With the release of the first release candidate comes the technical documentation of the new version’s new features.
Hello, I’m Javier Casares, and you’re listening to WordPress Podcast, bringing you the weekly news from the WordPress Community.
You’ll find updates from October 16th to 22nd, 2023.
After 3 weeks of beta updates for WordPress 6.4, including both what’s new and what was left out, WordPress 6.4 RC 1 is now available for download. This comes with a lot of behind-the-scenes technical documentation, which often proves more critical than what’s readily apparent.
And, in no particular order, some of the updates include:
Block Hooks for dynamic blocks, which extend block themes. This is an initial step to mimic the extensibility system of classic themes. Importantly, users will now have the ability to alter the default behavior set by the theme.
WordPress core’s browser tests now operate with Playwright. This means that all End-2-End, performance, and visual regression tests are now conducted using this new system, making it easier for developers to create simpler and more efficient unit tests.
A new API has been introduced, allowing for the addition of new categories in Media. Developers can now add features like the already-existing Openverse. This system lets you manage categories but not modify the pre-existing ones in WordPress’s core.
Some components have been updated. For instance, Popovers can now be utilized anywhere, Tooltips and Panel tabs have been rewritten, Modals come with new features, and there’s improved consistency and control in the interface.
A new function to manage notification messages in the admin panel has been introduced, which will unify messages. Using these new “admin_notice” functions, you can retrieve all messages and generate new ones across 4 levels: success, info, warning, and error.
A change that could impact SEO is the handling of attachments. New installations will, by default, disable attachment page links, so newly uploaded attachments won’t link out.
A feature enhancing security and site performance is the improved method of script loading. The usage of ‘defer’ or ‘async’ has been optimized, allowing plugins to choose the desired loading method.
In the editor, besides significant changes, new enhancements have been added like theme.json support for background images, fluid typography with max and min viewport sizes, control deactivations, and stabilization of features introduced in the previous version.
Template loading gets better with new registration functions, removal of certain file validation, and faster folder search performance.
Speaking of performance boosts, object caching has seen substantial improvements, especially with “notoptions” optimization and improvements in WP_Query and WP_Term_Query caching.
Regarding options, new functions have been integrated that load multiple options with just one call. This enables plugins that store vast amounts of separate information to retrieve all of it with a single request.
Image optimization processes continue with enhancements in lazy-load and fetchpriority. Work has also begun on decoding-async and attribute control.
Another WordPress-wide change is shifting from manual style loading to style function usage, allowing other plugins or developers to tap into CSS optimization.
The login and registration screen has changed — not visually, but its HTML code has been optimized, also enhancing accessibility.
Introduced in WordPress 6.2, the HTML API continues to see improvements, like accessing content around images or breadcrumb trails. Improved class usage is another addition.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for WordPress 6.4. This release candidate still has two more versions before all new components are finalized and revised, plus any last-minute enhancements found.
As is typical with release candidate openings, the path to WordPress 6.5 begins with the Alpha branch for its development and whatever features didn’t make it into the upcoming major release.
The CLI team has announced their next WP-CLI Hack Day! set for Friday, November 10th, starting at 0800 Universal Time. They aim to close 20 pull requests worked on throughout the event.
The Plugins team has asked all Directory-involved teams, especially Meta, to collaborate on changes.
After chaos erupted from plugin previews using Playground, many users approached the Plugins team — not Meta — with questions, even though they had no control over that platform segment.
Now, any Directory of Plugins improvement or change needs to be reported to the plugin review team, so they can anticipate potential user feedback or suggestions.
The Themes team created a guideline in 2015 ensuring all themes used the Customize API, standardizing theme customization. But with block themes on the horizon, questions arise: Should a new standard be developed? Should the old one be discarded? What’s best for users?
Following recent tests, Meta has made the new Showcase available to the public at [wordpress.org/showcase].
The Support Team has released an update to their guidelines, meaning that all those who moderate the forums will need to follow them.
The changes focus on two main elements.
The first pertains to commercial products. Starting October 16, 2023, any comments, or proposals for moderation that reference anything that happens after the purchase process of a premium product will not be supported on WordPress.org. Only products that can be purchased from the system will be able to accept comments about this process, but not beyond that.
The other change is about accounts. Initially, everyone can have their own WordPress.org account, but it’s allowed for a company to have its own account to provide support for its product corporately.
The Community Team continues to work on the technical architecture for the new events. Until now, WordCamp followed a format like [location.wordcamp.org], but the idea is to transition to a format like [events.wordpress.org/location/year/event-type].
Another feature being proposed is the automation of surveys for attendees, which would be sent out automatically 2 days after the conclusion of the event. This system would also apply to the organizers.
A preview has also been presented, still in development, of the new page where all WordPress events will be centralized.
As WordPress 6.4 approaches, various projects like BuddyPress are also receiving updates.
On one hand, we have version 11.3.2, which is a security release. Therefore, everyone on the 11.x branch should upgrade to this new version, although updates for branches 7, 8, 9, and 10 have also been released.
But that’s not the only new development. There’s also version 11.4.0 beta 1, which introduces the Admin Notifications Center.
Lastly, the date for State of the Word 2023 has been set. This year, it will be celebrated and broadcasted for the first time outside of the United States, in Madrid, Spain, on December 11th, starting at 1500 Universal Time.
Thanks for listening, and until the next episode!