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WordPress 5.6 is live. Here’s all you need to know about the new update

WordPress is the latest major platform to roll out a new update. The new update became available recently and has naturally created significant buzz in the WordPress update.

It is natural for a platform as large as WordPress to roll out large-scale updates. More than a third of the websites in the world use WordPress as a CMS. This underlines the size of its community and the hoopla that surrounds every new update. Every WordPress user in the world has a natural vested interest in a new update rolling out.

When one considers the role of WordPress in helping simplify app development, these updates become even more important. Many businesses use tools like AppMySite to create a WordPress app for Android and iOS devices.

How does this update affect the WordPress community at large? This piece will cover everything users need to know about the new update.

First, let’s start with the basics

The WordPress 5.6 ‘Simone’ update

The new WordPress 5.6 update is titled ‘Simone’ after the legendary late singer Nina Simone. The update is accompanied with the rollout of a new default WordPress theme as well, Twenty Twenty-One.

WordPress has improved its platform with additional PHP8 support and jQuery updates. However, the addition of new block editors patterns, and video caption options are more popular with users in general.

The following sections will cover the key changes on the WordPress platform brought on by this new update. Readers can then make a conscious decision whether updating their existing WordPress website to the new build is worthwhile.

Twenty Twenty-One – The new WordPress theme

Twenty Twenty-One is the new WordPress theme rolled out along with the main core update. This is keeping in line with previous updates that generally come about along with a new default theme.

The new theme takes inspiration from a long line of old default themes. WordPress keeps the theme simple and to the point, not including too many flashy widgets and menu sections.

One of the standout features is the addition of dark mode. Users can now add a button to enable visitors to turn on the dark mode. This is a great new addition considering many premier digital platforms provide users this option.

The following points highlight some of the highlights of the new Twenty Twenty-One theme-

  • Soft colors – The color palette for the main theme is a collection of soft pastel earth tones. The color theme is set at light blue by default and clearly underlines WordPress’ preference for neutral and light visual tones. Users are free to experiment with other color palettes based on their overall brand’s design profile.

  • Unique block layouts – The new default theme comes with unique block layout options. Setup standard pages without much hassle with these unique block layouts and simplify the overall website building process.

  • Content accessibility  – The new theme meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 with a AAA rating. These guidelines evaluate how accessible website content is to disabled people. This will ensure WordPress users can grow their website inclusivity using the new theme.

  • Dark mode – The new dark mode enables website visitors to view the website in dark mode. This can help customize the experience of website visitors by handing them simple and nifty display options such as a dark mode button.

The beauty of default themes like Twenty Twenty-One and the ones before it lies in their simplicity. They make it easy for businesses to run their websites with simple customization options. Beginners should spend time working with default WordPress themes before graduating to more complex themes with a variety of options.

Optimization options for video content

Video content is becoming very important in the current content landscape. The rise of streaming platforms like Netflix and apps like TikTok points to the popularity of video. This is why so many bloggers are investing time and effort in creating their own YouTube channel.

WordPress allows users to publish video content on their website and offer users a wholesome cross medium experience. The new update builds upon this offering and provides users the ability to enhance the video consumption experience of end users.

The most important addition is the new option to upload video captions. Users can now upload subtitles along with the video and provide website visitors the option to use them. This can prove beneficial when users upload a video in a different language or try and reach an audience with a different primary language.

Auto-update option enhanced

WordPress regularly comes out with new updates to enhance the general experience of users. Not all updates are as sweeping as major updates like the one being covered here, but they’re nevertheless important.

These updates are generally aimed at removing bugs, addressing vulnerabilities, or enhancing performance in other key areas.

It is difficult for users to keep track of these updates from time to time. And yet, they play an important role in website management.

WordPress has thus enhanced the auto-update option available on its platform. The earlier auto-update option only worked for minor updates. However, WordPress 5.6 will now allow users to automate major updates as well. This update will significantly simplify website management. You can thus keep your WordPress website safe and secure automatically.

New accessibility plugin

WordPress 5.6 is also accompanied with the launch of a new accessibility statement plugin.

An accessibility statement is basically similar to a ‘Help’ page. Website visitors are informed about the various sections of the platform they can access. The guidelines followed while running the website are also covered in this statement.

The new plugin enables users to generate an accessibility statement. Users can create different statements based on legal requirements in different countries. This is a smart addition for websites that have to restrict certain areas of their website from external visitors.

You can alternatively create a Help section to provide visitors complete information about the general functioning of the website.

Application passwords for API authentication

API authentication is crucial for people using WordPress to run their business. Users need REST API authentication to create an app for Android and iOS devices as well.

APIs, like plugins, enable users to get more out of their WordPress website. The new update allows users to oversee the apps connected to their website and the permissions they have.

Users can easily create new application passwords to grant access to third-party apps access to your website. Furthermore, you can revoke this password and thereby stop giving access to these apps anytime you want.

Additional PHP8 support

The release of PHP8 marks a major milestone in the world of web development. The new WordPress 5.6 update also came with news that the new build is beta compatible with PHP8.

WordPress is written in PHP and thus the importance of PHP8 support is naturally apparent.

Additional PHP8 support

Beta compatibility with PHP8 will enable companies to push out websites and products coded with the latest PHP version. This can work wonders in terms of pure performance, customizability, and overall functionality.

WordPress is expected to roll out further updates to enhance PHP8 support. Many companies customize the general WordPress codebase and this support goes a long way towards helping them.

Other miscellaneous changes

There were many other significant changes made with this update. The following points go over some of them-

  • WordPress is upgrading its old jQuery library to a new one with this new update. This change might affect the working of some plugins. Users are thus advised to test their website with the new update in a staging environment before installing it.

  • A number of updates to the Gutenberg editor are also coming in. While WordPress is committed to its new block editor, it acknowledges users who continue to trust Gutenberg. It has thus brought a whole slew of updates to it with new keyboard shortcuts and video positioning.

  • New customization options have also been added to the WordPress platform. They will allow users to create customized pages on WordPress easily with or without code. These new options enable users to use full width headers, gradients in cover blocks, single column blocks, and design with mixed width and columns.

In conclusion

WordPress updates are always an important topic to cover for those invested in the world of websites. Even mobile app development involves the use of WordPress thanks to the rise of free online app makers like AppMySite. It is thus vital to cover important updates and know the key details.

This piece provides a complete breakdown of the main highlights of the new WordPress 5.6 update. Users should try out some of the new features and upgrade their website to a new build.

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