What's New In WordPress 5.6?

What’s New In WordPress 5.6?

WordPress 5.6 “Simone” has arrived and it has a bunch of new features. These features include updates to both the Block Editor and WordPress Core.

As the premium WordPress website developers in London, it is important for us to keep up to date with the latest trends, features and updates with WordPress. In this blog I will highlight all the newest changes and additions to WordPress 5.6.

What’s New with the Block Editor

The main 3 areas of the updates to the Block Editor are:

  • Blocks, Patterns, and UI Improvements
  • Block API V2
  • Additional Features and Improvements for Block Developers

Blocks, Patterns, and UI Improvements

There have been several improvements made to this area, like new block features, accessibility features and bug fixes, all done to improve the user’s experience of editing in WordPress. There has also been a number of updates to the Gutenberg plugin but that has been merged with the updates to the core.

Below I’m going to go over some of the main features in these areas.

Position Controls for Videos in Cover Block

This feature was previously only available on image backgrounds but with this new update it can now be used on video backgrounds too. These controls allow the user to move the focal point of the video and set a custom position.

Block Pattern Updates

  • ‘Large header and paragraph’ layout, text and colour have been updated
  • The heading of the ‘two columns of text’ now appears at the top above both columns.
  • The quote block now includes an image above the text and a separator below.
  • A new ‘block pattern category dropdown’ has been added to help the usability of finding patterns.

Support for Video Subtitles

For creating subtitles to videos, they should be done in WebVTT Format (Web Video Text Tracks Format). These can then be uploaded to your website and, which will then allow your viewers to choose which one of the subtitles are best for them.

Transform Multiple Selected Blocks into a Columns Block

With this latest WordPress update, you can now quickly transform multiple different blocks into columns. All you have to do is select your blocks, click the Block button (furthest left icon of the toolbar) and select Columns.

Background Patterns in Cover Block

With the Cover Block, you could previously have an image or video background, but now you can now have a background pattern. Upload your background pattern and then select ‘repeated background’.

Image Size Control Added to the Media & Text Block

In previous versions of WordPress, you would have to use the Image block in order to set a specific width and height to your images. With WordPress 5.6, you now have greater control of images within Media blocks and Text blocks, allowing you to set the width and height of your image in pixels.

Block API V2

Block API Version 2 is designed to enable blocks to render their wrapper element. There are also numerous different additions and features to support block developers in the latest WordPress 5.6:

Block Supports API

Allows block developers to add features to their blocks; like the colour, backgrounds, and font sizes.

createBlocksFromInnerBlocksTemplate API

The new ‘createBlocksFromInnerBlocksTemplate’ allows users to create blocks from the ‘InnerBlock template’.

Toolbar Components

  • ToolbarGroup Component
  • ToolbarButton and ToolbarItem Components
  • Core Block Patterns can now be disabled
  • Inline Image Editor can now be disabled
  • Reusable Blocks are no longer part of the @wordpress/editor package

Latest Features To The WordPress Core

Twenty Twenty-One: WordPress’ Latest Default Theme

WordPress marks every year by developing a brand new default Theme. The Twenty Twenty-One theme is focused on providing an eye-catching experience with soft colours and promotes a greater use of the block editor.

Auto-Updates for Major Releases

Automatic updates were released in an earlier version of WordPress but only for minor core updates. With the latest update, it now includes major updates too. This feature does have to be enabled to work, so don’t expect it just to work.

Site Health Changes in WordPress 5.6

WordPress 5.6 also makes changes and enhancements to the Site Health feature. These changes include the following:

Site Health Check Data Validation

The validator now checks issued responses for Site Health tests and will prevent the Site Health tool from causing errors or stopping any further control when an invalid response is issued.

Asynchronous Checks via REST Endpoint

The Site Health tool does a number of security tests that fall onto a number of categories; direct tests, running on page load, and async tests. Originally these tests were run with a call to admin-ajax.php but are now going to be using the new REST API endpoint. By moving to the new REST API, it means that the plugins and themes are able to use the REST endpoint and aren’t limited to Ajax actions for their health tests.

Application Passwords for REST API Authentication

‘Application Password’ is a system for adding authenticated requests to various WordPress APIs. These passwords are 24 characters long and include upper-case, lower-case, and numbers. They can be entered manually or automatically.

Better Support for PHP 8

In the latest PHP updates, PHP 8 has a ton of new features some of which are to break backward compatibility. With this new update in PHP, WordPress has worked hard to make WordPress 5.6 compatible with PHP 8.
Some PHP 8 Changes to Look Out For:
  • Named Parameters
  • Strict Type/Value Validations for Internal Functions
  • Stricter Type Checks for Arithmetic and Bitwise Operators