It’s Time to Upgrade to WordPress 5.2

WordPress 5.2 Blog Cover

Have you been waiting impatiently for the upgrade to WordPress 5.2 version? Do you know that there is a patch version 5.2.1 released and 32 high priority bugs already fixed? Do you want to be reminded what were the new features of WordPress 5.2 version?

The WordPress 5.2 version was officially launched on May 7th, 2019 and since then it’s been downloadable for your website. The new patch version is a short-cycle maintenance release and contains fixes to stabilize the system. Version 5.2.2 is expected to follow in approximately two weeks.

Sites that support automatic background updates have already started to update automatically.

Features of WordPress 5.2

Ready, steady, go!

Site Health Check

The site health check was introduced in WordPress 5.1 version. However, in WordPress 5.2 version it adds two new pages to resolve common debug configuration issues and have also provided developers with extra space. Thereby, all the debugging information can be restored for site maintainers.

Do you want a sites health check?

Go to Tools → Site Health where you can check the website status and see all crucial information e.g. server, PHP parameters, and much more. The site health check shows critical information about your WordPress configuration and items that require your attention. You should try to reach 100% of site health to make sure everything runs smoothly.

PHP Error Protection

With the help of this feature, you can safely fix and manage all your fatal errors without any developers support.  Fatal errors are the most common errors that leave a dreadful imprint on your WordPress site, especially the white screen of death. At times, users are unable to access their WordPress admin due to these fatal errors. However, with the help of this upgrade, the user can quickly recover from deadly mistakes and regain control over their WordPress admin with ease.

So, if you encounter a fatal error, WordPress will send you a unique login link via email. Log in to your admin using that link and undo all the changes that triggered the error. Wasn’t that simple, yet fast and efficient?

Improvements for Everyone

WordPress has improved the performance and its block editor greatly than its previous versions. It has brought a substantial amount of changes beloved already by many people. The new block editor will now shave 35% off the load time for massive posts. WordPress 5.2 will also cut the keypress time in half, which would make it feel way more responsive when you are typing. The following interesting new blocks have been added to the new version like:

  • RSS Block – it will allow you to display any RSS feed in your WordPress posts and pages.
  • Amazon Kindle Embed Block – allows you to embed content from Amazon Kindle
  • Search Block – add the default WordPress search feature in your content.
  • Calendar Block –allowing users to click on a date to view posts published on that day.
  • Tag Cloud Block – displays the tag counts in your content.

Accessibility Updates

WordPress 5.2 has brought along a vast number of changes that improved contextual awareness and keyboard navigation flow for screen users and assistive technologies. Want to know some of the additional accessibility changes in 5.2 version?

Here is the list below:

  • Post formats in list tables.
  • Admin bar submenu link markup.
  • Archive bar submenu link markup.
  • Archive widget dropdown improvements.
  • Addition of a new media view.
  • Adjustments are made in alt text and URL fields in the media modals.

New Dashboard Icons

13 new awesome dashicons have been introduced and updated. Remember, it’s after three years that the WordPress dashboard has been updated. A new built-in process has been incorporated into the dashicons repository so users can add new icons with ease.

Plugins Compatibility Checks

With the help of this version, you can prevent various compatibility errors. If your site version of PHP is not compatible with installed plugins, WordPress will not allow you to activate it. 

Updates for Developers

If you are a developer, you have good news. WordPress 5.2 has brought together a wide range of upgrades for developers from PHP version bump to building modern Javascript. Here are the enlisted updates:

Update 1: PHP Version Bump

You can now enjoy the 5.6.20 minimum supported PHP version. So, now with this updated version, developers can enjoy the advantage of coding standards updates such as namespaces, anonymous functions, short array syntax, concise ternary syntax and much more. 

Update 2: Privacy Update

The privacy policy page and data export have also brought remarkable enhancements.

To enhance the customization and designing policy page easy, four new features are added:

  • A new function is_privacy_policy has been added.
  • A new template file privacy-policy.php has been added.
  • Two new classes have been added, body class privacy-policy and menu item class menu-item-privacy-policy.

Whereas, users do not need to use the hardcoded list of allowed tags anymore, instead loosened tag restriction in user data export are entailed.

Update 3: New Body Tag Hook

With the new version, users can support injecting code at the begging of the <body> element, simply by introducing a wp_body_open hook.

Update 4: Build JavaScript

Setting up sophisticated build tools, and writing modern JavaScripts cannot be simpler with the help of Webpack and Babel Configuration in the @WordPress/scripts package.

So, Is It The Right Time to Upgrade to WordPress 5.2 Yet?

Remember that WordPress 5.2 does not allow you to activate any plugin when any compatibility checks fail. Before upgrading, please make sure that there has officially stated that all the installed plugins and themes have tested with the new WordPress version. This reduces the risks and decreases the chance of unwanted surprises appearing after upgrading to the new version. However, I strongly recommend to try the upgrade process in your staging environment first, make sure that everything works as expected and then do the same in your production environment. There are always some small or not that small gotchas when upgrading to a new major or minor version so you should better make sure there is no headache afterward.

To make your life easier, I have created a quick staging environment setup guide for you, please proceed to Staging Setup.

Wrapping It Up

WordPress 5.2 is upgraded with loads of useful features and enhancements. Therefore, upgrading to 5.2 will surely help you optimize your WordPress website. It is benefiting users as well as developers with a range of essential features. Its PHP error protection feature and new site health check are just rocking out.

If you have any question related to WordPress 5.2, feel free to share in the comment section below. I will be more than happy to assist you.

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