September 1st, 2020
August was special for WordPress lovers, as one of the most anticipated releases, WordPress 5.5, was launched. The month also saw several updates from various contributor teams, including the soft-launch of the Learn WordPress project and updates to Gutenberg. Read on to find out about the latest updates from the WordPress world.
WordPress 5.5 Launch
The team launched WordPress 5.5 on August 11. The major release comes with a host of features like automatic updates for plugins and themes, enabling updates over uploaded ZIP files, a block directory, XML sitemaps, block patterns, inline image editing, and lazy-loading images, to name a few. WordPress 5.5 is now available in 50 languages too! You can update to the latest version directly from your WordPress dashboard or download it directly from WordPress.org. Subsequent to the 5.5 release, the 5.5.1 release candidate came out on August 28, which will be followed by its official launch of the minor release on September 1.
Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8
The core team launched Gutenberg 8.7 and 8.8. Version 8.7 saw many improvements to the Post Block suite, along with other changes like adding a block example to the Buttons block, consistently autosaving edits, and updating the group block description. Version 8.8 offers updates to Global Styles, the Post Block suite, and Template management. The release significantly improves the back-compatibility of the new Widget Screen, and also includes other important accessibility and mobile improvements to user interfaces like the Toolbar, navigation menus, and Popovers. For full details on the latest versions of these Gutenberg releases, visit these posts about 8.7 and 8.8.
Check out the brand new Learn WordPress platform!
Learn WordPress is a brand new cross-team initiative led by the WordPress Community team, with support from the training team, the TV team, and the meta team. This platform is a learning repository on learn.wordpress.org, where WordPress learning content will be made available. Video workshops published on the site will be followed up by supplementary discussion groups based on workshop content. The first of these discussion groups have been scheduled, and you can join an upcoming discussion on the dedicated meetup group. The community team invites members to contribute to the project. You can apply to present a workshop, assist with reviewing submitted workshops, and add ideas for workshops that you would like to see on the site. You can also apply to be a discussion group leader to organize discussions directly through the learn.wordpress.org platform. We are also creating a dedicated Learn WordPress working group and have posted a call for volunteers. Meetup organizers can use Learn WordPress content for their meetup events (without applying as a discussion group leader). Simply ask your meetup group to watch one of the workshops in the weeks leading up to your scheduled event, and then host a discussion group for that content as your event.
Want to get involved with the Community team? Follow the Community blog, or join them in the #community-events channel in the Making WordPress Slack group. To organize a local WordPress community event, visit the handbook page.
- As proposed previously, WordPress 5.6 will have an all-women release squad. The team has started work on the 5.6 release planning.
- The community team has decided to cancel in-person flagship WordPress events in 2021. While new applications for flagship events in 2021 will not be accepted, organizers of existing flagship events (such as WordCamp US, Europe, and Asia) will have the option to move their event online.
- The core team is working on updating the jQuery version that comes with WordPress. As the first step, the team removed the jQuery Migrate 1.4.1 script from WordPress 5.5. Those who wish to use jQuery migrate for maintaining plugin compatibility can install the Enable jQuery Migrate Helper plugin, which has currently reached the 100k installs mark.
- The WordPress documentation team is continuing its discussion on modifying the external linking policy. The conversation is taking place on a shared Google doc. Feel free to add comments if you have any thoughts on the topic.
- WordPress will not drop support for PHP 5.6, as initially decided, in order to maintain better version compatibility. The team has additionally come up with a proposal to drop support for old PHP versions via a fixed schedule.
- The maiden edition of do_action India online was held from August 15 to 23. The event, which was held online with collaboration tools, had 94 participants who built fully functional websites for five NGOs from across the country. You can read more about 2020 do_action events on the WordPress Foundation blog.
- The Accessibility team has published their goals for WordPress 5.6 and beyond and has started working on them.
- WordCamp Minneapolis/St. Paul was held successfully on August 21. The event, which sold over 1400 tickets, had 18 speakers and 12 sponsors.
- The Polyglots team has completed the translation handbook structure organization. The handbook now has clear guides for translators, PTEs/GTEs, global mentors, and Plugin/Theme authors.