WordPress has recently released an update – the 4.8 version – and it’s mostly pretty nice. In particular, the built-in widget for adding text items to sidebars has been enhanced, and a couple widgets specifically for adding video and audio links to your site have been added. You can read more about it here and here.
We’re already seeing news, though, of a potentially troubling issue: the enhancements to the “Text Widget” may in fact end up breaking your text item the next time you edit it.
This is pretty much only the case when you have some relatively-complicated code placed in your text widget – like the code required to display a 3rd-party subscription form or other service. Basically, the new version of the widget adds many new features, but in the process it also alters how it “processes” the code that you enter. Long story short: after updating, if you need to change or edit the text in your widget, you may find that it ends up breaking things.
This isn’t a big issue to fix – already, there are some patches available to replicate the “classic” text behavior and allow your code to work properly. And, for the majority of site owners, these text widgets are most typically used for providing simple text or images, and so this “flaw” doesn’t apply.
So… if you’re taking care of your own maintenance and updates – terrific! Just make sure, as always, that you backup before you update, and remember not to update your child theme. And when you do update, just check your site to make sure your sidebar items are still displaying and working as they should. If not, and you’re inclined to fix things yourself, if you do some Google-ing about “WordPress 4.8 text widget problems” you should find some guidance to help you along. Or, if you’d rather focus on running your business, give us a shout – we can take a look and get you back on track quickly.
(For those of you whose site we’ve built in the last 30 days and those on our Visage Web Health & Wellness plans, we already have you covered, so no worries – part of our process is checking for these kind of things. Not on a plan? Visit our Web Health & Wellness page for more info.)