WordPress 5.4 Field Guide

WordPress 5.4 is shaping up to be the best WordPress 2020 has seen!

As a user, you’ll see new blocks and enhancements in the blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. editor, new embeds, and improvements in the WordPress Adminadmin (and super admin) experience.

As a developer, you’ll see 122 enhancements and feature requests, 210 bugbug A bug is an error or unexpected result. Performance improvements, code optimization, and are considered enhancements, not defects. After feature freeze, only bugs are dealt with, with regressions (adverse changes from the previous version) being the highest priority. fixes, and more! Of course, all those improvements mean code changes, which could in turn require you to makemake A collection of P2 blogs at make.wordpress.org, which are the home to a number of contributor groups, including core development (make/core, formerly "wpdevel"), the UI working group (make/ui), translators (make/polyglots), the theme reviewers (make/themes), resources for plugin authors (make/plugins), and the accessibility working group (make/accessibility). updates to your sitesite (versus network, blog), pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party, or theme.

So take a look through this Field GuideField guide The field guide is a type of blogpost published on Make/Core during the release candidate phase of the WordPress release cycle. The field guide generally lists all the dev notes published during the beta cycle. This guide is linked in the about page of the corresponding version of WordPress, in the release post and in the HelpHub version page., and see what’s relevant to you and your users, among the many improvements coming in 5.4…

AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)

On the 14 updates related to Accessibility in 5.4, you’ll want to particularly note changes to the WordPress Admin Bar, to the calendar and recent comments widgets, on the Menu screen, and bugs reported by the WPCampus accessibility report.

Block Editor

The block editor has continued its rapid iteration since WordPress 5.0. Now it has GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ version 7.5 bundled with WordPress 5.4; that’s ten releases all bundled into WordPress 5.4 (versions 6.66.76.86.97.07.17.27.37.4  and 7.5)! Bug fixes and performance improvements from Gutenberg versions 7.6 will also be part of 5.4.

The WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 post highlights a lot of new features and improvements across these releases, though you’ll also want to note the impressive achievement of 14% loading-time reduction and 51% time-to-type reduction (for a particularly long post of ~36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) since WordPress 5.3.

Below you’ll find details on two new blocks, button component updates, block collections, default fullscreen mode for new installs/devices, custom keyboard shortcuts, general block editor APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. updates, new block variations API, a new gradient theme API, markup and style-related changes, and a new @wordpress/create-block package for block scaffolding.

CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.

On the 14 updates of the Customizer component, WordPress 5.4 improves accessibility of focused elements as a follow-up to WordPress 5.3 Admin CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets. changes, adds documentation of existing Customizer functions and hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same., removes apple-touch-icon-precomposed deprecated metaMeta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. tags, and improves Menu items selection logic.

Please note that some unused Customizer classes are now formally deprecated:

Menus

On the 5 updates in the Menus component, WordPress 5.4 improves keyboard accessibility of the Menu items selection tab panel and streamlines the user interface.

If your plugins add custom fields to menu items, you’ll want to update your code to use the new wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields hook:

Privacy

On the 15 updates in the Privacy component, you will want to specifically note:

  • Personal Data Export now includes Session Tokens, Community Events Location and Custom User Meta.
  • Personal Data Exports now include a JSONJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML. file and a Table of Contents
  • New filters for the headers of all Privacy-related emails
  • The privacy tables are improved for a cleaner interface
  • wp_get_user_request_data() function was replaced with wp_get_user_request() for better clarity

All those changes are in this dev notedev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include: a description of the change; the decision that led to this change a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase.:

REST APIREST API The REST API is an acronym for the RESTful Application Program Interface (API) that uses HTTP requests to GET, PUT, POST and DELETE data. It is how the front end of an application (think “phone app” or “website”) can communicate with the data store (think “database” or “file system”) https://developer.wordpress.org/rest-api/.

On the 22 updates related to the REST API, WordPress 5.4 now supports “OR” taxonomyTaxonomy A taxonomy is a way to group things together. In WordPress, some common taxonomies are category, link, tag, or post format. https://codex.wordpress.org/Taxonomies#Default_Taxonomies. relation parameter in Post Controller, adds selective link embedding and introduces some changes in the WP_REST_Server method. Read below for more details on these updates:

Shortcodes

On the 3 updates to the Shortcodes component, WordPress 5.4 introduces documentation improvements and a new function: apply_shortcodes. This function is an alias of do_shortcode, which is still supported.

Widgets

On the 9 updates to the Widgets component, WordPress 5.4 introduces accessibility and user interface enhancements on the Widgets Admin screen and changes in the Recent Comments and Calendar Widgets HTMLHTML HyperText Markup Language. The semantic scripting language primarily used for outputting content in web browsers. markup.

Other Developer Updates

There are even more goodies in 5.4, like the new wp-env (a zero config tool for painless local WordPress environments), enhancements to favicon handling, better information about errors in wp_login_failed, a new site ID in multisitemultisite Used to describe a WordPress installation with a network of multiple blogs, grouped by sites. This installation type has shared users tables, and creates separate database tables for each blog (wp_posts becomes wp_0_posts). See also network, blog, site’s newblog_notify_siteadmin filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks https://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Hooks. They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output., a new TikTok video embed and removal of the CollegeHumor embed, storing the original URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org of media attachments in _source_url post meta, improved accessibility by loading the Admin Bar with wp_body_open, avoiding duplicate IDs in the Recent Comments widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user., a new parameter in the lostpassword_post action in retrieve_password(), theme headers supporting “Requires at least” and “Requires PHPPHP The web scripting language in which WordPress is primarily architected. WordPress requires PHP 5.6.20” declarations, and the delete_posts capability won’t trigger PHP notices for custom post types. Read through the dev notesdev note Each important change in WordPress Core is documented in a developers note, (usually called dev note). Good dev notes generally include: a description of the change; the decision that led to this change a description of how developers are supposed to work with that change. Dev notes are published on Make/Core blog during the beta phase of WordPress release cycle. Publishing dev notes is particularly important when plugin/theme authors and WordPress developers need to be aware of those changes.In general, all dev notes are compiled into a Field Guide at the beginning of the release candidate phase. below to see details on all these changes coming in 5.4.

But Wait, There is More!

Over 198 bugs, 121 enhancements and feature requests, and 8 blessed tasks have been marked as fixed in WordPress 5.4. Some additional ones to highlight include:

  • Bootstrap/Load: Enhancementenhancement Enhancements are simple improvements to WordPress, such as the addition of a hook, a new feature, or an improvement to an existing feature. to favicon handling (#47398)
  • Bundled Theme: Twenty Twenty: Add social icon for WhatsApp (#49098)
  • Comments: Add “In response to …” before threaded comments in comment feed (#43429)
  • Comments: Add “in reply to” in comment moderation email notification (#43805)
  • Embeds: Embed support has been added for TikTok (#49083) (Gutenberg#19345)
  • Embeds: Removal of CollegeHumor embed as the service doesn’t exists anymore (#48696) (Gutenberg#18591)
  • Login and Registration: Clearer information about errors in wp_login_failed (#49007)
  • Login and Registration: new parameter passed into the lostpassword_post action in retrieve_password() (#38334)
  • Networks and Sites: Site ID has been added to the newblog_notify_siteadmin filter for multisite installs (#48554)
  • Networks and Sites: switch_to_blog() and restore_current_blog() reuse switch_blog action (#49265)
  • Media: store the original URL of the attachment in the _source_url post meta value (#48164)
  • Menus: Make tabs panels more accessible for keyboard users (#49211)
  • Posts, Post Types: Use delete_posts without triggering PHP notices in every post type (#30991)
  • Post Thumbnails: Make sure get_post_thumbnail_id() returns an integer, to match the documented return value (#40096)
  • REST API: Expose all theme supports and changed permissions in /themes endpoint (#49037)
  • Site Health: Theme headers support “Requires at least” and “Requires PHP” declarations (#44592)
  • Toolbar: The Admin Bar is now loaded with wp_body_open when available (#47053)
  • Widgets: Avoid duplicate IDs in Recent Comments (#46747)

Please, test your code. Fixing issues helps you and helps millions of WordPress sites.

Props to @jeffpaul and @marybaum for contributing to this guide.

#5-4, #field-guide