WordPress 5.2 Beta 1

WordPress 5.2 Beta 1 has just been made available from wordpress.org.

The release of WordPress 5.2 is planned in just one month’s time – on April 30. 2019.

There are some nice improvements in store for this upcoming release.

The Block Editor

The block editor has received significant performance improvements since WordPress 5.1, cutting 35% down on the load time for very large posts, and reducing keypress time by almost 50%.

‘Keypress time’ indicates how responsive it feels when typing.

Continued accessibility improvements

The block editor now supports your browser’s reduced motion settings.

The post URL slug has better labelling and help text.

The focus styling for keyboard navigating through landmarks is clearer and more consistent.

There are a variety of new speak messages, and existing messages have been tweaked for more useful screen-reader behaviour.

New blocks:

Several new blocks have been added in WordPres 5.2 Beta.

  • An RSS block
  • An Amazon Kindle embed block
  • A Search block
  • A Calendar block
  • A Tag Cloud block

To help keep track of these blocks, and only show the ones you need, there’s a new block management tool to switch blocks on and off.

There are tonnes of bug fixes and improvements in the block editor.

Read more about them in the Gutenberg plugin releases: 4.95.05.15.2, and 5.3.

The WordPress Mobile Apps

The block editor isn’t just for websites, either.

The WordPress mobile apps now include an experimental version of a built-in block editor.

This is still under development, but try it out here:

https://make.wordpress.org/mobile/2019/02/26/the-block-editor-is-coming-to-the-mobile-apps/

Site Health Check

Site Health Check is an ongoing project aimed at improving the stability and performance of the entire WordPress ecosystem.

The first phase of this project (originally scoped for WordPress 5.1) is now included in WordPress 5.2.

For the first time, WordPress will catch and pause the problem code, so you can log in to your Dashboard and see what the problem is (#44458).

Before, you’d have to FTP in to your files or get in touch with your host.

In addition, a new Health Check tool has been added to the Dashboard.

Go to the Tools menu and click on Health Check to get information that can help improve the speed and security of your site.

PHP Version Bump

With this release, WordPress will increase its minimum supported PHP version to 5.6.

To help check if your WordPress website is prepared for this change, WordPress 5.2 will show you a warning and help you upgrade your version of PHP, if necessary.

For Developers

  • Plugins can now specify the minimum version of PHP that they support, so you can safely modernise your development practices without risking breaking your users’ sites. (#40934)
  • We’ve added the sodium_compat library, which provides backwards compatibility for the Sodium-based cryptography library added in PHP 7.2. (#45806)
  • There’s a new release of Dashicons, the WordPress Dashboard icon font. There are 25 new icons for you to use! (#41074)
  • You can now pass a label to get_search_form(), improving accessibility. (#42057)

There have been 130 tickets closed in WordPress 5.2 so far, with numerous small bug fixes and improvements to help smooth your WordPress experience.

Keep your eyes on the Make WordPress Core blog for developer notes (which are assigned the dev-notes tag) in the coming weeks detailing other changes in 5.2 that you should be aware of.

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