Coming soon: WordPress 5.7

Ah, it’s that time again. The WordPress Core team is releasing WordPress 5.7 on March 9th. Read on to learn more about what’s included in this update and what it means for your site.

Gutenberg development

This release incorporates all of the Gutenberg plugin releases that have happened to this point—specifically the features that have been released in versions 9.3-9.9.

More importantly, this release represents the WordPress Core team’s push to release full site editing (FSE) in 2021. The goal is to make every part of your site function with blocks so that it’s easier for you to customize it without any specific design or coding skills.

Expect to see pretty big advancements toward that end goal with each release in 2021.

Improvements to the editor

Many of the improvements to the editor are those that have been previously released within the Gutenberg plugin. This includes many features, but some of the most notable are:

  • Use a semi transparent background for the spacer block when selected.
  • Add border radius support to image blocks for rounded corners.
  • Choose from additional icon & background color options on social icons. Add Patreon, Telegram, and Tiktok icons.
  • Automatically turn Dark Mode on or off depending on theme’s background color.
  • Drag blocks and block patterns directly from the inserter into the post editor.
  • Add full height alignment so that blocks such as the Cover can be set to fill the entire screen.
  • Choose from block variations in the block inspector with clear icons and descriptions.
  • Align Buttons blocks vertically as well as horizontally and adjust the width of these blocks with preset percentages.
  • Adjust the size of Social Icons block icons.
  • Adjust font size in List and Code blocks.

Other improvements

In addition to the changes to the editor, there are several backend features that may impact your blog:

  • Lazy-load iframes. Add the loading="lazy" attribute to iframe tags on the front-end to enable lazy loading for iframes.
  • One-click migration from HTTP to HTTPS. Issues can crop up when a site is switched from HTTP to HTTPs but embedded URLs aren’t automatically updated. This update automatically replaces URLs in the database when both the site and WordPress address use HTTPS. It also adds an alert to the Site Health check.

    NOTE: New Agathon sites are automatically set up with HTTPS, so this mainly impacts older sites that started with HTTP.
  • Ongoing cleanup related to jQuery 3.5.1 to reduce deprecations and provide better notifications.

What do you need to do

Unless you’ve configured it otherwise, your site won’t automatically update to WordPress 5.7. By default, WordPress will handle minor updates automatically but won’t perform “major” version upgrades, e.g., from 5.6.x to 5.7.0.

If you haven’t already updated to WordPress 5.6, we recommend doing that ahead of time. It’s easier to address any compatibility issues between your plugins and themes might have with WordPress core when you do it incrementally. Because we know there are possible issues thanks to the deprecation of jQuery 3.5.1, this is especially important.

In addition, each new update brings WordPress closer to full compatibility with PHP 8. We’re not yet recommending that you update your server to PHP 8, but keeping WordPress updated will make that easier when the time comes.

P.S. Remember, always backup your site before starting an update!

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