What’s up, WordPress nation? As we all know, one of the best things about our favorite CMS platform is that it’s constantly evolving. Yes, it’s been months since the 5.2 version was released, but a brand new WordPress 5.3 update is to be officially released today, November 12th!
Needless to say, we’ve been actively contributing and carefully tracking the development of the 5.3 version.
As a company that always supports the Community, at DevriX, we’re pretty excited about the fresh updates and improvements. Besides the Block Editor improvements, here are the new things that you’re likely to experience in WordPress 5.3.
A Fresh Default Theme
The default Twenty Twenty theme is created with flexibility in mind. Now, you can integrate columns, groups, and media with dynamic layouts. The theme itself is based on the Chaplin theme, released to the WordPress.org theme directory several months ago. Of course, the Block Editor is fully supported in the Twenty Twenty theme.
Clarity and readability are also one of the focal points of the Twenty Twenty theme. A brand new typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson is included in the theme. It’s exceptionally readable, especially when used in larger headings.
Inter also comes in a Variable Font version, which includes all weights and styles of the typeface in just two font files. This reduces the number of browser requests and page size, which effectively improves the website’s performance.
Admin UI Updates
WordPress 5.3 also includes a redesigned admin interface. Here are several ways the admin interface has been improved:
- Buttons no longer have a box-shadow.
- Darker tables and meta boxes borders are established for a greater interface hierarchy between elements.
- Stronger color contrasts on form fields and buttons.
- Better content behavior on text zoom.
- Specific changes are made to form fields, notifications, tables, metaboxes, and color pickers.
Also, in prior versions, everyone complained about how WordPress handles larger images. Well, that’s about to change for the better. In the 5.3 version, Automattic has dealt with the problem successfully and now the Block Editor can easily manage and display high-resolution images.
A new big_image_size_threshold filter is available for managing the threshold size or disabling the new feature altogether. It allows WordPress to store the original image size so that it is still accessible using the following path: wp_get_original_image_path().
In WordPress 5.3, you can also effortlessly rotate the full-sized uploaded images based on the EXIF orientation.
Fresh and Enhanced Blocks
Several updates of the Gutenberg Editor have been merged into WordPress 5.3. If you haven’t used Gutenberg much, you’ll find lots of improvements and features in this version. Some of the more significant ones are:
Grouping Blocks Together
You can now add a Group block and start adding blocks inside the group. Or, you can drag and drop already created blocks into the group, and if you want, ungroup them.
In the group block, you can have a different background color, insert items before or after the group, and if you want, you can duplicate the group.
The Group block has a wp-block-group__inner-container for better image styling. That div can be used as a proxy for entry-content styles, allowing wide and full child blocks to appear as intended without modification.
Enhanced Image Block
The improved Image block now also allows you to style your images. You can choose from two styles: Default and Circle mask.
Improved Columns Block
You can choose a layout for your columns or change the width of each column directly from your Columns Settings.
Better Table Block
The Table block has been enhanced with several new features such as text alignment in columns, table header and footer, and background colors.
Improved Button Block
The Button block has been improved as well, and now it allows you to choose the border-radius yourself. You can also set the target and add rel attribute to the link, and open button links in a new window and make it ”nofollow” if necessary.
Improved Latest Posts Block
In WordPress 5.3, now you can also add excerpts to the latest posts block and manage the excerpt lengths as well.
Improved HTML Validation
This enhancement is concentrated on how script and style tags are coded. Before HTML5, using a “type” attribute to tell browsers that the script or style is text was mandatory. The HTML5 version has removed the need for the “type” attribute, which resulted in rendering invalid HTML for websites that continued to use the “type” attribute.
This is how WordPress announced what has altered regarding HTML validation and the “type” attribute in version 5.3:
In WordPress 5.3, two new arguments are now supported for the html5 theme feature, script, and style. When these arguments are passed, the type attribute will not be output for those tags.”
Type is no more required in style and script tags in HTML5. Now, the HTML Validator can start throwing warnings on the script and style tags that contain the types.
The Spread Operator
In WordPress 5.3, the PHP 5.6 spread operator can now help you simplify your code for improved website performance. The operator is introduced in several frequently used functions during page load, such as current_user_can() and add_query_arg().
For more details, you can visit the Trac ticket #47678.
Admin Email Address Verification
Because addresses are of huge importance, WordPress 5.3 made the verification obligatory. Now, from time to time, you’ll be asked to confirm that the admin email address is yours when you log in as an administrator. This reduces the risk of getting locked out of your site if your email address has been changed.
Additional Changes for WordPress Developers
As expected, WordPress 5.3 brings a few changes and improvements to WordPress developers too:
Time/Date Component Repairs: Developers can now safely use dates and timezones. Date and time functionalities now have several new API functions for unified timezone retrieval and PHP compatibility, along with numerous bug fixes.
PHP 7.4 Compatibility: The WordPress core team actively prepared the new version to be fully compatible with PHP 7.4. WordPress 5.3 includes several changes that eliminate out-of-date functionalities and ensure compatibility. However, you need to test the beta release with PHP 7.4 to ensure that everything works as expected
Summing Things Up
In general, we are delighted with the new features! We can group block in the editor, the fresh and enhanced default theme looks nice, and everything from Multisite management to admin UI has been further improved.
Most recently, at WordCamp Sofia 2019 we made sure we made our mark on the new version by submitting several patches and numerous translations to the Core.
— DevriX (@wpdevrix) November 9, 2019
We hope we have provided a useful preview of the updates in the WordPress 5.3 release. Let us know what new features you are excited about and what type of improvements you would like to see in the future.