WordPress 5.6 Simone

In case you missed it, WordPress 5.6 “Simone” was released yesterday. It brings much new stuff including a brand-new default theme Twenty Twenty-One, greater layout flexibility and more block patterns.

Check out the new features and improvements as announced on the official WordPress blog:

Greater Layout Flexibility

Bring your stories to life with more tools that let you edit your layout with or without code. Single column blocks, designs using mixed widths and columns, full-width headers, and gradients in your cover block—make small changes or big statements with equal ease!

More Block Patterns

In some themes, preconfigured block patterns make setting up standard pages on your site a breeze. Find the power of patterns to streamline your workflow, or share some of that power with your clients and save yourself a few clicks.

Better Video Captioning

To help you add subtitles or captions to your videos, you can now upload them within your post or page. This makes it easier than ever to make your videos accessible for anyone who needs or prefers to use subtitles.

WordPress 5.6 Improvements For The Public:

Expanding Auto-Updates

For years, only developers have been able to update WordPress automatically. But now, you have that option, right in your dashboard. If this is your first site, you have auto-updates ready to go, right now! Upgrading an existing site? No problem! Everything is the same as it was before.

Accessibility Statement

Even if you’re not an expert, you can start letting others know about your site’s commitment to accessibility! The new feature plugin includes template copy for you to edit and publish, and it’s written to support different contexts and jurisdictions.

Built-in Patterns

If you’ve not had the chance to play with block patterns yet, all default themes now feature a range of block patterns that let you master complex layouts with minimal effort. Customize the patterns to your liking with the copy, images, and colors that fit your story or brand.

WordPress 5.6 Improvements For Developers:

REST API authentication with Application Passwords

Thanks to the API’s new Application Passwords authorization feature, third-party apps can connect to your site seamlessly and securely. This new REST API feature lets you see what apps are connecting to your site and control what they do.

More PHP 8 Support

5.6 marks the first steps toward WordPress Core support for PHP 8. Now is a great time to start planning how your WordPress products, services, and sites can support the latest PHP version. For more information about what to expect next, visit the Field Guide.

jQuery Update

Updates to jQuery in WordPress take place across three releases 5.5, 5.6, and 5.7. As we reach the mid-point of this process, run the update test plugin to check your sites for errors ahead of time.

I wasn’t able to update my WordPress installation here on JaypeeOnline yesterday because I first had to test WordPress 5.6 on my staging site. This is to make sure that there are no compatibility issues with my theme and/or plugins I have installed that can break the site.

I’m glad that my site didn’t have any conflicts or compatibility issues so I was able to upgrade to WordPress 5.6. I strongly recommend to any self-hosted WordPress user to make use of a sandbox or staging site that is the exact duplicate of your live website and use that to test new WordPress releases as well as theme or plugin updates. It will save you time and avoid any headaches or stress.

Regarding the jQuery update, in case you come across or discover any issues on your site like image sliders not working, the layout is messed up, missing items, etc., make sure you install the jQuery Migrate plugin.

Anybody else upgraded their installation to WordPress 5.6? Did you install the update on your live site or using a sandbox/staging site? Did you encounter any issues with your theme or plugins? What new feature or improvement do you like best? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Owner and editor of JaypeeOnline. Self-proclaimed geek. New media writer and consultant. WordPress advocate. Loves blogging, gadgets, video games and sports. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter.

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