So WordPress 6.4 – nicknamed “Shirley” was released recently, and as an idea for something to write about, I thought I’d write a quick post as to it’s new features that have emerged from it.
One of the cool features I use all the time with clients is “Patterns”. These are sections of blocks that will allow you to scale up elements quickly and easily. When I build websites I often give clients a bunch of patterns that they can play with. However, they were cumbersome at times as the Pattern layout was hidden and often had a bunch of obtuse names.
There is now a more visual layout, which will include the ability to group patterns into categories. Rather than rely on a name descriptor, you can now see clearly what the pattern looks like, and I can also group client categories into sections. Granted most of my clients have around 10-15 patterns maximum, it’s still useful to see this and how it is presented.
Native lightbox of images
One new feature I’m going to use a lot of is the “Expand on Click”. This is on images and will allow you to expand images when you click on them. I’ve implemented it on the images on this page, if you click them you should get an expanded image!
I am very excited by this – as it’s functionality we call “Lightboxes”. WordPress hasn’t necessarily been the best at handling images and what happens when you click on them – either going to a separate page or opening the image in a new tab. This fixes this issue finally. This should have a speed improvement on sites going forward as we don’t have to use third party lightbox functionality. Plus it’s one less thing I have to code for clients that clients would find useful.
List View Improvements
I find the List View within WordPress a wonderful place to see how pages on my site are structured. Unfortunately for the longest time areas of the pages were just labelled “Group”. Now we can rename groups so they stand out a bit more. Furthermore, we now get an image thumbnail so we can see exactly the image we’re editing. A sizeable quality of life improvement there, and two features I would find useful – especially with clients. To rename a group, select it in List View, click the three vertical dots to the right, and click “rename”
Saying Goodbye to Attachment Pages!
Attachment pages are being removed, which is great for SEO. Previously, when you uploaded an image there was a page generated with just that image on it. These are now switched off by default. This is a great for SEO as often these pages would accidentally rank. Now Google won’t waste time crawling these pages and instead focusing on pages that are good and offer a great user experience. Most folk switched them off anyway (it was an option within most SEO plugins), but it’s good it’s now in core.
Other new features
These are the features I’m most excited about and most relevant to my clients, however there are other things that are present:-
- A new default theme is included: Twenty Twenty-Four, which will showcase the latest blocks and features of WordPress.
- General performance improvements of queries. This again should make WordPress quicker.
- Block Hooks, which could be exciting and I’ll be introducing it to my Freelance Availability Widget, as it allows other developers to write code that would change how individual blocks work.
- Improvements to the command palette within the Full Site Editor, with a bunch of new commands. I don’t really use the Full Site Editor much but I know some folks rave about it.
One last thing – women & non-binary release
Although not a feature, but something incredibly cool, is that in this release was entirely led by women and non-binary folk. It’s the second release of this nature (the last time was WordPress 5.6). I look forward to the next one.
Those are WordPress 6.4 new features that I’m a fan of. If you are on one of my WordPress Maintenance plans, you should be on WordPress 6.4, or will be very soon. If not, drop me a line and see what I can do for you.