Jun 28, 2012
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Five awesome new features in WordPress 5.6
Dec 9, 2020

Test your site in WordPress 5.6​

As always, a big new update means loads of fixes, enhancements and changes. Most of the time, everything will work without issue but there’s no harm in being careful. In WordPress 5.6, there’s a change that might break some plugins or themes. In three stages, WordPress is moving from an outdated jQuery JavaScript library to a modern one. Some themes and plugins might not be compatible with this and that might cause stuff to break. So, test the release on your staging environment before rolling it out to your site.

Automatic updates​

Keeping your site and plugins up to date is a chore — but an essential chore to keep your site safe and secure. It’s one of the reasons why the WordPress team is working hard on making that process a little bit easier by providing automatic updates. Luckily, WordPress can already automatically update minor versions, but with 5.6, it can also update to major versions automatically. This is an opt-in, so you have to activate it yourself in the WordPress Updates screen if you want to make use of this. Remember, automatic updates of major versions has its pros and cons, so think before you activate.


By turning automatic major updates on, WordPress can always update itself

Application passwords​

Application passwords offer a new way of providing access to certain parts of your site. You can’t use them to log into your account, but you can use them to help give external sources access to your site without you having to give away your password. You can easily generate access keys and share them with your users. Keys are easy to understand and come in a familiar format like abcd EFGH 1234 ijkl MNOP 6789. Revoking access is just as easy. Simply hit the Revoke button. Keep an eye on this feature as many plugins and platforms will adopt this.


Application Passwords makes managing external authentication easier

Loads of Gutenberg updates​

We’re big fans of the new block editor, but we know there are still a lot of naysayers out there. Luckily, the Gutenberg team keeps chugging along and put out great release after great release. In WordPress 5.6, you’ll find the results of not one or two Gutenberg updates — but no less than seven releases. Among many things, you’ll find improved support for video positioning in cover blocks, enhancements to the block patterns, better dragging and dropping of blocks, improved keyboard navigation, et cetera. It comes with many performance and accessibility improvements as well.

Beta support for PHP 8 in WordPress 5.6​

PHP 8 has just been released and it is a huge deal for developers. It’s the latest version of the programming language in which WordPress is written and it brings a whole lot of cool stuff that will help developers use modern code practices and features. As of WordPress 5.6, the CMS is considered beta compatible with PHP 8. Still, there’s a lot of work to do to get WordPress fully compatible with PHP 8 and before developers can use all the new goodies that it brings.

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