What's New in WordPress 5.4
Table of Contents
On March 31st, the latest version of WordPress was released, number 5.4 and named after Nat Adderley, an American trumpet player, continuing the tradition of naming WordPress releases after jazz players.
I had the honor to be involved once again as the release co-lead, in the role of coordinator. This was possible with the support of SiteGround, donating my hours to the project.
By now, depending on the settings of your auto-update function in the SiteGround user area, your version of WordPress should be updated to 5.4, so let’s check the most exciting new features from the WordPress end-user perspective.
Two new blocks
You can now add social media widgets in your post. By clicking on each icon you can add your link and show them inside a post.
The second one is the button block: now you don’t have to fiddle around with CSS to create your own buttons to use in those Call to Actions at the end of your sales page. Just add the button, or the buttons, you can have multiple inside the same block, adjust the settings (background color, text color, border width, link) and hit publish!
More Coloring options
You can now selectively color parts of a text within a block. Gradients were added to the button and cover blocks and you can now apply color options to Group and Columns blocks.
New WordPress installs now open the block editor in fullscreen mode by default for a distraction-free writing session. The W logo in the left corner is the shortcut to going back to the admin area, Posts list. If you want to switch off the fullscreen mode, click on the three small buttons to the right of your screen and unflag “Fullscreen Mode”.
Improved navigation and accessibility
It is now clearer to see what block you are using with block breadcrumbs: you will notice them on the very bottom of the screen.
With each new release, the block editor becomes more accessible for people that rely on screen readers or keyboard navigation to use WordPress. The tabbing across elements has been improved and your screen reader will tell you if you are un Edit or Navigation mode.
WordPress 5.4 has just been released, but the Core team is already working on preparing for the next two planned releases for 2020, 5.5 and 5.6. Josepha Haden, the WordPress.org Executive Director, wrote an update on the status of some upcoming projects and these are some of the features I am most excited about:
- A block directory, so you can discover blocks and easily install them on your website like you would do for plugins. This is an opportunity to experiment with blocks and think of new ways to organize and show your content.
- Support for blocks in the Customizer to make it easier to change the appearance of your website. This is another step towards full site editing via blocks. Endless possibilities!
- A navigation block that will allow you to add a menu inside a post or a page. For example, you could create a “Where to start page” with links to relevant sources that might help your visitor move around easily.
Passing the mic to you
What do you like the most about the new release? What are you excited about in terms of future features. Let us know in the comments!