The new WordPress 5.3 Update expands and refines the block editor introduced in WordPress 5.0. With a new block, more intuitive interactions, and improved accessibility. New features in the editor increase design freedoms, provide additional layout options and style variations.
Eventually, allowing designers to complete control over the look of a site. This release also introduces the Twenty Twenty WordPress Theme giving the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. In the end, creating beautiful web pages and advanced layouts has never been easier.
Whether you’re a budding developer, a designer, or just like helping out, WordPress is always looking for people to help make it even better. Not forgetting, WordPress is created by a worldwide team of passionate individuals. Want to see your name in WordPress lights? Get involved here!
Why is the new WordPress 5.3 update useful?
The scope for this release is consistent with the 2019 objective of Matt Mullenweg to tighten the CMS. In order to enhance current features and functionality.
On 8 August 2019, the WordPress Executive Director, Josepha Haden revealed an overview and summary of the new WordPress 5.3 update. In addition, the main improvements that could be included in the upcoming updates. Such as;
- Grouping: support for dividing your page into a section
- Motion: support for visual motion when moving/arranging blocks
- Column patterns and widths: support for fixed column widths, and predefined layouts
- Big images: support for saving progress after a big image fails to upload
- Media accessibility: some fixes and a lot of polish as a result of the a11y audit
- PHP 7.4: support for the new version coming late in November
- And also: Build/Test updates, better administration of emails, and a lot of under the hood improvements
Who is WordPress 5.3 Update named after?
As can be seen, WordPress 5.3 Update, the newest version of the world’s most popular CMS has just been released. And surprisingly, this version is named after Rahsaan Roland Kirk, or simply “Kirk.” Not to mention, one of the topmost American jazz multi-instrumentalist.
It is packed with tons of new features to make WordPress cleaner, much more user-friendly & versatile. In addition, this update brings huge changes to Gutenberg’s block editor.
Moreover, it brings changes to the admin panel, new themes, as well as Quality-of-life improvements. Let’s take a look at some of the major updates that we think will positively affect your experience using WordPress.
A new built-in theme WordPress called Twenty Twenty ships with the newest version of WordPress 5.3. This theme also comes with a new Font, Inter, with varying widths.
What are the Features in WordPress 5.3 update?
In the first place, according to the development team, from this point on no more commits for any new enhancements or feature requests in this release cycle. In that case, only bug fixes and inline documentation.
Secondly, work can continue on enhancements/feature requests. However, not completed and committed by this point. And can be picked up for commit again at the start of the WordPress 5.4 development cycle.
Finally, Block Editors are a great new tool for building engaging content. With blocks, you can insert, rearrange, and style multimedia content with very little technical knowledge. Instead of using custom code, you can add a block and focus on your content. Learn More!
Here are the considerable features in the new 5.3 release;
1. Block Editor Improvements
Important to realize, this enhancement-focused update introduces over 150 new features and usability improvements. Including improved large image support for uploading non-optimized.
As well as, high-resolution pictures that are taken from your smartphone or other high-quality cameras. Combined with larger default image sizes, pictures always look their best.
On the other hand, accessibility improvements include the integration of block editor styles in the admin interface.
These improved styles fix many accessibility issues like;
- color contrast on form fields and buttons,
- consistency between editor and admin interfaces,
- new snackbar notices,
- standardizing to the default WordPress color scheme, and
- the introduction of Motion to make interacting with your blocks feel swift and natural.
For people who use a keyboard to navigate the dashboard, the block editor now has a Navigation mode.
This lets you jump from block to block without tabbing through every part of the block controls.
2. Expanded Design Flexibility
WordPress 5.3 adds even more robust tools for creating amazing designs.
- The new Group block lets you easily divide your page into colorful sections
- The Columns block now supports fixed column widths
- The new Predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced designs
- Heading blocks now offer controls for text color
- Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style for any block that supports this feature
3. Introducing Twenty Twenty Theme
As the block editor celebrates its first birthday, we are proud that Twenty Twenty Theme is designed with flexibility at its core.
Show off your services or products with a combination of columns, groups, and media blocks.
Set your content to wide or full alignment for dynamic and engaging layouts. Or let your thoughts be the star with a centered-content column!
4. Developed for Developers
Gutenberg is available as part of the WordPress 5.3 update and later.
So to say, here are the components enjoyable by the WordPress Site Designers and Developers;
A. Date/Time Component Fixes
Developers can now work with dates and timezones in a more reliable way.
Date and time functionality has received a number of new API functions for unified timezone retrieval and PHP interoperability, as well as many bug fixes.
B. PHP 7.4 Compatibility
In reality, WordPress 5.3 aims to fully support PHP 7.4. This release contains multiple changes to remove deprecated functionality and ensure compatibility.
WordPress continues to encourage all users to run the latest and greatest versions of PHP.
5. Improvements for Everyone
Inter comes in a Variable Font version, a first for default themes, which keeps load times short by containing all weights and styles of Inter in just two font files.
Other notable improvements include;
A. Automatic Image Rotation
Uniquely, your images will be correctly rotated upon upload according to the embedded orientation data.
This feature was first proposed nine years ago and made possible through the perseverance of many dedicated contributors.
B. Site Health Checks
By the same token, the improvements introduced in 5.3 make it even easier to identify issues.
Expanded recommendations highlight areas that may need troubleshooting on your site from the Health Check screen.
C. Admin Email Verification
You’ll now be periodically asked to confirm that your admin email address is up to date when you log in as an administrator.
This reduces the chance of getting locked out of your site if you change your email address.
When is the release of WordPress 5.3 Update?
And now, of course, you can start looking forward to it. The official release date of the WordPress core was allocated on November 12, 2019. You are able to test on the beta version of WordPress 5.3 by downloading the plugin (WordPress Beta Tester).
However, you are strongly recommended to test it with your staging site or a testing site instead of your production site. Note that WordCamp US will be from November 1-3. And the US Thanksgiving holiday is November 28-29.
Both tend to involve travel for a number of people and reduced activity. Thus the schedule was crafted to allow ~2 weeks buffer from the target release date until Thanksgiving week.
Given the effort that goes into a major release, WCUS, and the end-of-year holidays it is safe to assume that activity on the core will slow dramatically. Especially, after the new WordPress 5.3 release until January 2020. From the WordPress Dev team; “enjoy that downtime and thank you all for your contributions”!
Who are the People behind WordPress 5.3 update?
Above all, to get involved in WordPress core development, head on over to Trac and pick a 5.3 ticket. Need help? Check out the Core Contributor Handbook. Get your patches done and submitted as soon as possible. And then help find people to test the patches and leave feedback on the ticket.
Be that as it may, patches for enhancements will not be committed after the dates posted above. So, that means we can all focus on squashing bugs and deliver the most bug-free WordPress ever.
Unfortunately, WordPress 5.3 will be the final major release of 2019 and aims to polish current interactions and make the UIs more user-friendly.
All in all, the people behind the design, development, and management of the new release include;
- Matt Mullenweg is the Release Lead for 5.3,
- Francesca Marano is the Release Coordinator,
- David Baumwald is the Triage PM,
- Riad Benguella is the Editor Tech Lead,
- Mark Uraine is the Editor Design Lead,
- Andrew Ozz is the Core Tech Lead,
- Anders Norén is the Default Theme Design Lead,
- Ian Belanger is the Default Theme Wrangler,
- Justin Ahinon is the Docs Coordinator,
- JB Audras is the Accessibility Lead,
- Mike Reid is the Marketing Lead, and
- Mike Schroder is the Media Focus Lead.
In fact, all release decisions will ultimately be theirs to make and communicate. While at the same time, gathering input from the community.
Furthermore, there will be a new bundled theme included in 5.3.
I hope the above-revised guide was helpful towards your WordPress editing strategy. However, if you’ll have additional Contributions, Suggestions, Support Guides, Personal Experiences or even further Questions, please Contact Us.
Furthermore, your Generous Donations will be highly appreciated. In regards to this topic, consider the links provided below as useful and related too.
- How to Use the New WordPress Block Editor (Gutenberg Tutorial)
- WordPress 5.3 “Kirk” Comes With New Default Theme
- Twenty Twenty: An Introduction to the New Default WordPress Theme
- Getting Started with WordPress Classic Editor
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