WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 Now Available for Testing!

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 Release

WordPress 5.4 Beta 1, the initial beta for the next major release – WordPress 5.4 was released yesterday. The Beta 1 update has been released with numerous highlighted features that will definitely excite the users. The major features include enhanced block editor, accessibility improvements, superior performance, site health enhancements, and more.

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.

The major release, WordPress 5.4 is targeted for release on March 31, 2020. It is our responsibility to help the team roll out the major release with minimal (to no) issues. Therefore, let’s start testing!

To test WordPress 5.4, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can download the beta here (zip).

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 5.4 Beta 1

Block Editor Enhancements

WordPress 5.4 is going to include features from ten releases of the Gutenberg plugin (6.6 to 7.5). Here are a few of the features:

  • Two new blocks: social links and buttons.
  • More color options for Button, Cover, Group and Column blocks .
  • Welcome Guide modal.
  • Tools for adding featured images in the Latest Posts block.
  • Easier navigation in the block breadcrumbs.
  • On mobile, the toolbar stays on top, so you can’t lose it.
  • Easier image sizing in the Gallery block.
  • Drag-and-drop images into the featured-image box.
  • Several new APIs.
  • Friendlier offline error messages on REST API request failures.
  • Table block captions.
  • You can now color just parts of the text in any RichText block.
  • Easier multi-block selection.
  • Support for changing an image’s title attribute within the Image block.
  • Easier tabbing. This had been one of the editor’s biggest accessibility problems, but now tabbing works with the block’s sidebar.
  • Visual switch between Edit and Navigation modes and enable screen reader announcements.

Boosted Performance

The block editor team has achieved a 14% loading time reduction and 51% time-to-type reduction, for a particularly sizable post (~ 36,000 words, ~1,000 blocks) since WordPress 5.3.

Better Site Health Project

WordPress 5.4 adds a widget on the dashboard that warns administrators of potential issues that could affect their site’s performance or security. A call-to-action button directs them to the Site Health screen for details and suggested fixes.

Accessibility Improvements

  • Better focus management in Menu, Customizer and Site Health screens, to fix some existing keyboard navigation issues.
  • Easier keyboard navigation for better semantics in the Media modal.
  • An easier-to-read Privacy Policy Guide.

For Developers

  • WordPress 5.4 moves the navigation links to a <nav> HTML element immediately following the <table> element in order to produce valid HTML.
  • apply_shortcodes() as an alias for do_shortcode()
  • Better Favicon Handling
  • Clearer information about errors in wp_login_failed.
  • Added Site ID to the newblog_notify_siteadmin filter for multisite installs.
  • Added Support for the required WordPress and PHP version headers in themes.
  • Embed support added for TikTok.

More than 255 tickets have been closed in WordPress 5.4. It includes numerous small bug fixes and improvements to help smooth your WordPress experience.

As mentioned above, WordPress 5.4 Release is up for March 31 and the development team can surely use all the help. 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.


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