WordPress, the widely popular online blogging website rolled out its latest version WordPress 5.3 (Kirk) officially on 12th November 2019. As the last major WordPress release of the year, it packed up a bunch of important updates and improved features along with a new default theme(TwentyTwenty). Apart from those who access WordPress through a managed WordPress hosting service, users are required to manually update their website to get their hands on the new version. But do not update without completing the WordPress backup first.
What’s new with 5.3?
The new update has merged a large number of Gutenberg plugin releases into core- from 5.4 to 6.6 to be precise. This not only comes with enhanced features for both developers and users but also ensured performance improvement. The 5.3 version also includes updated Site Health Tool, the Admin User Interface, a better PHP 7.4 support, better ease of access and more! Let’s take a more detailed look at all the new, improved features that WordPress 5.3 is offering to its users.
Upgrade of Design and UI:
The changes in the user interface are not too drastic to be noticed right away. However, they complete the coherence of appearance of the admin area. The upgraded UI includes borders around the form areas, making them more noticeable. The admin area accessibility has also been improved to ensure a better user experience.
Improvements in Editing Experience:
The new version has improved the Block Editor majorly, thus elevating the editing experience with added features like the block appender, column width customization, layout picker for columns blocks, block navigation mode, inline image reordering in gallery blocks etc. Additionally, the block editor has undergone a few bug fixes and improvements like vertical alignment being supported by both the Columns block and the Media & Text block, resizing of cover block being possible and the addition of a new social links block.
The New Default Theme- TwentyTwenty:
Every year WordPress launches a new default theme named after the approaching year and this year too, there was no exception. The new theme TwentyTwenty has been created to milk the most benefits of the block editor on WordPress. Along with some really visually pleasing layouts for your content, the theme also comes with the Inter typeface which is ideal for headlines, as well as for providing a better reading experience, especially on smaller screens. The theme has no sidebar for the blog posts or pages as it is a single column theme. At the bottom however you can find the widget area.
Better Image Uploads:
Server timeouts while uploading a big image file on WordPress used to cause a lot of inconvenience on the earlier versions. With 53 however, the image creation process gets saved automatically and allows the user to continue the upload without any breakage. The new version of WordPress also uses EXIF metadata to address issues regarding image rotation, added to the original image by your camera or your phone.
Better Site Health Reports:
The version 5.2 of WordPress had introduced the feature of site health tool in order to keep a track of a website’s health and assist admins in website recovery in case of any technical difficulty. 5.3 has improved and altered this feature to a great extent on both sides of the feature. For instance, the site health grading has been removed since it proved to be way too ambiguous of a gradation, the recovery mails have been enhanced to provide more useful information for troubleshooting the website or getting help, the site health status test result filters have been added to enable developers filter through a finished status test output in order to extend a test result.
The “Show Password” Button:
WordPress 5.3 has also accommodated a “show password” button on the login page which makes typing complex passwords easier and also allows users to check if they have typed in their password correctly.
Some other minor improvements have also been included in this version, especially targeting developers. This version has made provisions to reduce search engine indexing, improve compatibility with PHP 7.4, store database as metadata on multisite, better level of functionality in terms of time zones and date handling etc. All of these added improvements will allow developers to increase the efficiency of their projects.