WordPress is set to release WordPress 5.7 for the general public on Mar 9, 2021 which is this year’s first big release. From “opening the trunk” (including a tiny bit of code inside a directory in Subversion to notify of the next major release) on Nov 17, 2020 to releasing Release Candidate 2 on Mar 2, 2021 – the path is all paved out for the upcoming WordPress 5.7. Do you know the awesome changes they’re bringing this time? Keep reading to know about them as I try to simplify.
What are WordPress Releases?
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system that remains the simplest and most powerful way to build your own website or blog. The latest stats show WordPress to be powering over 40% of all websites on the Internet. The primitive WordPress was something to help create a blog rather than a fully operational website. But regular changes to the core code or different releases has now made it the way it is – an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.
Generally WordPress releases three major releases every year (this year there are four releases planned). The subsequent changes are then released in the same branch until a new major release comes out. 2020, the year of the coronavirus, for example, saw releases of 5.4 (Mar 31), 5.5 (Aug 11) and 5.6 (Dec 8), with a fair bit of their own little branch releases. The upcoming WordPress 5.7 is going to be the first major release of 2021.
What’s awesome about the Upcoming WordPress 5.7?
There are many beautiful little tweaks that make the upcoming WordPress 5.7 a treat for you and me, the happy users of the platform. Read on as I cover them one by one:
1. Gutenberg, redefined
The upcoming WordPress 5.7 will use Version 9.9 of Gutenberg, the 99th release of the editor plugin that makes writing rich content much easier. What this means is that there’ll be several changes to the way we write in the editor interface, all of which are excellent improvements over the previous version.
- Full Site Editing: Previously themes, plugins and the native content editor had their different roles within WordPress. With full site editing, the Classic editor gave way to Gutenberg, the Blocks editor from WordPress 5.0. Gutenberg changed the game of editing the whole site by introducing blocks and this full site editing has been the core focus of this 5.7 release.
- Drag & Drop Blocks: Upcoming WordPress 5.7 will allow us to drag and drop different blocks from the “Add new block” inserter menu into our content area. We can now chose exactly where we want to place a particular block.
- Custom Icons & Background Colors for Social Icons: The social media icons in the content area sometimes hamper the overall aesthetics of your site, right? Now you can change them as you wish to better mold with your website visually.
- Preferences With More Options: The “preferences” button now has more options and a brand new look.
- Text Labels in Blocks Toolbar: There is now an option to toggle between seeing text and icons by turning on or off the “Display button labels” setting. You’ll be able to chose what you prefer.
- Full-height Blocks: In addition to full-width blocks, there is now provision for making full-height blocks to make your content more visually appealing to your visitors.
- There’ll be a lot of other interesting improvements to the Gutenberg editor like vertical alignment of buttons, adjustment of font size and social icon sizes and improvement to the overall visual clarity of reusable blocks.
In a nutshell, the upcoming WordPress 5.7 is coming with a whole lot of tools to better aid us in our content creation process.
2. Lazy-loading in iframes and jQuery 3.5.1
iframe is an inline frame on a webpage with the capability to load another HTML document inside. We encounter iframes when embedding external sources into our WordPress site (like embedding YouTube videos). Now we can enable the lazy loading for them by adding ‘loading=”lazy”‘ attribute to our iframe tags. This prevents loading of offscreen iframes from being loaded until someone scrolls near them. This saves a bit of data, speeds up loading for other elements on the page and significantly reduces the memory use.
3. Easy Migration from HTTP to HTTPS
July 2018 saw Google making a bold stand that they’ll flag sites not having SSL as “Not secure”. They also said that sites with HTTPS will rank higher in their SERPs. Because of this, nearly all HTTP sites switched to HTTPS. New websites are increasingly set up with an SSL certification from the very beginning. Still there may be times when a site needs to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS. The process is now super easy with the upcoming WordPress 5.7 – just a single click will suffice. Previously it was a huge pain to change the site and WordPress addresses manually but thanks to this update, it’ll all be automatic.
In addition, Site Health will now check the HTTPS status for your site and score it accordingly. Moreover it’ll prompt you with a button to “Update your site to use HTTPS”. When clicked, the migration will be done swiftly and seamlessly.
4. Standardization of WP-Admin Color Palette
In the upcoming WordPress 5.7, all colors used in the CSS is better streamlined down to 7 core colors and a range of 56 shades. This will result in consistent and accessible design decisions for you and me, better suited for our sites and the WordPress Core.
5. Changes to Robots API
The Robots API is used to control and update the existing robots meta tags on your website. These robots mega tags allow you to direct the search engine bots how to crawl and index your site. The upcoming WordPress 5.7 will introduce a new filter-based API with max-image-preview:large directive. The new API will provide central control over your robots meta tags. The max-image-preview directive will allow search engines to display large image previews for your site. Also there’ll be a new wp_robots() function in 5.7 which will allow modification of robots meta tags by adding separate filters to the function.
The goal behind creating WordPress was accessibility, security, performance and ease of use. This upcoming WordPress 5.7 is going to be one step closer to becoming more simple and predictable for everyone. Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg started WordPress in 2003 with a vision to democratize publishing with the freedom to build, freedom to change and the freedom to share. Slowly but consistently, with collaboration and help from a large contributor community, WordPress is attaining that vision. This latest version is just another proof of that.
What do you think about the upcoming release? Leave your thoughts in the comments section. You can always learn more about their latest news and releases here.