebar.

Adding pages is now also possible right from the Customizer so that you don’t have to leave what you’re doing to do some heavy tinkering to your menu.

Custom CSS can now be added via the Customizer, and your changes will be previewed immediately. This is a big step up from making edits to the CSS file in your theme, which will be lost if you ever try to update and haven’t made a child theme. That being said, Sterner Stuff clients are encouraged to contact me to discuss any CSS changes they’d like. That way I can offer my expert opinion and we can talk about what you’re hoping to accomplish.

Finally, themes can opt in to the new video header feature. This creates a field in the customizer for a video intended to be dropped into the theme as a big, pretty hero element.

Gif of hero video on InVision's website

PDF thumbnails

Your media library will now show you a thumbnail preview of PDFs you upload, as WordPress now generates an image reflecting the front page of your PDF. This thumbnail is visible in the media library, but can’t yet be used in the content editor. It will, however, render on the attachment page.

If you find that PDF thumbnail generation is broken, you might check that your server supports it. Your server will need to have ImageMagick, Imagick, and GhostScript installed to make use of this feature out of the box. To quickly test, you can use a plugin I wrote. If you’re hosting with Sterner Stuff, don’t worry: I’ve already made sure you’re good to go.

New default theme: Twenty Seventeen

With the new year dawning, WordPress introduces a new default theme with Twenty Seventeen. The new theme keeps up with design trends in the web and makes full use of the new video header feature. Under the hood, it offers new and easier ways for developers to create child themes based on it. See it in action here.

I’m ready for WordPress 4.7!

Don’t forget that by being on a Sterner Stuff update plan, you’re sure to see your WordPress site upgrade to 4.7 before the end of the month. If you aren’t already on an update plan, reach out and ask about starting one. Together, we can ensure your site is made of sterner stuff.


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