WordPress 5.6 ‘Simone’ was released today. This is a major release of the WordPress core platform. Here at Outcome Labs, we have been verifying this release with the beta and release candidates over the past eight weeks.
We are doing a verification of the production release on our company sites today. If you are on an Outcome Labs WordPress Monthly Care Plan, we will be verifying your site over the next few days. You will be notified once the update is applied.
Here is a quick overview of the major components of WordPress 5.6. Like most of the updates since 5.0 was released two years ago, a major focus of this release is the WordPress Block Editor. There were other platform improvements including a new default theme, Twenty Twenty One, more auto-update tools, and enhanced developer capabilities.
Block Editor Enhancements
Lots of polishing and stabilization in the WordPress 5.6 Block Editor, but many of the capabilities originally targeted for this release were not delivered. It will be interesting to watch what happens during the 5.7 cycle.
New Default Theme
WordPress 5.6 includes the new Twenty Twenty One default theme. We usually have one of the default themes installed on sites to assist with debugging issues. Not sure if we will switch to this new one or stick with the Twenty Twenty theme which seems to be a better option for this use case.
Auto-updates will now include major WordPress releases. Many hosts were already doing this. Overall, we recommend a targeted approach to unattended updates.
Site Health Improvements
Some plumbing improvements in the Site Health feature with WordPress 5.6. Hoping this will eliminate the “false positives” which often show on initial dashboard display.
Rest API Application Passwords
An important new capability for developers using the API ti integrate WordPress with other applications.
PHP 8 Support
The WordPress community has been very good at staying current with the latest version of PHP. PHP 8 was recently released. We expect to move all our sites to WordPress 7.4 now that 5.6 is deployed. While this is still “beta”, it is good to see the platform being prepped for PHP 8 with WordPress 5.6
There were a number of updates to features leveraged by developers.
Wrap-up on WordPress 5.6
Overall, WordPress 5.6 is a solid update to the platform, but not one that delivers much from a functionality perspective to non-developers. We will highlight any issues discovered as we complete our updates to WordPress 5.6. We do recommend applying core updates within a week of availability. As always, you should make sure you have appropriate backups before updating the core platform.