WordPress 5.3 will be out in early November 2019.
It comes with a ton of improvements – specifically to the blocks editor (aka Gutenberg). For developers too, there’re some significant improvements under the hood.
If you’re subscribed to our email list, you know that we’ve been following this release closely.
Recently we took the WordPress Release Candidate for a spin. And looked at some features. In this article, we’ll explore the top new features coming in WordPress 5.3.
Sometimes you need to use a piece of content multiple times on a page. Sometimes even across pages.
For example, a call to action to signup for your blog’s updates.
Before reusable blocks, you had to either copy-paste the content. Or use those ugly shortcodes. Reusable blocks are here to change all that.
With WordPress 5.3, you can save any block as a reusable block. Then you can use this block, like any other block. Even on other pages.
Just as easily, you can make a block non-reusable. Or manage all reusable blocks in one page.
Introducing The Group Block
The block editor, introduced in WordPress 5.0 is a big improvement over the classic editor.
But it falls short when it comes to designing landing pages.
Try designing a banner area with a background image or a video and you’ll know what I mean. Yes, there’s a cover block. But it has its limitations.
That’s where the new group block can help.
As the name suggests this block groups other blocks. And you can do more with it. Such as:
- Add a background image or video with a transparent overlay.
- Set it to align wide or full width.
- Save it as a reusable block and use it on other pages.
Column Block Improvements
Column blocks help design modern, grid-based landing pages.
But, the columns in WordPress 5.2 aren’t very flexible. Every column in a row has the same width. With no option to make any changes.
WordPress 5.3 comes with flexible width columns. Designers can now change the column widths to create interesting designs.
Along with the group block, this creates a powerful tool for creating complex designs.
Miscellaneous Block Improvements
There are also quite a few improvements in the image, button, table and latest posts blocks.
The image and the table blocks will come with multiple styles. The button block will have a customizable border-radius.
The latest posts blocks will allow you to add excerpts as well as control the excerpt length.
You’ll also see a new social-links block in the editor.
Improved image optimization
WordPress is notorious at handling large images.
Larger images mean more load time. And also more processing and hosting resources.
Yes, you have an option to use third-party image optimization plugins. But with more people using mobile devices to capture photos and posting them online, it had to change.
WordPress 5.3 changes all that.
It comes with inbuilt improvements to handle and process large images. It also will be able to:
- Resume uploads, if something goes wrong during the process.
- Fix image rotation using EXIF data.
New Default Theme
WordPress 5.3 will ship with a new default theme. As a long-time WordPress user, it should be easy to guess its name.
Yes, it’s Twenty Twenty.
The theme has a central content column. This makes it great for a blog. But you can use group, column, and other content blocks to design a website for businesses too.
The theme comes with a variable font. All the font weights will come in two files. And save you a lot of server requests. Making your website faster.
Variable fonts only work with modern browsers though. Older browsers fall back to the default.
New Admin Dashboard Interface
The admin dashboard will also come with some improvements.
The focus will be on accessibility. Which means you should see more contrasting colors and better text legibility.
The dashboard login screen will come with a toggle option to show or hide the password.
Admin Email Verification
Before WordPress 5.3, you could change the admin email address without a restriction. This caused a lot of pain if the entered email was incorrect. But also, it posed a major security risk.
WordPress 5.3 makes it mandatory to verify the admin email address before changing it.
Improvements in Site Health Report
Introduced in 5.1, the site health report helps you keep your website secure and fast.
While previous versions showed the site health as a percentage, 5.3 will come with a few changes. Site health will no longer be a percentage. Instead, it will be a remark like Good or Needs improvement.
Improvements for developers
There are many under-the-hood improvements in WordPress 5.3. Let’s look at the major ones.
Previous WordPress versions used robots.txt to discourage search engines from indexing a website. WordPress 5.3 will use a page-level meta tag instead.
WordPress 5.3 will improve compatibility with the upcoming PHP 7.4.
It will also come with improved data and timezone functions. This will help developers use them better.
The scheduled release date of November 12th is not far now. And everyone is eager for WordPress 5.3.
This release has something for everyone – designers, developers, and users. The improvements in the block editor are a solid step towards becoming a full-fledged page builder.
But it’s not all editor focused. Improvements in accessibility, user interface, and code-level improvements mean this release is what everyone is looking forward to.