What’s New in WordPress 6.5 (Features with Screenshots)

WordPress users, exciting news awaits! The much-anticipated WordPress 6.5 release is here, packed with new features and enhancements tailored to elevate your website experience. And for WooCommerce enthusiasts, this update brings even more benefits, promising to enhance your online store’s functionality and performance.

This in-depth review will explore what’s new in WordPress 6.5 and how it can enhance your WooCommerce experience. 

So get ready to discover all the new updates waiting for you in WordPress 6.5! 

Brief overview of WordPress 6.5 release

When the beta version launched, two features stood out: the font library and pattern override. However, meeting WordPress standards for these features within the set timeframe was challenging. Community feedback led to only including the font library in WordPress 6.5, and omitting the pattern override.

Additionally, a last-minute decision postponed the release by a week. This extra time allowed for crucial bug fixes and improvements, enhancing the update’s quality. For example, instead of integrating Gutenberg version 16.8 to 17.7 as planned, the Core team added six bug fixes from the future Gutenberg 18.0 release.

What is the reason for staying updated with the latest version?

It isn’t simply about receiving the bundle of new features; it’s also about keeping your site secure and optimized. 

Regular updates ensure that your website is secure from potential vulnerabilities. With every update, WordPress enhances its security measures and addresses bugs. It significantly reduces its vulnerability to hacks and cyber threats.

Moreover, updates introduce new features and enhancements that can improve your website’s performance and functionality. Maintaining the latest trends and technologies is essential in a highly competitive market.

Lastly, staying updated also ensures compatibility with plugins and themes. Many developers release updates for their products to align with WordPress changes. Keeping your site updated ensures that your plugins and themes work seamlessly, avoiding potential conflicts or issues.

New Features in WordPress 6.5

Now, let’s take a closer look at the new features introduced in WordPress 6.5:

Block Editor

WordPress 6.5 enhances the Block Editor, making it more intuitive and powerful. The Block Editor is the default WordPress editor where content and pages are created and edited. This release introduces many improvements and new features that can significantly save time.

Block Settings in List View

With WordPress 6.5, the block editor’s list view simplifies managing content layouts, especially for long articles and landing pages. Instead of navigating through three-dot menus, you can just right-click to access block settings quickly. 

Block Settings in List View
Block Settings in List View

Rename Blocks in List View

WordPress 6.5 allows renaming blocks directly from the List View. It enhances user control and improves content organization and clarity.

Rename Blocks in List View
Rename Blocks in List View

WordPress Font Library

The font library officially debuts in WordPress 6.5. It enables users to manage, install, and use fonts directly in the WordPress editor. 

To manage the font library, open the Site Editor (Appearance » Editor), go to the ‘Styles’ panel. Now click ‘Typography’ to see the fonts available with your WordPress theme.

Next, click the ‘Manage fonts’ button to access the library through a popup window. Within this window, you can upload fonts directly from your computer or navigate to the ‘Install Fonts’ tab to connect with the Google Fonts library.

Simply press the ‘Allow access to Google Fonts’ button to access a wide selection of fonts available for installation. Select any font you desire, and upon installation, it will be downloaded and hosted directly on your website without Google servers.

The new font library feature eliminates the need for a typography plugin to utilize a custom font on your website.

Plugin Dependencies

Ever struggled with a WordPress plugin only to realize it needs another plugin to work? WordPress 6.5 solves this for users and developers. Now, developers can specify the required plugins in the plugin header. Users will see an error if they try activating a plugin without installing its dependencies.

On the Plugins page, users can identify which plugins are necessary. These identified plugins must then be installed and activated by the user.

Once the necessary plugins are activated, users can activate the main plugin. 

Currently, this functionality only supports plugins available on WordPress.org. It excludes the option to manage dependencies for third-party or premium plugins hosted outside WordPress.org.

Connect Custom Fields to Block

Custom fields lets you add unique metadata to WordPress posts and pages. Developers and advanced users use them in various ways.

WordPress 6.5 introduces the Block Binding API, which empowers developers to dynamically present data within core blocks programmatically. 

Here’s a quick way to try it out.

To modify a WordPress post, simply add the following two custom fields:

  • Mood
  • Weather

To access the code editor within the block editor, click the three-dot menu at the top right corner and select ‘Code Editor.’

Within the WordPress code editor, you can insert the following code into a text field, such as a Paragraph block, located in the content area.

<!-- wp:paragraph {"metadata":{"bindings":{"content":{"source":"core/post-meta","args":{"key":"mood"}}}}} -->
<p></p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

 <!-- wp:paragraph {"metadata":{"bindings":{"content":{"source":"core/post-meta","args":{"key":"weather"}}}}} -->
<p></p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Now, you can save your changes and preview your post and page. At this point, you can view the meta key values as they appear within your block code.

Smart Overlay for the Cover Block

WordPress 6.5 enhances the Cover block by auto-selecting an overlay cover based on the image or color used. You can easily adjust the overlay opacity to fit your design.

Drop Shadow Effect

The drop shadow effect enhances your design by creating an illusion of depth, making specific elements prominent. 

With the introduction of WordPress 6.5, this effect is now available for Images, Column(s), and Button blocks. It offers a variety of styles to complement your design seamlessly.

New design tools

WordPress 6.5 introduces new design tools for deeper customization without needing custom CSS.

Background image size and repeat support for the Group block

The Group block has been updated to support background image size and repeat features. It allows users to adjust the background size to cover or contain while maintaining the aspect ratio. 

Additionally, setting the “Background size” to “Fixed” activates a “Repeat” toggle, letting you enable or disable background repetition.

Aspect ratio support for the Cover block

The Cover block now features aspect ratio support. This allows you to control the block’s aspect ratio either globally via the Global Style interface or individually within your content.

Shadow support for more blocks

Until now, only the Button block supported shadows. WordPress 6.5 introduces shadow support for Columns and Image blocks. You can add shadows via the Styles tab in their settings.

WordPress 6.5 introduces a user-friendly Link control. It includes upgrades like distinct icons for highlighting the blog and front pages. An intuitive context menu for links allows viewing, editing, removing, or copying. Additionally, users can now set links to nofollow directly in WordPress. 

Refreshed Preferences Panel

WordPress 6.5 introduces an updated Preferences panel within the block editor. It enhances user experience. 

Simply access it by clicking the three-dot menu at the top-right corner of your screen and then select ‘Preferences.’ 

This panel now features dedicated sections for Appearance and Accessibility alongside a more organized categorization of the existing sections.

Site Editor Changes

Several site editor improvements will greatly enhance your editing experience and simplify your workflow.

List View enhancements

List View is a critical component of the design workflow, and WordPress 6.5 introduces a range of improvements to this feature. 

With the latest update, accessing block settings in the List View is now more intuitive. Instead of navigating through menus, users can simply right-click to open the block settings dropdown directly. 

This enhancement streamlines content creation, making it quicker and easier to adjust settings during web page creation and customization. It cuts unnecessary steps and provides faster access to key settings. This saves users time and effort.

The new update lets you rename almost all blocks in List View, excluding:

  • core/block
  • core/template-part
  • core/pattern
  • core/navigation

List View in WordPress 6.5 just got even more convenient! Now, simply press CTRL + A on Windows or CMD + A on Mac to select all blocks simultaneously. This handy shortcut makes performing bulk actions in List View a breeze.

Duplicate and rename Patterns

Themes’ patterns were not editable, preventing creation or modification. WordPress 6.5 introduces a feature for duplicating and renaming patterns, allowing changes to sync settings and alterations as needed.

Duplicate and rename Patterns
Duplicate and rename Patterns

Now, it’s also possible to rename and delete patterns. Additionally, two new categories, Audio and Video, have been added to the Pattern Categories panel in WordPress 6.5.

An improved Preferences panel

WordPress 6.5 introduces an updated Preferences panel, streamlining its settings for a more intuitive user experience. Key enhancements include

The addition of “Appearance” and “Accessibility” panels for better navigation.

An improved Preferences panel
An improved Preferences panel

An innovative “Top toolbar” option within the “Appearance” panel. It lets users consolidate all editing tools into a single, accessible toolbar at the editor’s top.

"Appearance" panel
“Appearance” panel

Block toolbar in distraction-free mode

Before WordPress 6.5, the block toolbar couldn’t be accessed distraction-free, requiring frequent toggling. With WordPress 6.5, hovering over the editor’s top area reveals the block toolbar for customizations.

Improved LinkControl component

The LinkControl is now enhanced, making link addition simpler. Below is an image of the new panel that pops up for link editing.

Drag & Drop Improvements

Drag & Drop has been enhanced across the editor. 

In List View:

  • Dropping a block into a collapsed one now automatically expands it.
  • A drag cursor shows up during dragging.

In the editor canvas:

  • You can now drag and drop elements to the start or end of your content. 
  • Dragging and dropping between sibling containers is smoother. 
  • Dragging blocks in template parts is possible. 
  • A new visual cue indicates non-draggable blocks. 
  • Drag elements to the start or end of a document easily. 
  • Create rows or galleries by dragging and dropping blocks next to each other, easily turning Image blocks into a Gallery. For example, Adding an image beside another image converts an Image block into a Gallery block.

DataViews

DataViews enables rendering datasets in layouts like tables, grids, lists, etc. This update introduces new views and features for managing pages, patterns, and templates. It also promises improvements in future WordPress releases. 

Currently, WordPress 6.5 unveils enhanced views within the Site Editor, including

  • Templates > Manage all templates: Table and Grid layouts.
  • Patterns > Template parts > Manage all template parts: Table and Grid layouts.
  • Patterns: Grid layout.
  • Pages > Manage all pages: Table and Grid layouts.

Data views and layouts enhance visualization through various features such as filtering, searching, pagination, sorting, and hiding or showing fields. They also improve user interaction and data management.

The Bulk edit button enables performing multiple actions on Pages based on the current dataset, such as moving to trash, restoring, and permanently deleting.

Data views have been enhanced by introducing a new Primary Filter API designed to provide a constantly visible filter on the screen for data views. As illustrated below, this update prominently features the Sync Status primary filter in the Patterns admin section.

Additionally, the DataViews API now includes the @wordpress/data views npm package, allowing developers to explore and utilize data views more effectively.

Improved Revisions Style

Revisions allow you to confidently undo changes by reverting to a previous site version at any time. Given the importance of a reliable revision system for collaborative sites, style revisions are key in WordPress’s current phase. 

WordPress 6.5 introduces significant enhancements to its revision system. Here’s what to expect with revisions in WordPress 6.5.

Description of Changes

In WordPress 6.5, revisions now provide more detailed information beyond just date, time, and author. Users can expect to see a brief summary and additional details of each version, enhancing transparency and clarity.

Unlimited Revisions and Pagination

With the introduction of selectors like getRevisions and getRevision, the Rest API limit of 100 revisions per panel is no longer a constraint. Users can now browse all revisions, divided into pages of 10 items each, ensuring access to a comprehensive revision history.

Revision Style Book Integration

The Revisions panel is now accessible alongside the Style Book, allowing users to review style changes on patterns and blocks not present in the current template. This integration enhances the visibility of style changes across the entire design project.

Revisions for Templates and Template Parts 

WordPress 6.5 extends revision capabilities to templates and template parts, allowing users to revert to previous versions of their design projects. This additional layer of security enhances workflow management and collaboration.

Interactivity API

WordPress 6.5 introduces the Interactivity API, revolutionizing frontend development by providing a standardized method for adding interactivity to websites. 

Previously, developers had to integrate JavaScript libraries independently, resulting in inconsistency. 

The Interactivity API makes dynamic features like pagination and instant search seamless. Blocks can now share data and actions, enabling interactions such as adding items to a cart with minimal loading time. 

This API embraces modern frontend principles, utilizing custom HTML attributes for enhanced performance and extensibility. Compatible with existing WordPress tools, it offers a declarative approach to development, empowering developers to create complex applications efficiently. The Interactivity API is a game-changer, ushering in a new era of interactive web experiences within WordPress.

What is the Interactivity API? 

The Interactivity API is a revolutionary system of directives designed to empower developers to create interactive blocks on WordPress websites. It enables seamless frontend interactions, such as instant search, commenting, and dynamic pagination, without reloading the page. 

This modern development tool boasts several key features: 

  • Support for server-side rendering and client-hydrated HTML.
  • Compatibility with PHP and the existing block system.
  • Backward compatibility with WordPress hooks and JavaScript libraries. 
  • A declarative approach enhances performance and extensibility, enabling efficient development of complex applications. 
  • Based on directives, special HTML attributes precisely control DOM elements. 
  • It ensures compatibility with existing WordPress development tools.

How to get started with the Interactivity API

Integrating the Interactivity API will not impact the block creation process. By utilizing the @wordpress/create-block command and a designated interactive template, developers can easily set up a plugin that enables the registration of interactive blocks.

Open your preferred command line interface, proceed to your plugins directory, and execute the command below:

“npx @wordpress/create-block@latest my-interactive-block --template @wordpress/create-block-interactive-template”

This process creates an interactive block based on a template utilizing the metadata field named viewScriptModule. When a block is displayed on the front end, the script module specified in viewScriptModule is automatically loaded.

After installation, a new plugin will appear in your WordPress dashboard. Go ahead and activate it. Then, return to the command line, proceed to the directory of the new plugin, and initiate the service:

“cd my-interactive-block && npm start”

Initiate a fresh post or page, launch the block inserter, and navigate to the Widgets section. Within this area, you’ll discover a new block titled “My Interactive Block,” serving as a versatile template for crafting innovative and engaging interactive content.

Incorporate the block into your content and save the post. Upon previewing, you’ll notice a toggle feature that conceals or reveals placeholder text. That’s all there is to it. You’re now ready to create interactive blocks with ease.

Block Bindings API

The Block Bindings API represents an innovative approach to link block attributes with values from various data sources. The specific values can vary based on the context. For instance, consider a heading that displays the author’s name, which dynamically updates to reflect the ‘post_author’ value.

This enhancement significantly broadens the functionalities of several key blocks. With the introduction of the new API, it is now possible to dynamically link data from any source directly to a block attribute, enriching the overall experience.

Data sources vary widely, including site data, custom fields, user data, patterns, shortcodes, and other blocks. External tools can also be integrated via Gutenberg, like a Drupal website utilizing Gutenberg. 

From a technical perspective, the Block Bindings API operates through a concise three-step mechanism:

Initially, a binding is established, linking block attributes to a data source via a bindings object.

Next, the API retrieves the value from the data source specified in the binding.

Subsequently, it refreshes the block’s HTML using the data source’s values, ensuring dynamic content updates.

WordPress 6.5 debuts the Block Bindings API, connecting block attributes with custom fields. Initially, it’ll work with basic blocks like headings, paragraphs, images, and buttons. Future updates will broaden support to include custom-designed blocks. 

However, the rollout of Synced Patterns Overrides is delayed for now. 

The initial launch of the API also allows plugin developers to register their sources in the same manner as Gutenberg does for the core/post-meta data source. Following Santos Guillamot’s example, here’s how you can seamlessly register your plugin data source:

register_block_bindings_source(

'myplugin/plugin-data',

array(

'label'              => _x( 'Plugin Data', 'block bindings source' ),

'get_value_callback' => 'myplugin_block_bindings_post_meta_callback',

)

);

And then add a bindings object to your block:

<!-- wp:paragraph
{

"metadata": {

"bindings": {

"content": {

"source": "myplugin/plugin-data",

"args": {

"key":"plugin_key"

}

}

}

}

}

-->

<p>Paragraph</p>

<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Below is a detailed description of each property:

Metadata: A block metadata object.

Bindings: An object that encompasses one or more data bindings.

Content: Represents the specific block attribute, such as the content attribute of a Paragraph block, to be linked with a data source.

Source: Identifies the origin of the bindings.

Args: A collection of arguments designed to be passed to the source of the block bindings.

Future updates will enhance the Block Bindings API with more features.

In the near future, you’ll create bindings from the Visual Editor, connecting block attributes to broader data sources such as site or taxonomy data. This feature will also expand to cover more blocks. 

Updates HTML API

WordPress 6.5 introduced significant enhancements to the HTML API Tag Processor. It now examines every type of syntax token, encompassing tags, non-tag tokens, comments, doctype definitions, and text nodes. This enhancement facilitates the modification of text, termed as modifiable text, within token boundaries, ensuring the document’s structure remains intact.

Modifiable text includes the content within text nodes, HTML comments, or between the opening and closing tags of special elements like script or style.

Several new methods have been introduced:

  • next_token() – moves to the next token in the document
  • get_token_type() – gets the type of token found
  • get_token_name() – gets the name of a token
  • get_modifiable_text() – returns the properly decoded text content for a given token.
  • get_comment_type() – gets the type of comment
  • paused_at_incomplete_token() – returns true if the Tag Processor reaches the end of a document truncated in the middle of a token.

Media(AVIF Image Support)

WordPress 6.5 adds support for the AVIF image format, known for its advanced compression algorithm that delivers superior image quality with higher compression. As a result, AVIF produces smaller image files than traditional formats like WebP.

Users can now effortlessly upload AVIF files to the WordPress media library, just like other image formats. However, verifying whether your hosting platform supports the AVIF

format is important. To check if your host is compatible with AVIF images, visit the Site Health screen of your WordPress installation, click on the Info tab, and look under the Media Handling section.

Script Loader

The Script Modules API introduces native JavaScript Module support to version 6.5 alongside two modules designed for integration with the WordPress Interactivity API. Developers using JavaScript modules in their projects are encouraged to transition to the Script Modules API for enhanced functionality and support.

Upgrade/Install

In the process of bulk upgrades, checking for a theme upgrade now includes verifying compatibility with the minimum WordPress version and the server’s PHP version. This practice was already in place for plugins but has now been extended to themes.

Under the Hood Changes in WordPress 6.5

This release introduces significant performance improvements, bug fixes, and more options for developers.

Here are several of those modifications.

  • Performance Enhancements: The Block and Site Editors in WordPress 6.5 will experience a significant boost, loading twice as fast and offering a quadrupled improvement in input responsiveness compared to the previous version, WordPress 6.4. 
  • A newly improved library has been introduced, significantly speeding up the loading of translations.
  • Classic themes have been upgraded to support appearance tools, enhancing customization options. 
  • The Block API has been expanded to include the viewScriptModule field in the block.json metadata, allowing for more sophisticated block development. 
  • WordPress 6.5 updates Block Hooks, increasing their utility and introducing highly anticipated new features.
  • Significant advancements have been made to the HTML API, including the Tag Processor’s capability to scan every token in an HTML document, offering broader support for the HTML specification than ever before in WordPress 6.4.

Exploring WordPress 6.5

What’s New in WordPress 6.5

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the core update in WordPress?

A core update is a major update to the WordPress software, typically introducing new features, functionality, and sometimes significant improvements or changes. Core updates are numbered according to the decimal point (e.g., 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, etc.).

What is the Interactivity API?

The Interactivity API provides tools that help developers create engaging and dynamic content on WordPress.This includes animations and real-time updates, improving user experience.

How often is WordPress updated?

WordPress is regularly updated with new versions released approximately every 3-4 months, ensuring ongoing enhancements, bug fixes, and security patches.

What is the minimum MySQL version for WordPress 6.5?

WordPress 6.5 requires MySQL version 5.6.20 or greater.

How does WordPress 6.5 enhance the block editor?

WordPress 6.5 improves the Block Editor, including a larger Block Library, a better user interface, and customization options to make editing more efficient and enjoyable.

Conclusion

Staying informed about the latest WordPress updates, especially major releases like 6.5, is essential for maintaining a competitive edge. 

Utilizing the latest features and enhancements guarantees an exceptional user experience. Enjoy streamlined editing, enhanced visuals, optimized performance, and seamless interactivity integration.

Making the most of these changes will align your site with current industry standards. 

Ready to elevate your online presence with WordPress 6.5? It’s time to hit ‘update’ and explore these features firsthand!

Asif Reza
Asif Reza
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