With over 19 million downloads and counting, WordPress 5.1 “Betty was the first major release of the year. With a focus on making the CMS even better with a variety of new tools, version 5.1 fulfilled only some of the nine priorities that Matt Mullenweg had set for 2019. And now, to improve the CMS further, work on WordPress 5.2 is already underway.
Although version 5.2 is still under active development, the WordPress Core Team recently released WordPress 5.2 Beta 1 with a host of new user-facing features that are ready for testing. Targeted to release on April 30, WordPress 5.2 will be the second major release of 2019 with a strong focus on improving the Site Health Features and Block Editor.
Let’s check out in detail the new features and improvements coming to WordPress 5.2!
Site Health Check Improvements
Given that most of the WordPress errors are usually fatal errors that restrict users from accessing the Dashboard area, WordPress 5.2 brings a new recovery mode to site administrators, using which they will be able to access their Dashboard even when a fatal error occurs.
Now, in case of a fatal error, there will be a message displayed on your screen, saying “This site is experiencing technical difficulties”.
After that, WordPress will send you an email with a special login link, on clicking which you’ll be able to access your Dashboard and undo any changes right from there.
Additionally, the WordPress Core Team is going to add a new Health Check tool to your Dashboard, using which you’ll be able to get details on how you can make your WordPress site more secure and faster. You can find this new tool under the “Tools” menu in your Dashboard.
Updates to the Block Editor
The Gutenberg editor, which was introduced in WordPress 5.0, is also going to receive some new features and improvements. These include:
WordPress 5.2 not only shaves the editor load time for massive posts by 35% but also cuts the keypress time in half, providing users with a more responsive experience when they are typing.
Starting WordPress 5.2, the block editor will start supporting browser’s reduced motion settings as well as the post URL slugs will have better labeling and help text.
Also, the editor will facilitate a clearer and more consistent focus styling for keyboard navigating through landmarks. Furthermore, to improve the screen-reader experience, several new speak messages have been introduced as well as a lot of improvements have been made to existing speak messages to make them clearer.
Introduction of New Blocks:
Despite a number of different blocks already available in the Gutenberg editor, WordPress 5.2 is planning to bring several new blocks to make the editor even more powerful. These are:
- An RSS block
- An Amazon Kindle embed block
- A Search block
- A Calendar block
- A Tag Cloud block
Some of these blocks are already available as Widgets, but in version 5.2, you can use them in your pages and posts too.
The WordPress Mobile Apps:
With the release of WordPress 5.2, an experimental version of the block editor is coming to WordPress Mobile Apps having version 11.9 and above.
However, for your convenience, WordPress allows you to switch to the Classic Editor anytime.
A New Block Manager Tool
To facilitate you the better management of blocks, WordPress 5.2 offers you a new block management tool.
With this handy tool, you’ll be able to hide blocks that you use less often. Simply uncheck the blocks that you don’t want to use.
PHP Version Bump
In WordPress 5.2, the minimum supported PHP version will be 5.6.20 (which is still old in comparison to the current stable version of PHP, 7.3.2). However, the WordPress Core Team is planning to gradually increase the minimum PHP version requirement with future releases.
For websites using the older versions of PHP, WordPress 5.2 will show a notification saying that you are running an older version of PHP and need to update it.
So, these were the new features and improvements that are coming along with the WordPress 5.2 update. There are also changes that will mostly affect developers. You can find them all here.
Want to test out the WordPress 5.2 Beta? You can do the same either using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin or downloading the beta from here. And, if you’re planning to make your WordPress theme or plugin compatible with version 5.2, feel free to avail our WordPress Development Services.