WordPress 6.4 Features Announced: New Default Theme, New Blocks and Performance Upgrades

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WordPress 6.4, the third major release of this year is all set to arrive on November 7, and what makes it stand apart from the recent releases is that it will be led by an underrepresented gender release squad. This is reminiscent of  WordPress 5.6 “Simone” which was released three years ago and was the first time a major release was led by an all-women and non-binary squad.

As we are inching close to the upcoming release, Anne McCarthy has published the roadmap for WordPress 6.4. As is the case with all releases, there are a host of new enhancements and refinements planned. From these, some steal the limelight and they are:

  • The Font Library 
  • Three new blocks 
  • An all-new default theme
  • Gutenberg Phase 3
  • Design Tools
  • Performance Upgrades
  • Enhancing the rollback feature

An easy way to add and manage fonts

One feature that is going to be talked about a lot is the new Font Library. This will allow users to install fonts (be it Google fonts or local fonts). With this feature, users can also enter a demo text to preview the outcome before finalizing a font.

Source: GitHub

This is a much-needed addition to WordPress as it will greatly improve the workflow and simplify the process for a majority of the users.

Three new blocks

As per the roadmap, we have three new blocks of which the Table of Contents block is something a majority of the users have been longing for a while.

As of now with the current version, there is no straightforward way of creating a table of contents. Users have to either use a plugin or use other workarounds.

The next new block that we have a glimpse of is the Time to Read block. The issue is currently open in GitHub for feedback and discussion

The final block that the roadmap has showcased is a Scrolling Marquee Block. Now, these blocks are planned for 6.4, whether or not they will make it, only time will tell.

An all-new default theme

Source: WordPress.org

WordPress 6.4 will come with a new default theme called, Twenty Twenty-Four. This upcoming theme will be different from the rest of the default themes as it will be a base theme that will cater to a wider group of users.

“The idea behind Twenty Twenty-Four is to make a default theme that can be used on any type of site, with any topic,” core contributor Jessica Lyschik said. “Because of that, and contrary to past years, it has no single topic. Instead, three use cases were explored: one more tailored for entrepreneurs and small businesses, one tailored for photographers and artists and one specifically tailored for writers and bloggers.”

In short, this new theme can be used to create and customize any type of website rather than being limited to a particular category. The theme will use Cardo font for all the headings and sans-serif font for paragraphs. The GitHub repo for the theme has also been created where the developments can be tracked.

Gutenberg Phase 3

WordPress 6.3 marked the closure of Gutenberg Phase 2 and now for WordPress 6.4, three sets of features from Phase 3 are being explored. One is the enhancements planned for Command Palette and the other two are being actively discussed at GitHub and they are  Expanding the Table component and Improving Media.

Design tools

The various design tools are in line to get some enhancements with the upcoming version. Most of the building blocks are already there, now it is about refining them which in turn will provide better control to the users as to what can be achieved.

Performance upgrades

Each new release of WordPress raises the bar when it comes to performance. WordPress 6.3 performance improvements include 27% faster for block themes and 18% faster for classic themes, compared to WordPress 6.2.

For WordPress 6.4, the Performance team plans to do the same, with the focus being on fine-tuning various aspects and most importantly, to make proper use of the new script loading strategy APIs.

Enhancing the rollback feature

WordPress 6.3 introduced a rollback feature for failed manual plugin and theme updates and efforts are being made to improve it for WordPress 6.4. For the upcoming version, the aim is to detect any fatal errors that may occur when automatic plugin and theme updates take place. If any errors are detected, the system will automatically roll back to the previous version. 

The rest of the enhancements that are currently planned are just vast. The goal is not just to further refine the existing ones but also to bring in new features. Now, which enhancements and additions will make the final cut is something we have to wait for.

There is always a possibility of them being moved to the next milestone, but for now, the next release looks promising as always.

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