Since its launch in last year’s November, WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” has been downloaded over 41 million times and counting. While the last major release of the year 2019 enhanced accessibility and expanded the block editor with several intuitive interactions, the development of version 5.4 is already underway to make the CMS even better.
As a result of the active development, the WordPress Core Team recently released WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 with a plethora of new features and improvements to give users a sneak peek into all the goodies version 5.4 will offer. Scheduled for release on March 31, version 5.4 will be the first major release of 2020 with a strong focus on refining the block editor for even better through several new features and improvements.
Let’s check out in detail what’s WordPress 5.4 will be offering to users!
The Block Editor Improvements
In WordPress 5.4, the block editor will not only load 14% faster but also will take 51% less time-to-type for a particularly sizable post (~ 36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks).
#The New Welcome Guide Modal:
WordPress 5.4 introduces new users to the block editor with a welcome guide popup. It is a simple slide-show that displays information about blocks, takes new users to the Block Library, and offers a link to block editor tutorial.
And if you want to relaunch the welcome guide popup, you just need to click the three-dot menu on the top-right corner and then choose the Welcome Guide.
#Two New Blocks:
Version 5.4 adds two new blocks to the library:
- Social Icons Block: This new block facilitates you to add links to your social profiles easily on any page or post. There are three styles to choose from – pills, logos, and default. All the social icons are available in their native colors and you can’t change their colors.
To add links to your favorite icons, all you need to do is click the + button.
- Buttons Group Block: Replacing the old Button block, the new Buttons block lets you add multiple buttons to your pages and posts side-by-side.
You can choose from two different styles: use text and background colors or add gradient background colors.
#More Color Options for Blocks:
WordPress 5.4 introduces more color options for the column, button, cover, and group blocks.
You can now set the colors of text and background for all the blocks inside a group block.
Likewise, you can choose colors for text and background inside the columns block.
#Drag and Drop to Upload Featured Image:
You can’t drag and drop an image to the featured image section in WordPress 5.3 but WordPress 5.4 allows you to drag and drop an image to set it as a featured image.
#Change Text Color Inside Paragraph Block:
In the current version of WordPress, you’re allowed to change the color of the entire paragraph block only. However, in WordPress 5.4, you can also change the color of selected text inside a paragraph.
#Caption Below Table:
If you often use the Table Block, this would prove to be quite handy to you. Now you can add a caption below the table to show additional information.
#Fixed Block Toolbar on Mobile:
Currently, when you type something inside a page or post on a mobile device, the toolbar moves around the block you’re editing in.
WordPress 5.4 offers a floating toolbar at the top to fix this. The new toolbar appears or disappears depending on the type of block you’re in.
#Easily Select Gallery Image Size:
In WordPress 5.4, you can choose the right size for all your images under Gallery settings.
#Improved Latest Posts Block:
In WordPress 5.4, you can also display featured images in the latest posts block.
#Easily Select Blocks:
Offering a select tool, WordPress 5.4 lets you easily select a block that you want to change. This feature will surely prove useful for nested blocks, like groups and columns.
#The TikTok Embed Block:
Given the growing popularity of TikTok, WordPress 5.4 comes with a TikTok embed block using which you can easily add videos from the popular video-sharing social networking service.
Since its release, the WordPress Core Team has been working hard to improve the accessibility of the CMS and as always, this version of WordPress will also bring several accessibility improvements to the Block Editor. These are:
- Easier selection of multiple blocks
- Tabbing now works with the block’s sidebar.
- You’ll be able to change the title of an image within the Image block.
- Now, you can visually switch between Edit and Navigation modes and have an option to enable screen reader announcements.
Accessibility Improvements in the Admin Dashboard
In addition to the Gutenberg editor, WordPress 5.4 also brings several accessibility improvements to the Dashboard:
- Better focus state management in the Customizer, Menu and Site Health screens fixes several issues in existing keyboard navigation.
- Better keyboard navigation in the Media modal provides better semantics.
Site Health Check Improvements
A new Site Health Check widget has been added to the Dashboard in WordPress 5.4. This widget gives you a quick overview of your site’s health and informs you about potential issues that could have a severe impact on the security and performance of your WordPress site.
As you can see, there is also a call-to-action button given to direct administrators to the Site Health screen where they can see their site stat in detail with suggested fixes.
That’s all about the upcoming features and improvements in WordPress 5.4!
Want to test out the WordPress 5.4 Beta 2? You can either use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or download the beta from here to play with it on your local PC.
And, if you’re looking for a reliable partner for any kind of custom WordPress development, feel free to contact us.