WordPress 6.5: What to Expect

wordpress 6.5 beta 1

Written by JVF Solutions

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February 17, 2024

WordPress 6.5 will be the first major release of 2024. It’s currently scheduled to be launched on March 26th, but that can always change. This will be a major release, so there will be some significant changes. WordPress 6.5 promises to bring more design control and optionality. This means more robust block capabilities with new APIs, access to current block theme functionality for classic themes, and the start of the new admin redesign. Here are some of the key features and updates:

Font Library

One of the most anticipated features of WordPress 6.5 is the Font Library. Most of us need to use a plug-in or write code to install new fonts. The Font Library will make it much easier to install, remove, and activate fonts across their site. Also, the Font Library will be available globally, independent of the theme activated, similar to the Media Library.  So any installed font, whether installed by a user or a theme, can then be selected across the editing experience. This will give users more flexibility and creativity in choosing the fonts that suit their site’s style and branding.

Appearance Tools in Classic Themes

Another feature that will enhance the design options for WordPress users is the support for Appearance Tools in Classic Themes. This will allow users to access the current block theme functionality, such as global styles, template editing, and site editing, even if they are using a classic theme. Many plug-ins come with blocks to make it easy to insert features into your WordPress site. But if you’re not using a theme with the block editor, then it can be difficult to insert the feature. So this feature lets users use the block-based system without having to switch to a block theme or create a child theme. Users will also be able to opt out of this feature if they prefer to keep their classic theme as it is.

New Block APIs

WordPress 6.5 will also introduce new block APIs. The new APIs will add/improve features like partial sync patterns, custom fields, and block binding. These APIs include:

  • Interactivity API: This API will allow blocks to have interactive elements, such as buttons, forms, sliders, etc., that can trigger actions or events. For example, a block could have a button that submits a form to an external service, or a slider that changes the value of a custom field.
  • Custom Fields API: This API will allow blocks to have custom fields that can store and display metadata associated with the block. For example, a block could have a custom field that stores the author name, date, or rating of a post or a product.
  • Block Binding API: This API will allow blocks to have a binding relationship with other blocks, so changes in one block will affect the other block. For example, a block could have a binding with a navigation block, such that adding or removing a menu item in the navigation block will automatically update the corresponding block.

More Robust Revisions

WordPress 6.5 will bring more robust revisions across the editing experience. This will include revisions for template parts and templates, which are currently not supported in WordPress 6.4. Users will be able to view, compare, and restore previous versions of their template parts and templates, just like they can do with posts and pages. This will help users to keep track of their changes and undo any mistakes.

Admin Redesign

WordPress 6.5 will also mark the start of the new admin redesign. This is part of the phase 3 efforts of the Gutenberg project. The goal of the admin redesign is to create a more modern, consistent, and accessible user interface for the WordPress dashboard. The first taste of the admin redesign will be seen in the template, template part, and pattern lists within the Site Editor. These lists will have a new look and feel, with improved navigation, filtering, and sorting options.

Other Features and Updates:

In addition to the features mentioned above, WordPress 6.5 will also include:

  • Rollback for plugin and theme updates: This feature will allow users to easily revert to a previous version of a plugin or a theme if an update causes any issues or conflicts.
  • PHP compatibility: WordPress 6.5 will align with the latest PHP versions and drop support for PHP 7.3, which reached its end of life on December 6, 2023.
  • Bug fixes: WordPress 6.5 will also fix various bugs and issues that affect different components of the WordPress core, such as the REST API, the media library, the widgets screen, and more.

How to Test WordPress 6.5

If you want to test WordPress 6.5 before it is officially released, you can download the WordPress 6.5 Beta 1 version from the WordPress News site. You can also use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin to test WordPress 6.5 on your site. However, we recommend that you do not use the beta version on a live site, as it can break your site. Instead, create a staging copy of your website and install it there. This is not the final release version, so most site owners can wait for that before testing the upgrade.

Summing it all up

WordPress 6.5 will be an exciting release that will bring many new features and updates to WordPress. If you think your website could take advantage of some of the new features, you can try installing the beta version on a staging server. Otherwise, we recommend waiting for the release version. If you have any questions regarding this upcoming version (or any questions about websites), please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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