WordPress 5.3 (out November 12, 2019) introduces new features and improvements to the popular CMS, primarily centered on graphic improvements to the WordPress administration interface, technical improvements for developers, and the enhancement of the Gutenberg editor.
A new theme!
WordPress 5.3’s new theme is called Twenty Twenty and offers greater freedom in design and structure. Notably, a variable font and a more adaptable theme! This version of the theme is adapted to very different needs and there are many examples of sites that are already using it in Beta.
WordPress 5.3 also addresses many changes related to accessibility. Most notably among those were admin CSS changes, improvements in content forms in media libraries, the addition of the
aria-current="page" attribute on widgets that need it, an automatic addition of
aria-label attributes in certain navigation menus that need it.
Twelve new versions of Gutenberg editor
Twelve new versions of WordPress’s Gutenberg editor are now directly integrated into WordPress 5.3. The load time for a “large” article of more than 36,000 words or around 1,000 “blocks” currently loads in 1.5 seconds. Likewise, a new API is available for server-side management (i.e. PHP) of “blocks”. The block “group/section,” which lets you define different sections in a publication and, for example, to apply a single background and manipulate them together. Improvements in terms of the accessibility of the editor in order to correct problems identified by an independent accessibility audit of Gutenberg done in the spring of 2019, with, notably, the new “navigation” mode, that makes keyboard navigation easier. Improvements in the HTML/CSS generated by the editor names of classes, management of alignment, management of columns, management of colors, management of blocks, galleries, etc.
Optimization of media
Forty-two updates to WordPress media management have improved the ability of WordPress to handle large images, added the generation of maximally web-optimized versions of images, and made changes in the management of images that let users record metadata when thumbnails are created and even automatic reorientation of images to either portrait or landscape.
Out of fifteen changes to multisite management, the biggest ones have to do with database optimization, changes to do with
WP_MS_Sites_List_Table, a bug fix related to short circuits for multisite classes, and performance improvements in obtaining site information and site networks by ID.
Modern code and support for PHP 7.4
On Gandi Simple Hosting, PHP 7.4 will be available at the end of November or the beginning of December 2019 when PHP 7.4 is officially released.
Developments in REST API
With thirty-three developments, the main updates to the REST API in WordPress are in regards to metadata in object tables, filtering of responses grouped with the parameter
request_fields, being able to assign posts with “floating” publication dates (“floating date status”), and finally, a 30-40% improvement in performance on large REST API requests!
Improvements in the site health utility
The new version includes thirty-one improvements in site health monitoring with the main changes being to the grading indicator, recovery email enhancements, changes in the filters for adding/updating/deleting health status checks, and a new admin email verification screen.
With version 5.3, WordPress has added 157 improvements and new features and 366 bug fixes! A new theme, better accessibility, a better performing editor, improved media management, and optimized multi-site management, and more…
Find all the improvements on the WordPress website.
If you already have a WordPress site on Simple Hosting with Gandi, you should be invited directly to update your WordPress site from your WordPress admin page.
If you create a new WordPress site at Gandi, this will already include the latest version available.