The initial beta for the next big release, WordPress 5.2 Beta 1 was released yesterday on March 27, 2019. The Beta 1 update has included many highlighted features that are sure to grab your attention.
The software is still in development, so the development team recommends you not run it on a production site and so do we. Simply set up a test site just to play around with the new version.
To test WordPress 5.2, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).
The major release, WordPress 5.2 has been scheduled to be released on April 30 this year.
Check out the big items to test to find as many bugs as possible in the coming weeks to make things easier for the developers.
Highlights in WordPress 5.2 Beta 1
Site Health Check
Site Health Check is an ongoing project aimed at improving the stability and performance of the entire WordPress ecosystem. And the first phase of this project which was originally scoped for WordPress 5.1 has now been included in WordPress 5.2. This will be the first time that WordPress would catch and pause the problem code. With this, you can log in to your Dashboard and find out about the issue. Prior to this, you’d have to FTP into your files or get in touch with your host.
Moreover, you’ll also find a new Health Check tool to your Dashboard. Visit the Tools menu and click on Health Check to get information that can help improve the speed and security of your site.
The block editor has been improving a lot since its inception in WordPress 5.1. And it is on its way of improvement in WordPress 5.2 as well. The editor now supports your browser’s reduced motion settings. The post URL slug has better labelling and help text. The focus styling for keyboard navigating through landmarks is clearer and more consistent. There are a variety of newspeak messages, and existing messages have been tweaked for more useful screen-reader behavior.
There are many new interesting blocks added in WordPress 5.2, such as RSS block, amazon kindle block, search block, calendar block, and tag cloud block. You can keep track of these blocks and enable only the ones you need from the newly introduced block management tool – Block Manager.
WordPress Mobile Apps
We’re all familiar with the ongoing Gutenberg Block Editor development process for WordPress Mobile Apps. And now the mobile apps include an experimental version of a built-in block editor.
PHP Version Bump
WordPress will now increase its minimum supported PHP version to 5.6. For users’ convenience, WordPress 5.2 will display you a warning and help you upgrade your PHP version.
- Plugins can now specify the minimum version of PHP that they support, so you can safely modernize your development practices without risking breaking your users’ sites. (#40934)
- Added the sodium_compat library, which provides backward compatibility for the Sodium-based cryptography library added in PHP 7.2. (#45806)
- There’s a new release of Dashicons with 25 new icons! (#41074)
- You can now pass a label to get_search_form(), improving accessibility. (#42057)
There are a total of 130 tickets closed in WordPress 5.2. It includes numerous small bug fixes and improvements to help smooth your WordPress experience.
As mentioned above, WordPress 5.2 is scheduled for release on April 30 and the development team can surely use all the help they can get. If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.