Undoubtedly, WordPress is one of the most popular open-source platforms for website development. Hundreds of developers and designers work consistently to make it even better. Knowing that, it is not a surprising fact that WordPress releases at least one update every month. It can be either a minor update or a major one.
This Content Management System was released back in 2003. Since then, it has come a long way. It used to be a blog creation platform only but now you can also create fully functional and dynamic websites with WordPress. The first ever version was ‘WordPress 0.7 – Gold’. It came out on May 27, 2003. After that, WordPress introduced quite a few updates. The latest version is ‘WordPress 5.8 – Tatum’ which was out for public on July 20, 2021.
All About Latest WordPress Versions:
Here, we are going to explain the most recent versions released by WordPress.
WordPress 5.2 – Jaco:
‘WordPress 5.2 – Jaco’ was available for users on May 7, 2019. This update included a lot of features that made fixing your website easier than ever. With this version, you can easily identify and fix configuration issues and fatal errors both.
- Site Health Check: This feature was introduced in WordPress 5.1. In this update, two more pages have been added to help you to debug common configuration issues.
- PHP Error Protection: Now you can safely fix or manage fatal errors like ‘white screen of death’ without requiring developer time.
Some other enhancements included in this update are:
- Accessibility Updates: This version includes a number of accessibility updates to improve contextual awareness and keyboard navigation flow for people who use screen readers and other assistive technologies.
- New Dashboard Icons: Thirteen new icons have been added. You can find them in the dashboard.
- Plugin Compatibility Checks: Now you do not have to manually check whether your website’s version of PHP is compatible with installed plugins or not. If a plugin requires a higher version of PHP than your current one, you will not be able to activate it.
WordPress 5.3 – Kirk:
‘WordPress 5.3 Kirk’ saw the daylight on November 12, 2019. This version includes more intuitive interactions and also improved accessibility to make the block editor even better. With this update you will have more design-related freedom as it comes with additional layout options and style variations.
The default theme of this version is Twenty Twenty. This theme gives the user more design flexibility and integration with the block editor. Now you can also create beautiful web pages and advanced layouts easily.
- Block Editor Improvements: This update includes 150 new features and usability improvements like improved large image support for uploading non-optimized, high-resolution pictures taken from your smartphone or other high-quality cameras.
Integration of improved block editor styles fixed many accessibility issues including:
- color contrast on form fields and buttons
- consistency between editor and admin interfaces
- new snackbar notices
- standardizing to the default WordPress color scheme
- Design Flexibility: With this update, you get a few more robust tools that you can use to create eye-catching designs.
- The new Group block lets you easily divide your page into colorful sections.
- The Columns block now supports fixed column widths.
- The new predefined layouts make it a cinch to arrange content into advanced designs.
- Heading blocks now offer controls for text and background color als.
- Additional style options allow you to set your preferred style for any block that supports this feature.
- Automatic Image Rotation: Now your images will be correctly rotated according to the embedded orientation data when you upload them.
- Improved Site Health Checks: In this version, it is now easier to identify issues with your website.
- Admin Email Verification: Once you install this update, you will be periodically asked to confirm that your admin email address is up to date when you log in as an administrator. This way the chances are very less that you get locked out of the website when you change the email address.
WordPress 5.4 – Adderley:
‘WordPress 5.4 – Adderley’ was out for public on March 31st, 2020. Similar to previous major releases, this update is also focused on the block editor.
- Improved Blocks: This version has two new blocks for Social Icons and Buttons. Now you can also add interactive features in no time. With this update you get some color-related enhancements too.
- Gradients in the Buttons and Cover block
- Toolbar access to color options in Rich Text blocks
- Color options in the Group and Columns blocks.
You can also place and replace multimedia in every block in a more streamlined way. The process is almost the same in every block.
- Clean UI and Clear Navigation: You will have clearer block navigation with block breadcrumbs and selection is also easy. This version has improved tabbing and focus for when you need to navigate with the keyboard. You can also tab over to the sidebar of nearly any block.
Want to know whether you are in a block’s Edit or Navigation mode? With this update, you will get to know in a glance.
- Better Privacy: This WordPress version fixed a lot of privacy issues. These enhancements will help you to handle the user data safely.
WordPress 5.5 – Eckstine:
‘WordPress 5.5 – Eckstine’ came out on August 11, 2020. This version includes so many changes to WordPress core. With this release, ten versions of the Gutenberg plugin have been added to the core, bringing a huge number of UI improvements, features, enhancements, and bug fixes affecting every aspect of the editing experience, from usability to functionality and performance.
- Speed: Are images making your website slow? In this version, lazy loading will be enabled by default. On mobile, it also keeps browsers from loading files that are meant for other devices.
- Search: by default, WordPress 5.5 includes an XML sitemap that helps search engines discover your most important pages from the very minute you go live. So more people will find your site sooner, giving you more time to engage, retain and convert them to subscribers, customers or whatever fits your definition of success.
- Block Editor: Similar to previous versions, this update also includes a lot of exciting features to improve the block editor.
- Block Patterns: With new block patterns you can create complex, beautiful layouts, using combinations of text and media. You can also mix and match to fit your story.
- New Block Directory: Now it is easier to find the block you need. The new block directory is built right into the block editor, so you can also install new block types to your site without ever leaving the editor.
- Inline image editing: Crop, rotate, and zoom your photos right from the image block. This way you can save a huge amount of time.
- Accessibility: Now you can copy links in media screens and modal dialogs with a button, instead of trying to highlight a line of text. You can also move meta boxes with the keyboard, and edit images in WordPress with your assistive device, as it can read you the instructions in the image editor.
WordPress 5.6 – Simone:
‘WordPress 5.6 – Simone’ became officially available on December 8, 2020. It gives you countless ways to set your ideas free and bring them to life. This version also came out with a new default theme Twenty Twenty One.
- Greater Layout Flexibility: With this update, you get more tools that let you edit your layout with or without code. Single column blocks, designs using mixed widths and columns, full-width headers, and gradients in your cover block—make small changes or big statements with equal ease.
- More Block Patterns: In some themes, you can set up standard pages on your website effortlessly with preconfigured block patterns. Now you can streamline your workflow with the power of block patterns.
- Better Video Captioning: To help you add subtitles or captions to your videos, you can now upload them within your post or page. This makes it easier than ever to make your videos accessible for anyone who needs or prefers to use subtitles.
- Expanding Auto-updates: For years, only developers have been able to update WordPress automatically. But now you have that option, right in your dashboard. If this is your first site, you have auto-updates ready to go.
- Accessibility Statement: The new feature plugin includes template copy for you to edit and publish, and it is written to support different contexts and jurisdictions.
- Built-in Patterns: If you have not had the chance to play with block patterns yet, all default themes now feature a range of block patterns that let you master complex layouts with minimal effort. Customize the patterns to your liking with the copy, images, and colors that fulfill your requirements.
WordPress 5.7 – Esperanza:
‘WordPress 5.7 – Esperanza’ finally saw the daylight on March 9, 2021. It is the first release of the year 2021.
- Block Editor Improvements: Now, font-size controls are right where you need them in the List and Code blocks. You do not have to go to another screen when you want to make a single change.
- Reusable blocks: In this version, reusable blocks are more stable and easier to use.
- Inserter drag-and-drop: You can drag blocks and block patterns from the inserter right into your post.
- Full-height Alignment: Now you can create a block that will fill the whole window.
- Buttons Block: You can choose a vertical or a horizontal layout. There is also an option to set the width of a button to a preset percentage.
- Social Icons Block: You have the option to change the size of the icons.
- Simpler Default Color Palette: This new streamlined color palette collapses all the colors that used to be in the WordPress source code down to seven core colors and a range of 56 shades that meet the WCAG 2.0 AA recommended contrast ratio against white or black. You can find the new palette in the default WordPress Dashboard color scheme, and use it while building themes, plugins, or any other components.
- From HTTP to HTTPS in a single click: Starting now, switching a site from HTTP to HTTPS is a one-click move. WordPress will automatically update database URLs when you make the switch.
- New Robots API: The new Robots API lets you include the filter directives in the robots meta tag, and the API includes the max-image-preview: large directive by default. It means search engines can show bigger image previews, which can boost your traffic.
- Lazy-load your iFrames: Now it is simple to let iframes lazy-load. By default, WordPress will add a loading=”lazy” attribute to iframe tags when both width and height are specified.
WordPress 5.8 – Tatum:
‘WordPress 5.8 – Tatum’ was out on July 20, 2021. It is the latest version of WordPress. This update has a lot of exciting features that will make you think that choosing WordPress to build your website was the best thing.
- Manage Widgets with Blocks: Now you can add blocks both in widget areas across your site and with live preview through the Customizer. This opens up new possibilities to create content: from no-code mini layouts to the vast library of core and third-party blocks.
- Display Posts with New Blocks and Patterns: The Query Loop Block makes it possible to display posts based on specified parameters; like a PHP loop without the code. Easily display posts from a specific category, to do things like create a portfolio or a page full of your favorite recipes. Think of it as a more complex and powerful Latest Posts Block. Plus, pattern suggestions make it easier than ever to create a list of posts with the design you want.
- Edit the Templates Around Posts: You can use the familiar block editor to edit templates that hold your content—simply activate a block theme or a theme that has opted in for this feature. Switch from editing your posts to editing your pages and back again, all while using a familiar block editor. There are more than 20 new blocks available within compatible themes.
- Overview of the Page Structure: Sometimes you need a simple landing page, but sometimes you need something a little more robust. As blocks increase, patterns emerge, and content creation gets easier, new solutions are needed to make complex content easy to navigate. List View is the best way to jump between layers of content and nested blocks. Since the List View gives you an overview of all the blocks in your content, you can now navigate quickly to the precise block you need.
- Suggested Patterns for Blocks: Starting in this release the Pattern Transformations tool will suggest block patterns based on the block you are using. Right now, you can give it a try in the Query Block and Social Icon Block. As more patterns are added, you will be able to get inspiration for how to style your site without ever leaving the editor.
- Style and Colorize Images: Colorize your image and cover blocks with duotone filters. Duotone can add a pop of color to your designs and style your images (or videos in the cover block) to integrate well with your themes. You can think of the duotone effect as a black and white filter, but instead of the shadows being black and the highlights being white, you pick your own colors for the shadows and highlights.
Developers will definitely love what this update has to offer including:
- IE11’s removal from the list of supported browsers
- the new block configuration and styling mechanism based on theme.json
- the improved block registration system based on block.json
- Many API improvements
Hopefully, this article has helped you to understand how WordPress has evolved as a CMS over the time and what are the key points of the most recent versions.
Still have some doubts about this? To get some expert advice you can call us on 1-866-332-O276. Our team of WordPress experts will assist you with all your queries.