New Features & Update Precautions
First Update of 2020
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Under The Hood – Dev. Features
Detailed Video – WP Beginner
Summary & Precautions
WordPress 5.4 is Being Released: New Features and Precautions
WordPress powers more than 35% of ALL websites on the internet and when a new version is released, it comes with new features as well as the risk of breaking your site due to plugin conflicts. Proceed with caution and reach out if you need assistance or have any questions.
What features are in the WordPress 5.4 update, the first major update of 2020?
As a user, you’ll see new blocks and enhancements in the block editor, new embeds, and improvements in the WordPress Admin experience. Bug fixes and performance improvements from Gutenberg versions 7.6 will also be part of the 5.4 update.
As a developer, you’ll see 122 enhancements and feature requests, 210 bug fixes, and more!
Of course, all those improvements mean code changes, which could in turn require you to make updates to your site, plugins, or theme. This comes with some risk, so be sure to take caution before updating.
My personal suggestions include:
- Back up your site and download a copy offline
- Update your theme
- Update & then deactivate all plugins
- Put your site in a brief maintenance mode to be safe.
- Once you update WP, then activate each plugin, one-by-one, checking for potential conflicts.
If you’d like to follow the WordPress Core Development suggestions when testing the new update, refer below.
Have a safe updating!
You can test the WordPress 5.4 release candidate in two ways:
New Blocks in WordPress 5.4
The Block Editor Improvements
WordPress 5.4 is focused around improving the block editor by including new features and extending the existing blocks.
This is great news for content creators as they will now be able to do more with blocks inside the content editor.
The New Welcome Guide Modal
WordPress 5.4 will come with a new welcome guide popup to introduce new users with the block editor. It is a simple slide-show that explains blocks, points users to the block library, and a link to block editor tutorial. You can also relaunch the guide by clicking on the three-dot menu on the top-right corner of the edit screen and then selecting Welcome Guide.
Social Icons Block
Social Icons block allows you to easily add links to social media profiles inside your WordPress posts and pages.
You can then add social media icons by clicking on the add button and adding an icon. You can also click on an icon to provide a link to your social media page.
Note: These social media icons just allow you to add links to your profiles. For social sharing, you would still need a WordPress social media plugin.
Also Note: In WordPress 5.4, the core block editor will not recognize any Social Icons blocks built before Gutenberg 7.5.
There are two ways to deal with this:
(Recommended method) Manually migrate any content with old Social Icons. Here’s how: load a post in the block editor (Gutenberg 7.5 or higher) and save it. The block editor will automatically update its contents. Keep the Gutenberg plugin installed after upgrading to WordPress 5.4. The plugin will give you manual backwards compatibility for the old Social Icons.
The button block will be replaced by the buttons block. The new buttons block now allows you to add more than one button side by side.
You can choose from two different styles, use your own text and background colors, and add gradient background colors as well.
WordPress 5.4 will come with many improvements to the WordPress block editor as well as individual blocks. This new block is a collection of buttons, because authors often need to use several at a time (for instance: download and read more buttons).
The buttons block shows each button as an individual button-block child of the Buttons block. You won’t be able to insert a button block outside Buttons, but your existing button blocks will work the way they always have.
In case you were using the button block as part of a template or a system that automatically inserted a button block, you’ll want to use the Buttons block with a nested button instead.
Plus, here’s some good news: you won’t need to migrate your existing button blocks. They’ll just work — again, as they always have.
More Color Options for Blocks
WordPress 5.4 will introduce more color options for the cover, group, and column blocks.
Cover block colors
You can also choose background and text colors for all the blocks inside a group block.
Group color settings
Similarly, you’ll also be able to select background and text colors for the columns block.
Drag and Drop to Upload Featured Image
Currently, you cannot just drag and drop an image to set it as a featured image. WordPress 5.4 will allow users to simply drag and drop an image to the featured image section.
Change Text Color Inside Paragraph Block
Previously, you were only able to change text color for the entire paragraph block. With WordPress 5.4 users will be able to simply select any text inside a paragraph and change color.
Select text color in the paragraph block
Users will be able to add a caption below a table block.
Fixed Block Toolbar on Mobile
Currently, if you had to edit a blog post using a mobile device, then you’ll notice the toolbar move around blocks as you write.
WordPress 5.4 fixes this with a floating toolbar at the top which changes depending on the type of block you are currently editing.
Block toolbar on mobile screens
WordPress 5.4 allows you to easily choose a size for all images in the gallery.
Improved Latest Posts Block
Coming with WordPress 5.4, users will be able to display featured images in the latest posts block.
Easily Select Blocks
WordPress 5.4 will include a select tool that will allow users to easily select a block that they want to change. This will come in handy when you have nested blocks like a group or columns.
The TikTok Embed Block
WordPress 5.4 will come with an embed block to easily add TikTok videos in your WordPress posts and pages.
Under The Hood - Dev Improvements
WordPress 5.4 will bring significant improvements for developers. The following are some of those under the hood changes.
WordPress 5.4 will change the HTML output for the Calendar widget. It moves the navigation links to a <nav> HTML element right after the <table> element in order to produce valid HTML. (#39763)
A new apply_shortcodes() function will be introduced as an alias to the do_shortcode() function. (#37422)
Some unused customizer classes will be formally deprecated in WordPress 5.4. (#42364)
In WordPress 5.4, the Button component for WordPress admin area design has been enhanced with several changes and additions. (Details Here)