Here Are the Exciting New Changes in WordPress 5.6

Written by Pressable on

With over 75 million websites built using WordPress, there’s no doubt that you’ll likely be using it when you want to build a website. The platform has a lot of features for you to use, and will even allow you to create unique and personalized websites with the plugins that it provides. Those aren’t the only reasons for people to find WordPress so alluring. 

The platform also keeps itself updated, providing new and exciting features for its users. Most people even consider WordPress 5.6 to be a game-changer for both casual users and dedicated web developers. To learn all about what’s new in the latest update, read what we’ve prepared for you below.

The Twenty Twenty-One Theme

The first notable change you’ll come across is WordPress’s new default theme, the Twenty Twenty-One. At first glance, you’ll immediately see that it features minimalist aesthetics, only having a layout with a single column running through the page. It also includes a footnote sidebar which you can use for endnotes to keep the page looking professional.

The color palette for the theme revolves around pastel colors. This is a design choice made from the rising popularity of pastel colors among people nowadays. This alone will help you out when developing a website as it will look more attractive to visitors.

What’s great is that the new default theme is built upon an existing theme, the Seedlet theme. This theme featured a clean and organized structure centered around the CSS framework. With how much of its properties the theme uses, it makes it easier for you to create child themes through Twenty Twenty-One.

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This is where the theme truly shines. This feature allows you to experiment with the available themes without worrying about it affecting the current one on your website. This allows for even more personalization and customization, even for those only learning about WordPress now. 

This way, business owners can create their brand’s identity and establish it through their website. It’s an important step in building a business that people will set apart from the rest. It’s also key in helping businesses generate more leads nowadays. 

With easier ways of creating child themes, the risk of messing up their website’s code becomes reduced. It means definitive uptime, allowing more leads and conversions to happen on the website. Along the line, this will also help increase the website’s SEO score. 

Upgrades to the Block Editor

Throughout the previous WordPress updates, the Gutenburg block editor plugin received a lot of attention. Now, with the latest update, the plugin merged with WordPress’s core. Along with other improvements to the editor, users and writers will have an easier time using it.

The UI of the editor has become much more intuitive in the new WordPress update. Tons of new features –  including the drag and drop functionality – allow users to add and remove elements to the blocks. This means it’s easier for you to integrate different media like videos or text onto your blocks.

Block patterns are also improved to allow users to build complex content structures onto their pages. This is important if users want to avoid having too much blank space on their pages.

A new dropdown tab allows you to switch between the different block patterns with ease. There’s even a new block pattern, the Heading and Paragraph pattern, in the new update. It’s a great way to move your content around to see which one you think your readers will respond well to.

The Quotes pattern also gets a small change that improves the page’s design. The block pattern adds a small separator at the bottom of the image you’re setting up for a quote and is an easy way to add a page break to your post.

It also helps you customize your WordPress website and enhance the users’ viewing experience.

The block editor even gives you an easy way to add subtitles to your videos. Video blocks allow you to insert timed text tracks for your videos to enhance the visitor’s experience. All that’s needed is for the subtitle file to be in the WebVTT format for you to insert them into your videos.

Full Site Editing

What’s coming to WordPress 5.6? Full site editing is among the most awaited features by users. As the name suggests, this feature allows you to edit everything on a website. This includes individual posts and the templates that the posts use.

The goal of this feature is to allow complete page creation. The user will have full control over everything that’s on the site. This includes the Site Title and Tagline, what the Menus contain, and even the different elements of any post use. 

It allows websites to have a uniform feel to them once a visitor enters and browses it. It’s important to note that the feature only works when using Gutenberg blocks. Thanks to the update, though, it’s easier for you to get into learning and using Gutenberg.

Shutterstock Integration

Another feature that’s still awaiting full release to WordPress is Shutterstock integration. A long-standing issue in WordPress is that it’s hard to find great images to use on the platform. Looking up images on Google often results in blurry images or ones that are too big or small for the page.

The WordPress-Shutterstock integration is the solution to that problem. It gives users access to millions of images to use for their websites. What’s better is that Gutenberg also allows you to manipulate the images you use.

You can resize them to thumbnail, medium, or large. You can also set them to be in their full sizes with a simple click. 

PHP 8 Support

Among the new WordPress features on the update, PHP 8.0 support has to be one of the best. This means that users will be able to use this scripting language easier on the platform. It’s a blessing to be able to use PHP as it’s one of the easier languages to understand.

It’s also among the most diverse scripting languages out there today. You can use this to create interactive and dynamic content for your website. You can also automate website processes, like interacting with visitors via chatbots.

What’s better is that PHP support on the platform means more personalized plugins. PHP is among the few languages that allow for easy plugin modification. 

Application Passwords for REST API

Application passwords are a new system shipped with the release of WordPress 5.6. This creates passwords on your behalf to give out to anyone who looks to access your content. Developers will find this a great feature to have as it allows for many applications.

It allows users to restrict access to only a select few people. It’s also great for when you’re looking to test out a website to a few visitors. It provides you with an easy way of letting them in without giving your actual password to the website.

If something feels amiss with one of the applicants, you can revoke their permissions. You still have full control over the access of whoever you gave passwords to. It’s a great way to help your website improve in the early stages without worries about security.

Auto-Update Feature for Major Releases

One of the core features of the new WordPress update is the auto-update feature. This was already present before, but it only allowed for minor WordPress updates. Now, users can opt in to have a major update also automatically downloaded. 

You can also leave it turned off if you want to manage updates yourself. It’s a common choice since most people fear their website going down during a busy time. 

If you want, you can even turn on automatic updates for security and maintenance features. This way, business owners are sure to help their companies grow and thrive on the Internet. This is all while they focus their time and resources on other aspects of their business.

Small QOL Changes for Developers

There are also some small quality-of-life changes aimed towards developers. Among these is the wp_after_insert_post hook. This allows devs to launch a custom line of code after publishing a post. It’s a great way to ensure metadata gets saved upon publishing a post.

Another small addition is the WP_Error Objects. Instead of handling them individually, you can merge similar errors into one. This makes it easier for you to handle errors and get them fixed faster than before.

Get Started with WordPress 5.6 Today

With there being tons of new features and changes in WordPress 5.6, you wouldn’t want to miss any of it. 

Now that you know what’s new in WordPress and are ready to get started, you’ll want to make sure each website is the best that it can be. Contact us here to make that happen. After all… Pressable is where WordPress works best!

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