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Blogs at UMass Amherst: What's New in WordPress 4.7

On Monday, March 13, 2017, Blogs at UMass Amherst upgraded from WordPress 4.5 to WordPress 4.7. This upgrade includes features added in WordPress version 4.6 and 4.7.

During upgrades, your blog contents (e.g., blog posts, images, plugins) are automatically transferred from the old version to the new. For this upgrade, the administrative interface has not undergone significant changes so there is no need for you to re-learn the software. There are some new features you'll want to know about, though!

Upgrade Highlights

Plugin Changes

  • Google Analytics: Yoast Google Analytics has been replaced by MonsterInsights Google Analytics.  Blogs that previously used Yoast GA will need to reconnect to the Google Analytics account tracking the blog. When you first visit your blog's Dashboard, you'll be prompted to allow MonsterInsights to track plugin usage: This is optional; you may choose Do not Allow. You should also see a message asking to "Please configure your Google Analytics Settings." Click the link in that message or go to Insights > Settings (in Main Menu at left). On the Insights Settings screen, click Re-authenicate with your Google account, then step through the prompts to reconnect to Google Analytics.

  • Video Embeds: If you often embed video on your blog, you may notice that buttons to insert video no longer appear in the Editor toolbar. Media embeds previously handled by the Viper Video plugin are now handled natively by WordPress. To embed media simply add the URL in a separate line of your page or post. For details see Embed Video & Audio Content in Your Blog.

WordPress 4.7

  • Improvements to the Customizer:
    • The Customizer "live view" includes Edit shortcuts for quick access to customizable elements such as Site Title and Menus.
    • Add new pages and build menus from within the Customizer.
    • Add custom CSS in the Additional CSS panel, with live preview, for any theme.
      Note: For themes that previously allowed custom CSS, the entry box provided by the theme will still be available and should  contain your previous CSS code. Be aware that there may now be two places you may enter CSS. The advantage of the new option is that you can monitor changes "live" in the Customizer preview window.
  • Media Library displays thumbnail previews for PDF files. 
  • New WordPress Twenty Seventeen theme features a front page layout with multiple sections, large images, social menu, logo area, light or dark color schemes, theme starter content (for new sites).
  • Under the hood: REST API content endpoints let developers create new themes, plugins and apps. Stay tuned for new features.

WordPress 4.6

  • The Dashboard uses native fonts (already on your computer) for improved performance and appearance.
  • Check links inline in the Editor window.
  • WordPress auto-saves content as you edit.
  • Dashboard language option: choose from over 100 languages.
  • New WordPress “Twenty Sixteen” theme is "mobile first." It's clean, blog-focused, and designed for clarity, with straightforward typography that's readable on a wide variety of screen sizes: A good choice if your audience primarily accesses your site by phone or tablet.
  • Under the hood: WP automatically adds resource hints to improve browser performance; improvements to APIs; JavaScript library updates; Multi-site performance improvements.

For more on WordPress 4.7, visit https://wordpress.org/news/2016/12/vaughan/. For release notes on WordPress 4.1 through 4.6, see https://wordpress.org/news/category/releases/.
Note: Not all WordPress features are enabled on WordPress at UMass Amherst.

WordPress Plugins on Blogs at UMass Amherst:

Blogs at UMass Amherst includes a number of third-party "plug-ins" to extend your blog. Track visits to your blog with Google Analytics; embed media from trusted sites; add calendars, maps, forms, and social media links; enter mathematical notations, and more. For a complete list of plugins installed on Blogs at UMass Amherst and instructions on how to use them, see Plugins on Blogs at UMass Amherst.

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