WordPress 6.5 released – what new features are there?

WordPress 6.5 – nicknamed Regina (after Regina Carter) – was released recently. To continue with the series I posted recently, here’s the new features to included in it, that makes this quite the release. Here are the WordPress 6.5 new features I wanted to highlight.

Installing and managing fonts in the new Font Library

A feature that was hopefully going to be released in 6.4, but punted to this release (and also delayed it for a week) was the new Font Library. For certain themes, for when you’re able to create your own styles, you can now install fonts from Google Fonts or upload your own, and it’ll install them onto your site, allowing you to select them for any Typography. You can also use these to change the fonts sitewide, should the theme allow. Also, the fonts are served locally, rather than from Google, so are downloaded and installed onto your web server.

I’m not 100% sold on this. The font library could affect crafted designs and development work. However I’m sure you can switch it off and disable it, which would make it useful. Certainly for certain instances getting fonts this quickly would be incredibly useful. It is useful from a performance standpoint though. Going forward I can see this being the right way to implement fonts, especially for caching services like WP Rocket being used to implement font loading speed improvements.

Plugin Dependencies

This is a cool feature. You now have native plugin dependencies within WordPress. What does this mean? You won’t be able to install or activate plugins that need functionality from other plugins, and it will encourage you to install those plugins. There are more scenarios you can explore which are explained on the post. For years people have built or adapted their own solutions, especially as traditionally premium WordPress plugins tend to use the functionality from the free versions, but just add on things.

Invariably, you have to keep these methods updated. Now you don’t have to, instead having to add one line to your readme file. I’m not sure how it will work for premium plugins that lean on free functionality. Hopefully as long as the required plugin is hosted on WordPress.org, then you’re golden.

Improved Navigational Block

The Navigational Block has been the improved an awful lot. Rather than just displaying menus, it treats said menus as blocks now. They’ve introduce a native icon and mobile overlay that should work regardless of theme. This I’m already excited for as I’ve built a lot of menus in my time and mobile overlays, so this saves a lot of time.

The other thing is now, menus, appear to be block based. This is incredibly exciting as it could lead to mega menus. Now on the version I used to write this post (Beta 1), I couldn’t seem to add images/videos into menus just yet, but I’d feel that would be the next logical step. It may be possible by the time you read this.

Three new API’s in WordPress 6.5

For developers in WordPress 6.5, new features include 3 new API’s to get to grips with. The most exciting is the Interactivity API which should allow developers to do things without reloading the page – you can see an example on WP Movies, which uses it extensively when browsing movies, or liking a movie. This should help developers build richer experiences within WordPress.

Secondly a proposed Custom Field API should be able to interact fields within WordPress. So for example, if you want a Paragraph to include a custom field, instead of text, you should be able to do that.

Finally, similarly, Block binding API will allow developers to use native WordPress fields in different places. If you want a header to contain a post author, you don’t need to create a block for that, instead use the heading block and bind the post author to it. This is going to be useful as it should mean there’s less block development, going forward.

Other new features in WordPress 6.5

The above are WordPress 6.5’s new features I’m most excited about. There are other features, and these are the following.

Upgrade Today

Those are WordPress 6.5 new features that Iā€™m a fan of. If you are on one of my WordPress Maintenance plans, you should be on WordPress 6.5, or will be very soon. If not, drop me a line and see what I can do for you.

Featured Image: ā€œRegina Carter, Playingā€ by Bob Travis is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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