WordPress 5.4 will be the first major release of 2020 and aims create a block for navigation menus and update Gutenberg to the latest release version as we continue to focus in 2020 on full site editing via Gutenberg.
As a user, you’ll see new blocks and enhancements in the block editor, new embeds, and improvements in the WordPress Admin experience.
As a developer, you’ll see enhancements and feature requests, bug fixes, and more! Of course, all those improvements mean code changes, which could in turn require you to make updates to your site, plugin, or theme.
Block Editor: features and improvements
WordPress 5.4 Core will merge ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin. This means there’s a long list of exciting new features. Here are just a few:
- More color options for Button, Cover, Group and Column blocks .
- A Welcome Guide modal.
- Tools for adding featured images in the Latest Posts block.
- Easier navigation in the block breadcrumbs.
- On mobile, the toolbar stays on top, so you can’t lose it.
- Easier image sizing in the Gallery block.
- Drag-and-drop images into the featured-image box.
- Several new APIs.
- Friendlier offline error messages on REST API request failures.
- Table block captions.
- You can now color just parts of the text in any RichText block.
The block editor team has achieved a 14% loading time reduction and 51% time-to-type reduction, for a particularly sizable post (~ 36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) since WordPress 5.3.
This new block lets users link to social media and other popular websites by using those sites’ logos. Initially called Social Links.
This new block is a collection of buttons, because authors often need to use several at a time (for instance: download and read more buttons).
The buttons block shows each button as an individual button-block child of the Buttons block. You won’t be able to insert a button block outside Buttons, but your existing button blocks will work the way they always have.
In case you were using the button block as part of a template or a system that automatically inserted a button block, you’ll want to use the Buttons block with a nested button instead.
Plus, here’s some good news: you won’t need to migrate your existing button blocks. They’ll just work — again, as they always have.
Blocks Accessibility Improvements
- Easier multi-block selection.
- Support for changing an image’s title attribute within the Image block.
- Easier tabbing. This had been one of the editor’s biggest accessibility problems, but now tabbing works with the block’s sidebar.
- Visual switch between Edit and Navigation modes and enable screen reader announcements.
Since WordPress powers 34% of the world’s websites, there must be a focus on security. This is why contributors continue working so hard on the Site Health Project.
WordPress 5.4 adds a widget on the dashboard that warns administrators of potential issues that could affect their site’s performance or security. A call-to-action button directs them to the Site Health screen for details and suggested fixes.
WordPress Accessibility Improvements
WordPress strives to improve accessibility with every release, and this release is no different. Version 5.4 will contain the following accessibility enhancements:
- Better focus management in Menu, Customizer and Site Health screens, to fix some existing keyboard navigation issues.
- Easier keyboard navigation for better semantics in the Media modal.
Target date for release of WordPress 5.4 is March 31, 2020. So take a look through the WordPress 5.4 Field Guide, and see what’s relevant to you, among the many improvements coming in 5.4.
Need help with updating your WordPress website? Contact us for a complimentary site review.