APIs

Introducing WordPress 5.4 (Blocks, Features, New APIs)

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The WordPress 5.4 update (also known as “Adderley”) comes in with certain interesting improvements and bug fixes that a lot of us had been waiting for. Released on March 31st, 2020 it includes unique updates on social icons, button blocks, accessibility upgrades to the block editor, and even new APIs that developers can use for themes and plugins. All of these small changes add up to enhance the general editing experience. Below we’ve listed some of the highlights of this update. 

Improved Blocks

With the latest update, it’s now easier to create engaging pages to keep your visitors invested, with new social media buttons to top it off WordPress.

  • Even if a block is entirely new to you, the newest update is faster and easier. It also comes with the Welcome Guide modal for your reference.
  • The Adderley update comes with Gutenberg 7.5 – a big leap from the old Gutenberg 6.6. 
  • It also introduces two completely new blocks with social icons and buttons, while the existing blocks – Buttons and Cover, get newer gradients.
  • The Rich Text Blocks also get toolbar access to several color options in the Group and Columns block.
  • The entire block editor is now fullscreen mode by default, making the most of your screen real estate.   
  • New changes to the mobile UI like pinning the toolbar to the top of the screen improve the mobile experience.

This new version of WordPress contains a lot of fixes for the user experience, making it easier for the user to complete their regular writing tasks.

Better UI features

The block editor itself has been updated with more refined features, a welcome sight to those who thought it left something to be desired WordPress. 

  • If you’re someone who does a lot of navigation with your keyboard, then you may appreciate the improvements in tabbing and focusing. 
  • The general load time of the editor has improved. WordPress claims the editor now loads up to 14X times faster, while the typing is now 51X faster than it used to be
  • The tips that used to pop-up have now been replaced by a brand new Welcome Guide Modal  to help you whenever you need it

  • The screen reader will keep you updated with your current modes if you have restricted access. 

Stronger Privacy

The newest update also takes care of a lot of previously reported privacy issues like WordPress:

  • Now you can have access to each user’s session information and location information via personal data exports extracted from the community events widget. 
  • If you’re processing an export or erasing requests, you can now see your entire progress with the help of these privacy tools. 
  • There are little improvements here and there throughout the privacy tools that give it more clarity and rich visual appeal.

 Changes For Developers

The latest version comes with a lot of helpful updates for developers, and here are some of them WordPress: 

  • Now you can add custom fields to the menu items locally
  • These two new ways that can help you to add custom fields to the menu items without the usage of a plugin or writing custom walkers:
  • First, you can go to the Menus admin screen and add the field  ‘wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields’ right before the move buttons of a nav menu item in the menu editor. 
  • Second, you can also add ‘wp_nav_menu_item_custom_fields’ in the Customizer at the end of the menu-item to form the fields template. 

You can also give a view to your code and understand where these newer actions could replace any custom code. For avoiding any duplication, you can also add a check on the WordPress version. 

The theme authors can now use Gradients API for the cover and button blocks, but they need to make sure that their theme block styles are compatible with the new social icons and button blocks.

There are also a few changes that include the renaming of several CSS classes in the block editor. For example, in the calendar table, there are some new CSS classes introduced for easy targeting WordPress:

  • wp-calendar-table for the table element.
  • wp-calendar-nav for the nav element.
  • wp-calendar-nav-prev for the previous month link, replacing #prev ID.
  • wp-calendar-nav-next for the next month link, replacing #next ID.

With the Collections API, the developers can now group collections of blocks on the basis of the namespace. Similarly, the Variations API helps developers to create variations of certain blocks that the social icons use for each of its variations.

The plugin and theme authors can now access new hooks to add custom fields into the nav menus, as the former do_shortcode() was renamed to apply_shortcodes() in this version. 

Conclusion

The WordPress 5.4 has definitely been an update that has genuinely eased the work for developers, theme authors, and users in its own ways. From introducing two new blocks, custom shortcuts, and enhanced accessibility features, users can now get a dedicated widget for Site Health right on the dashboard to keep up with security, performance, and overall health. 

In short, the Adderley version has enhanced the experience for users across the world, and to look forward to more development in the coming years. If you’re a beginner at WordPress and need someone to help you develop or maintain your WordPress site, hire WordPress experts from CodeClouds. 

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