One of the major WordPress releases this year, WordPress 5.6 was released last week on 8th December as per the schedule. The update was named after Nina Simone, an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. All in all, a legendary performer with a broad range of musical styles.
If you’ve been staying updated with the latest buzzes on WordPress, you might know about the major changes that took place in WordPress 5.6. The new WordPress 5.6 Simone came with features and updates that we had already discussed in the Betas and Release Candidates. WordPress 5.6 Simone mainly focused on providing the best for new ideas and creations. A brand new theme has been introduced with a better grip on the block editor. New block patterns are on the stand-by to paint your creatives. Apart from the new theme and enhanced block editor, the 5.6 update also includes Application Passwords for REST API Authentication, Core Auto Updates, Improved Accessibility, New Built-in Block Patterns, jQuery Updates, More PHP 8 Support, Site Health Updates, and more.
A closer look at the new changes in WordPress 5.6 Simone
New Twenty Twenty-One Default Theme
A brand new default theme, a blank canvas for your creativity has been shipped out in WordPress 5.6 – Twenty Twenty One. Like any other theme released by WordPress, Twenty Twenty One default WordPress theme is also clean, simple, and visually aesthetic. With a simple and minimal outlook, the theme provides extreme flexibility at its core. Moreover, the new default theme includes a wide range of beautiful soft pastels color palette. You can also choose your own background color for the theme, and the theme chooses accessibility-conscious text colors for you — automatically!
Know more about the new Twenty Twenty One Theme here.
Enhanced Block Editor
Like any other major update, WordPress 5.6 also included an array of amazing performance enhancements regarding the Gutenberg Editor. The default block editor includes features from the last 7 Gutenberg Plugin Update releases (from 8.6 to 9.2). Moreover, performance improvements from versions 9.3 and 9.4 have also been included in WordPress 5.6.
Here are some of the highlights included to further enhance the Block Editor:
- New Block API version 2 to enable blocks to render their own block wrapper element.
- New createBlockFromInnerBlocksTemplate block API to create blocks from InnerBlocks template.
- Third-party Blocks Support
- Editor Styling Changes for better accessibility and user experience.
- Reusable Blocks extracted into a separate package
- Toolbar Components Improvements
Application Passwords for REST API Authentication
A new Application Passwords authorization feature has been added to 5.6. Third-party apps can now connect to your site seamlessly in a secure way. It allows you to see which apps are connecting to your site and control them.
Core Auto Updates
WordPress 5.6 has introduced the much anticipated opt-in major releases of WordPress Core. The functionality will help you pick to have auto-updates of major WP releases in the background effortlessly.
WordPress 5.6 includes part 2 of updating core jQuery to version 3. The 3-step plan updates the bundled jQuery version to 3.5.1 and jQuery Migrate to 3.3.1.
PHP 8 Support
An update of PHP version, PHP 8 is now available. Therefore, the team made sure v5.6 fully supports PHP 8. WordPress 5.6 comes with fully PHP 8 Support.
Know More about WordPress 5.6 Simone here.
WordPress 5.6 featured an all-women release squad. The lead for the update was Josepha Haden, Chloé Bringmann, and Angela Jin.
Other Squad Members:
- Release Coordinator: Dee Teal
- Triage Lead: Tonya Mork
- Core Tech Lead: Helen Hou-Sandì
- Editor Tech Lead: Isabel Brison
- Design Leads: Ellen Bauer
- Design Tech Lead: Shital Marakana
- Accessibility Lead: Sarah Ricker
- Marketing Lead: Abha Thakor and Yvette Sonneveld
- Documentation Lead: Shawntelle Coker
- Documentation Review Lead: Michele Butcher-Jones
- Default Theme Design Lead: Mel Choyce-Dwan
- Theme Development Lead (Default): Carolina Nymark
- Default Theme Wrangler: Jessica Lyschik
- Test Lead: Monika Rao
- Support Lead: Bet Hannon (@bethannon1)
There were 605 contributors with props in this release. With so many new and improved things this time, the WordPress 5.6 release comes with WordPress fully translated into 38 languages with more on the way.
Have you updated to WP 5.6 yet? Did this newest version of WordPress fulfill all your expectations? Let us know in the comments section below.