Since the end of March, the latest version of WordPress, by far the most popular content management system in the world, is available. The new version 5.4 runs under the version name "Adderley" - a reminder of the American jazz musician Nat Adderley. WordPress 5.4 brings a whole series of essential updates that will make website design even faster, easier and more secure in the future. We inform you about the most important changes and innovations of WordPress Adderley.
Table of contents
The new Welcome Guide
Especially for newcomers in the world of WordPress, the new Welcome Guide is an extremely valuable help for the first steps with the largest CMS in the world. Anyone who opens the Block Editor for the first time will now be greeted with a "Welcome Guide" popup. The new Welcome Guide replaces the previous introduction. The guide is designed as a short slideshow that provides WordPress newbies with the most important info in short form. Users who want to dive deeper into the possibilities of the Block Editor will find a link to the detailed Block Editor Tutorial of WordPress at the end of the guide, where all information about the editor is available in detail.
Currently, the Welcome Guide is only available in English. However, the German translation should be available in the near future. By the way, users who want to go through the guide one more time can call it up again via the "More tools & options" menu.
The new Social Icons Block
The integration of social icons has been one of the weaknesses of WordPress so far, which is why many users resorted to special social icons plugins. This will change with version 5.4. For the first time, WordPress now has a well-integrated tool to quickly and easily set links to social networks on posts and pages.
The new Social Icons Block provides the icons in three predefined styles and contains over forty icons for all major social media sites. Besides the heavyweights Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, the icons of LinkedIn, Pinterest, Spotify, Vimeo, Skype and Etsy are also included, among others. The order of the icons can, of course, be customized by the user.
The new Buttons block
Buttons play a crucial role on websites as call-to-actions and for navigation. Accordingly, the developers of WordPress have dedicated themselves to improving the buttons integration in the current version. The previous "Button" block is replaced by a new block called "Buttons" in WordPress 5.4. As the new name of the block in the plural already indicates, from now on not only one, but several buttons can be integrated into a block. For users, this innovation has a high practical added value. Until now, when arranging several buttons next to each other, they had to take the detour of inserting separate columns. Now, multiple buttons can be arranged in a single column block.
Buttons can be designed with the new function in two predefined styles, either color-filled or with a colored frame only. Of course, users are free to completely customize their buttons with different text and background colors. Those who want to bring more color into play can create very individual buttons via the color gradients feature.
Block design update
An innovation with a very high practical benefit for WordPress users is the improvement of the block design in version 5.4. The feature to upload the post image directly into a post via drag & drop proves to be extremely practical. The times when users had to upload and select the image "laboriously" via the media library are now a thing of the past.
In addition, the block "Recent Posts" in the new WordPress version has been spiced up with a few new features. Thus, in version 5.4 the post image can be displayed. In addition, the content can be displayed either completely or in the form of a text excerpt.
Perhaps the most important practical improvement to block styling concerns text color. In previous WordPress versions, users could only set the color uniformly for an entire text block. For fans of colorful websites or users who liked to color-code individual words or phrases, this was a massive limitation. In version 5.4 WordPress users can now enjoy complete color freedom. They can display single words and sentences as well as whole paragraphs within a text block in different colors.
Expansion of the Gutenberg Editor
The Gutenberg Editor is undoubtedly the future of WordPress. In the coming updates, it will gradually replace the previous Classic Editor. The developers of WordPress already pursued the high goal in the latest version to enable the editing of all website components with the Gutenberg Editor. Until now, the scope of the Gutenberg Editor was limited to editing content. Menus and widget areas still had to be edited with the Classic Editor. In WordPress 5.4, the annoying switching back and forth between the Gutenberg and Classic Editor should be a thing of the past.
The SiteHealth Widget
A significant new feature in terms of website performance improvement is the so-called "SiteHealth project". As the name suggests, this is a project to improve the "health" of a website. In the new version 5.4, WordPress users will find the new "Site Health Status Widget" in their dashboard, which provides information about the performance, security and health of their website. In addition, the widget warns about any issues that could negatively affect a website's performance. It also provides suggestions regarding security improvements.
Improve privacy options
Last but not least, the options around data protection have been fundamentally revised and improved in the new WordPress version. According to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), website operators are obliged to hand over or delete data stored about a user upon request. To make this possible, the export functions for personal data have been improved in version 5.4. The export data now additionally includes session information as well as location data of users who have specified their location in the community events widget. In addition, the privacy tools in the new version are easier to grasp via a clearer user interface.
The current version of WordPress includes a number of new features that primarily facilitate the practical work in the design of websites. Especially the new functions around the block and button design will facilitate the work of many users in practice. Also the update of the Gutenberg Editor will encourage some WordPress users to switch from the Classic Editor to the Gutenberg Editor in the future. And last, but not least, the introduction of the new Site Health widget will help to make WordPress even faster, more secure and more stable than in the past.