WordPress 4.8, “Evans,” has been released. It's a bit of a stop-gap release, as I covered before. The most visible feature is the addition of several media widgets — for images, audio, video, and an enhanced text widget.
These new widgets will no doubt find broad usage and be valuable to end users.
The release also includes “link boundaries,” which fixes an issue that's long plagued me that has to do with escaping links. It'll probably be noticed only by power users of the editor, but that's okay!
Finally, the WordPress News widget has been expanded to include official meetups and WordCamps near the user that's logged in.
I was told 4.8 had “the lowest percent of new contributors for a release going back at least 17 releases.” I'm not sure what this indicates, other than the fact that it was definitely not a normal release, but it's something we'll want to keep an eye on, in case it becomes a trend.
My personal favorite thing about 4.8 is that it's the first time the core team put together a press kit and highlighted it in the release post. The kit includes screenshots, blurbs, and short videos of new features. While I think it has limited value for this particular release, I'm really excited for it once the bigger, splashier features come into play.
From here Gutenberg will continue to be the big focus for 2017 in an effort to improve the core editing experience. So far I like what I see, but I know they need a lot of fresh eyes to help contribute, test, and provide feedback. The Gutenberg project has its own Github repo, and to run it, you'll need to install Node.