What’s New in WordPress 6.5 and What Does It Mean for the Enterprise?

New APIs, improved font management, and usability improvements are on deck

WordPress Core is set to release WordPress 6.5 on April 2, 2024.

The release contains a slew of enhancements big and small. We wanted to highlight the most interesting for enterprise content creators and developers

New APIs open up new flexibility

WordPress 6.5 contains substantial enhancements that make developing for WordPress much simpler. 

Connect block attributes and Custom Fields with help from the Block Bindings API

Many sites use custom fields depending on their unique needs. Previously, to surface those custom fields in the user experience, developers had to build custom blocks that content creators could then add. WordPress 6.5 removes much of this need by allowing developers to bind core blocks like paragraphs and images to these custom fields, pulling in data as necessary. 

Result? Less of the maintenance formerly required across releases. But it also opens the door to pulling in additional dynamic data from other sources. For the first time, WordPress 6.5 offers a public API allowing developers to register their own sources.  And support for post metadata is just the start. The plan is to add more built-in sources, such as site, user, and taxonomy data, in WordPress 6.6. Stay tuned.

Read more about this capability: part 1, part 2.

Create rich interactions with the Interactivity API

WordPress 6.5 adds a new API to add interactivity to the frontend of blocks. This enables the ability to create interactive experiences for anyone visiting your site,  like “add to cart” without page loads. Previous WordPress versions began allowing interactivity on individual blocks, but this new API creates a standard and performant way for developers to do so on their own blocks.

Learn more about this API.

Opt Classic Themes into new capabilities

While Block Themes are the preferred way to build new WordPress experiences, many enterprises still use Classic Themes. As blocks progressed, these companies often weren’t able to take advantage of some of the new WordPress capabilities. For example, adding a simple border to a Group block required support for Appearance Tools—this functionality wasn’t available with Classic Themes. 

WordPress 6.5 opens these design tools up to Classic Themes, enabling them to take advantage of options like border color, radius and width, link color, margin, padding, line height, and more. This is an opt-in feature.

Likewise, work is underway to open up Patterns to Classic Themes. For example, WordPress 6.5 creates a new Patterns tab for classic themes under Appearance. This is all part of an overall effort to bring the modern experience available in the Site Editor for patterns to Classic Themes.  

Introducing the Font Library

Most WordPress users are familiar with the Media Library, the place where we store and find images and other media. WordPress 6.5 adds a new library that does much the same with fonts for Block Themes. 

The Font Library offers a couple of options for installing fonts. Upload your own manually or connect to Google Fonts to search and install fonts from there. Enterprises can also take advantage of increased flexibility when building their own font libraries and choosing the upload location to make sure it works with any setup.

See the Font Library in action.

Continuing usability and performance improvements

Usability and an intuitive experience are hallmarks of WordPress. And WordPress 6.5 continues to build upon these with many improvements. The Site Editor now makes it easier to manage important parts of your site with new “Manage all templates” and “Manage all template parts” views, as well as different layouts for browsing templates, patterns, and pages. 

This is a foundational step to future support for more collaborative workflows. Later, for example, an editor who needs to review new posts could look at a saved “view” that contains all posts with a “ready to review” status. As they release, such workflow types will be a big win for many enterprise customers.

WordPress 6.5 also improves drag-and-drop functionality within the Block Editor, increased flexibility to rename almost all blocks in the List View, more than 65 accessibility enhancements, and smaller usability changes throughout the entire experience.

Faster performance

WordPress 6.5 makes a big leap here.

In both the Site Editor and Post Editor, we’ve seen a significant improvement in performance metrics, including 5x faster typing processing and 2x faster editor loading. In short, as you type, your words will appear faster and the editors will load quicker.

An example of putting it all together: custom mega menus

WordPress 6.5 offers multiple enhancements that open up a realm of easier ways to solve common challenges. For example, this article shows how the combination of Block Themes, the out-of-the-box,  the Interactivity API, and other WordPress 6.5 capabilities streamlines creating a mega menu. 

While there are many ways to create a mega menu for site-wide navigation, this example offers a simple way to quickly develop one that’s rich, interactive, and well integrated with the site design.

Find out more about WordPress 6.5

This is just a subset of the new capabilities in WordPress 6.5. Find out more about the release and review our earlier hot takes on WordPress 6.4, 6.3, 6.2, 6.1, and 6.0.


Michael Khalili, Director of Product Marketing, WordPress VIP

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