What’s New in WordPress 6.4 and What Does It Mean for the Enterprise?
With the completion of the Site Editor, WordPress 6.3 represented a major milestone in the history of the Gutenberg project. The next step in Gutenberg’s evolution is enhancing collaboration, and work has started in earnest to build foundational components of this capability. These dovetail well with WordPress VIP’s own collaboration roadmap that will build upon Core capabilities.
However, in parallel, work hasn’t stopped in the evolution of WordPress. On Nov. 7, 2023, WordPress 6.4 is set to release. And deliver several key areas of enhancements we think are quite significant.
Moving forward block design flexibility
One of the biggest challenges enterprise organizations face is ensuring the right blend of flexibility and consistency across their site. WordPress VIP has delivered enterprise capabilities to better fill these needs ranging from integration with Figma to enable a design system to our new block governance capabilities. Each builds on Core, and the Core team have made exciting enhancements to further the flexibility of blocks.
A better way to prevent block editing
When we built our governance capabilities, we had to build our own bespoke block locking code to solve customer challenges.
But Core has now created an API that makes this much easier for both WordPress VIP customers and others. Based on our feedback and the needs of the community writ large, they are introducing a public API to programmatically disable editing of a block or only allow editing a block without options to move or delete a block.
Better management of Group blocks and Patterns
It’s common in the Block Editor to use several Group blocks—writers use them to bundle smaller blocks. In fact it’s not uncommon to see a piece of content that consists of half a dozen group blocks in a row. While this is useful, it can be taxing to understand the purpose or substance of each group. WordPress 6.4 enables you to rename each group with a more meaningful label in the List View, making managing and updating complex content easier. This is especially useful when dealing with Patterns that include several groups.
New design options
WordPress 6.4 adds several new options to enhance design. For example, it includes options to add these to placeholders before the image is added, enabling Patterns to utilize these controls. This means users see where an image needs to be inserted while ensuring that image matches the design pattern the organization has set, reducing the likelihood of design errors.
WordPress 6.4 also enables more fine-grained control of buttons and headings within a given Group or Column block, background within a Group, and vertical text.
The WordPress VIP team continues to provide feedback to the WordPress Core team while building upon WordPress Core capabilities to ensure: 1) better design controls are available for the enterprise, and 2) enterprise-level governance aligns well with new capabilities.
One particularly interesting new capability in WordPress 6.4 is the introduction of Block Hooks. These enable plugin developers to automatically add blocks where they might be needed in relation to another block. For example, a social plugin can add a like button to the end of a post content block, or an ecommerce shopping cart plugin can specify that it should be inserted at the end of a navigation block.
However, organizations are still in control. If a template or template part is modified, auto-insertion can be discarded.
Other WordPress 6.4 enhancements
WordPress 6.4 also includes a host of additional improvements that continue to refine the experience for content creators.
- Command Palette enhancements: WordPress 6.3 enabled a new Command Palette to provide a shortcut to specific actions in the Site Editor. WordPress 6.4 further improves the design and the number of actions accessible from the Command Palette.
- Easy lightbox functionality for images: A simple, clickable setting enables images to expand to full screen, ideal for zooming in on complex diagrams. This can be set globally or per image.
- Image Preview in the List View: Looking at the outline of content, thumbnails of images help you easily tell them apart.
- Writing flow improvements: Several changes were made to the List View and individual blocks to make writing easier, such as shortcuts for de-selecting or duplicating blocks. You can now merge lists, too.
- Performance improvements: Template loading and object caching are now more efficient.
Find out more about WordPress 6.4
This is just a subset of the new capabilities in WordPress 6.4. Learn more about the release here.
Michael Khalili, Director of Product Marketing, VIP