WordPress 6.3, codenamed "Lionel," marks the second major release of the year. This update brings together ten Gutenberg versions into the WordPress core, ushering in exciting features like synced patterns and style revisions. These enhancements elevate the block editor's capabilities and expand your options for customization.
In addition to these user-centric improvements, WordPress 6.3 introduces performance enhancements and developer-focused updates, including a new database query caching system and the introduction of the command palette API.
Let's delve into the world of WordPress 6.3 and explore its myriad offerings.
WordPress contributors are striving to finalize the Site Editor in this version by introducing all the necessary features for block-based customization. Consequently, WordPress 6.3 is brimming with updates designed to enhance the editing experience. Let's examine them in detail.
In WordPress 6.3, the worlds of reusable blocks and block patterns converge, revolutionizing customization possibilities. This release introduces two types of patterns: synced patterns, akin to reusable blocks, and unsynced patterns, behaving like regular block patterns. Users can now create patterns directly within the Site Editor, simplifying the process significantly.
To create a synced or unsynced pattern:
Synced patterns appear in the "Synced patterns" tab on the block inserter panel, while unsynced patterns reside in the "My patterns" category.
The navigation sidebar in the Site Editor, accessible by clicking the WordPress or site logo at the top-left corner, receives a makeover in WordPress 6.3. It now offers improved options for efficient navigation and component management within the Site Editor.
The new menus on the navigation sidebar include:
Editing templates within the Site Editor becomes more convenient with the "Quick Switch to Template Editing" feature. This functionality enables seamless transitions between editing a page and editing its associated template. The "Edit template" button, accessible from the page settings panel, facilitates this swift switch.
The command palette presents an efficient way to navigate between templates, access specific panels, or create new posts and pages. It streamlines the process of finding and executing desired tasks within the Site Editor, offering a valuable shortcut.
The command palette can be found at the top of the Site Editor or accessed via the CTRL+K keyboard shortcut.
Style revision introduces the ability to track and revert style changes made to your website's design. Accessible via the global styles panel, it displays a history of style changes, complete with timestamps and user attributions. This feature empowers you to revert to previous styles with ease.
Distraction-free mode, a familiar feature in the page and post editor, makes its way to the Site Editor in WordPress 6.3. It declutters the interface by hiding the sidebar, top panel, and block toolbar, fostering a focused editing environment.
For those who still require access to panels, the top toolbar feature offers a solution. It consolidates the block toolbar into the top panel, eliminating the need for additional screen space.
WordPress 6.3 enhances customizability by introducing new native blocks that facilitate the creation of engaging content. Notable additions include:
Existing blocks receive enhancements to streamline the editing process. Notable improvements include:
Performance Improvements and Developer Updates
WordPress 6.3 includes vital under-the-hood improvements to enhance performance and cater to developers' needs.
With just 3.8% of installations using PHP 5.6, WordPress 6.3 raises the minimum supported PHP version to 7.0.0. Websites running PHP and WordPress 6.2 will continue receiving security updates. It's recommended to upgrade to PHP 7.4 for improved performance and security.
The introduction of the command palette API empowers developers to add or remove commands within the command palette. Commands fall into three categories: static, dynamic, and contextual, offering flexibility and customization options.
The WordPress Performance team enhances the core caching system in WordPress 6.3. Notably, WP_User_Query now benefits from database query caching, reducing overall database query load and improving site performance. Additionally, new cache groups specific to queries provide greater control over cache objects, allowing for tailored cache management.
Update Your Website to WordPress 6.3 Now
Armed with a comprehensive understanding of WordPress 6.3, it's time to prepare your website for the update. Ensure you create a backup and utilize a staging environment to thoroughly test WordPress 6.3 with a copy of your site. This approach minimizes the risk of compatibility issues affecting your live site. In the event of critical errors, you can troubleshoot them in the staging environment before deploying the update to your production site.