It’s been a busy week for WordPress. WordPress 5.3 finally saw its first beta released and it is jam-packed with great features and improvements. In this edition of WordPress Watch, I’ll highlight some of those features. And of course, I have a few bonus links for you as well. Let’s see what this new WordPress version is all about!
WordPress 5.3 Beta 1
The first beta of WordPress 5.3 has been released. And, it holds a lot of changes. I’ve covered quite a few of them in my WordPress Watch posts here, but I want to give you a short overview of what you can expect.
The Block Editor, or Gutenberg editor, has seen a steady output of releases every other week for the last couple of months. WordPress 5.3 will include the current state of Gutenberg, version 6.5, into core. And that’s a huge update. Just to give you an idea of all the changes, here’s an overview of the most interesting ones:
- Group block and grouping interactions
- Gallery block improvements (reordering inline, caption support)
- Accessibility Navigation Mode, which will allow you to navigate with the keyboard between blocks without going into their content.
- Columns block improvements (width support + patterns)
But that’s not all. With the inclusion of Gutenberg 6.5, the block editor will also see a significant bump in speed. Since WordPress 5.2, the team working on the block editor managed to shave off 1.5 seconds of loading time for a particularly sizeable post – think in the range of more than 35 thousand words.
No more unwanted time-traveling with WordPress
As mentioned here before, Andrey Savchenko took it upon himself to fix WordPress’ erratic behavior concerning how date and time are stored. Andrey’s fix made it into WordPress 5.3, so that makes for a lot more stability and no more unwanted ‘time-traveling’ with WordPress! Andrey wrote up exactly what was changed and how that may impact you.
New Admin Email Verification Screen
WordPress 5.3 will also introduce a new admin email verification screen that will be shown every six months after an administrator has logged in. WP Tavern covered this new feature recently and if you’d like to know more about it, I encourage you to read it.
Even more improvements and new features
You might think that the features mentioned above, combined with the inclusion of the new default Twenty Twenty theme, are already enough to constitute a new major WordPress release. And perhaps you’re right, but there’s more. A lot more actually. You can check out all the new features and improvements in the announcement post for WordPress 5.3 Beta 1.
With the first beta of WordPress, we also got our hands on the new default theme Twenty Twenty. Justin Tadlock over at the WP Tavern wrote extensively about what it looks like and how it works, so do check it out if you’re curious what it will look like. I do have to say, Twenty Twenty is the first default theme in a very long time that has me excited about a default theme.
- Yoast SEO releases a new version every other week, and we’ve talked about why we do that. It’s good to see more and more plugins are releasing faster. MailPoet’s CTO explains the reasoning and overall benefits on why they do it.
- Felix Arntz published an interesting post on using how to use CSS Custom Properties for better UX in Frontend and Gutenberg.
- With Gutenberg’s new and upcoming features in mind, WP Tavern published an interesting view on the future of WordPress Themes.
- ACF Blocks v1.6 was released. It includes a useful new Scrollable Image Block you can use it to display your portfolio.