WordPress 5.4 “Adderley” was released a couple of days ago. This major update includes all-new social icons and buttons blocks, improvements to the block editor, and new APIs for theme and plugin developers.
This release was brought by contributions from 168 new volunteers whos submitted 552 contributors in total.
Block Editor Features and enhancements
Users who have not been running the Gutenberg plugin, the project behind editor development, will enjoy an improved editor experience. This release will include features from Gutenberg 6.6 through 7.5.
The development team refined the user experience with updates such as making it easier to select multiple blocks and pinning the toolbar to the top of the screen on mobile devices. They introduced a Welcome Guide modal to familiarize end-users with the block editor. Block breadcrumbs are easier to navigate.
Bug fixes from more recent versions of the plugin are also included.
The biggest user-facing change is that the block editor now defaults to fullscreen mode. Users who do not prefer fullscreen mode can revert this change by clicking the tools and options button (vertical ellipsis icon) and uncheck the “Fullscreen mode” option.
WordPress has added a gradient background feature to the button and cover blocks. Users can change the color of individual bits of text within all rich text fields.
The featured image box supports dragging and dropping an image.
The block editor has two new blocks: social icons and buttons. The social icons block allows users to add a group of linked icons to their social networks. This feature will become more useful once WordPress moves to full-site editing in the future. For now, usage may be limited by being able to place them only in post or page content. The buttons block lets end-users create a group of buttons. The existing button block is allowed only within the buttons block now.
Changes for Developers
WordPress 5.4 introduces several changes, some of which break backward compatibility, for plugin and theme authors. For a full overview, see our coverage of the most important code changes in our version 5.4 developer preparation post.
Theme authors now have access to the Gradients API for the cover and button blocks. They should also make sure their theme block styles handle the new social icons and buttons blocks.
There are some breaking changes that themes and authors need to make sure their items stay compatible.
Several CSS classes have been renamed within the block editor. The core team also rewrote the HTML markup for the calendar widget and updated its classes.
Block developers can now use the Collections API to group collections of blocks by namespace. The Variations API allows developers to create variations of an individual block. The new social icons block makes good use of this API to create variations for each of the social icons.
Plugin and theme authors have new hooks for adding custom fields to nav menus.
WordPress 5.4 also introduces the
apply_shortcodes() alias for the former