Let’s welcome WordPress’s latest version – WordPress 6.3, ‘Lionel’, named after one of the most celebrated American Jazz musicians, which comes with a wide assemblage of features and improvements. Staying on track with the planned release cycle, the alpha version drop is just weeks away and is scheduled for release on August 8th, 2023!
This newest WordPress release not only aimed to achieve major goals from the WordPress roadmap but also to conclude Phase 2 of the Gutenberg project. And we have explored all the newly released beta versions to learn about the upcoming updates and enhancements that will take web building to the next level for all WordPress users, newcomers, and webmasters alike!
WordPress 6.3: A Look Into The Highlights For What To Expect
With WordPress 6.2 being released at the end of March and ‘Lionel’ bringing in much more advancements, 2023 has been quite a busy year for all the volunteer developers and testers who have been contributing to making WordPress better. And with their combined effort, the platform anticipates incredible progress in features and functionality.
More than 500 new features and improvements, as well as 400+ bug fixes, are included in this upcoming WordPress 6.3 release. Following the updates in performance during WordPress 6.2, this time, the latest version of the WordPress release comes with 170 performance-related improvements.
Also, in the ongoing journey to improving and incorporating Accessibility needs in WordPress, the upcoming release will bring about 50 enhancements to the platform. This ensures that everyone can experience the same level of ease and functionality during their website development with WordPress.
Among a plethora of advancements, emphasis has been made on the editing experience, and the refinement of usability is set to be seen across all platform areas.
Improvements To The Core Site Editor In WordPress 6.3
Back in WordPress 6.2, the Site Editor finally saw an upgrade from its ‘Beta’ stage. And now, with WordPress 6.3 just weeks away, the Site Editor is all set to include expansions for improved navigation and editing experience.
The navigator of the Site Editor has seen massive enhancements allowing users to edit individual styles, pages, templates, patterns, navigation, and more. With the previous version of WordPress, we had seen the Site Editor navigator introduce the ‘Templates’ and ‘Template Parts’ options. This time, however, the ‘Template Parts’ option has been moved under the ‘Patterns’ tab, where you not only get to all your saved patterns but also edit or update your template parts as needed.
The Site Editor now allows users to open their sites in new tabs with a single click. However, this button only appears when you move your mouse over the site title and the search field. These changes not only give users to ability to explore their website editing capabilities in more depth but also let them work with a distraction-free mode and better loading speed.
But is that all for the Site Editor in WordPress 6.3? No. The latest version of the WordPress release will also see an all-new Command Palette, which can be accessed by clicking on the little search icon at the top of the navigator. Or, you can also work with the Command Palette solely by using your keyboard and the following keys:
CTRL + K
Command + K keys
This will show all the corresponding items, which can be opened in the Site Editor with a click, and lets users conduct several operations across the various sections without having to switch between tabs in the navigator.
New Ways To Manage Reusable Gutenberg Blocks: Synced & Standard Patterns
WordPress 6.3 will also feature a brand-new, intuitive method of managing patterns. Your patterns are available in the site editor, where Reusable Blocks have now been renamed to Synced Patterns. This adjustment reflects the Editor’s recent unification of Standard block patterns (unsynced patterns) and Reusable block (Synced) patterns. In addition to browsing a directory of well-picked patterns, site developers may now simply create, save, and manage unique synced and unsynced patterns.
Introduction To New Gutenberg Blocks: Details & Footnote
With this WordPress release, Gutenberg has also introduced 2 all-new blocks. One of them is the experimental ‘Details’ block, which allows users to hide or unhide content from their website visitors to add the element of surprise to boost engagement.
The other block that WordPress 6.3 will introduce is the ‘Footnote’ block which, as the name suggests, now helps users effortlessly add a footnote to their website. Before this, users had to implement third-party plugins to do the same.
Added Features & Functionalities To Gutenberg Blocks
The Spacer Block was first introduced in WordPress 6.1 to help users design their pages with flexible spacing between blocks. This time, with the latest WordPress release, we will see new presets in Spacer Block that easily control the margins and padding.
Now, we can also improvise on the image aspect ratio with the Image blocks from Gutenberg. This will boost user experience greatly because now users will be able to choose the size of the images while maintaining the aspect ratio constant.
The Cover block also gets support and updates for text colors design tools and layout support, which makes it easier for users and theme authors to personalize the way they build their WordPress websites.
In the Styles Tab of the block editor, users will now find options to personalize the design with the Duotone Filter easily. And additionally, website creators may now customize or modify the captions without touching the source code thanks to the most recent Gutenberg version, which adds those design options to the Styles interface.
Round Out Of Other High-Quality Usability Updates In WordPress 6.3
There are many other notable improvements that you can expect to see with WordPress 6.3 release, and we have to mention a few among them.
The block editor’s Link Control Tool is used to add links and will also see major improvements in the latest version of WordPress. Using the ‘Create Page’ button in the link control tool, users can instantly create a new page. When adding a link, the toggle to open a link in a new tab will also be unavailable, as the option will be stashed away inside the ‘Advanced’ setting when editing a link.
The Social Icon Blocks come with ‘Icon color’ and ‘Icon background color’ settings. Even if you selected a color from the theme palette specified in theme.json, WordPress versions previous to 6.3 hardcoded the chosen colors as hex code values within the block. With the upcoming release, the applied colors in the Social Icons blocks will now be updated dynamically based on theme.json and Global Styles.
WordPress 6.3 also introduced the Rollback Feature. If the update fails, this new feature will immediately restore the plugin/theme version that was previously installed. This improvement makes the updating process more dependable, guarantees that the prior version can be safely restored in the event of a plugin or theme update failure, and keeps the website operational for users.
Explore WordPress 6.3 & All The Outstanding New Updates It Brings
Want to explore WordPress 6.3, Lionel, and all that it has to offer? Check out our guide on how to beta-test WordPress and explore these upcoming features in detail. Experience these new changes yourself! Don’t forget to share your thoughts with us in the comments below.