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What’s new in WordPress 6.3 “Lionel”?

WordPress has recently released the newest version of WordPress. It was released on August 8, 2023, and named after Lionel Hampton, the celebrated American jazz artist. WordPress 6.3 has something to pique your interest. As you unpack and explore this latest release, you will discover updated functions and navigation designed to help you work and create with less effort, design tools that give you more control over layout, and added functionality enriching the site-building experience.

¬†WordPress 6.2 ‚ÄúDolphy,‚ÄĚ was the first major release of 2023 and was released on March 29, 2023, whereas WordPress 6.3 is the second major release of 2023. WordPress 6.2 improved the navigation menu block, template browsing experience, pattern insertions, site editor comes out of beta, distraction-free mode, and Sticky Positioning along with¬†11 new features¬†after completing 4 beta versions, 354 bug fixes for editors, and 292 enhancements.¬†

In this article, we will try to overview all the improvements, updates, and enhancements that came with WordPress version 6.3′ Lionel’. Don’t wanna utilize the newest and cool features? If yes you can download WordPress 6.3, and update automatically from the Dashboard > Updates menu in your site‚Äôs admin area.

Feature Updates and Improvements of WordPress version 6.3.

This significant release opens new possibilities for the creative expression of designers, creators, and builders. Powerful new tools, improvements in design, color, style, layouts, and enhancements in other areas give users confidence and allow them to easily manage their sites. Let’s figure out what’s new with WordPress Version 6.3. 

1. New Navigation in the site editor

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New navigation introduced in WordPress version 6.3 allows users to select not just template or template parts but also pages, styles, patterns, and navigation menus.

Navigation: The navigation block enables you to move the menu items up or down or delete them from a drop-down. You can also drag and drop items to arrange the menu order.

Styles: Likewise, the Styles menu lets you choose and preview the style variations of your theme. Here you can preview the available styles, apply one and make your customizations.

Pages: The site editor will now allow you to easily select ‚ÄėPages‚Äô from the editor navigation menu. You can now open and edit the page directly via the Site Editor, eliminating the need to go to the dedicated page editor. You can¬†create new pages, edit content and layout for existing pages, access page details, and more. Clicking on this will also show you the pages you edited most recently, enabling you to quickly resume edits on a page you have been working on.

Templates: With WordPress 6.3, when you create a new template, a new modal overlay provides a list of pages for you to choose for your template. There’s also the option to create a new template.

Patterns: This replaces the previous Template Parts menu, and it contains template parts and both synced and unsynced patterns. Here you’ll find a menu that gives you access to Template parts and Block patterns divided by category.

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2. Preview the block theme in the site editor

A new theme preview parameter allows every block theme to be loaded in the Site Editor and previewed before activation. To preview a block theme, navigate to the Appearance > Themes screen and hover over any block themes. This will help users test-drive a theme before activating it on their sites.

3. A new block pattern system

This version has brought an intuitive way to manage¬†patterns. You can view all your patterns inside the site editor. Reusable blocks¬†have been renamed to¬†Synced patterns, regular block patterns are now named¬†Not synced patterns. You can now create synced and not synced block patterns directly from the site or post editor. Arrange blocks and save them to the ‚ÄėMy Patterns‚Äô section for use throughout your site.

Wanna try this enhancement,  open your WordPress dashboard and go to Posts -> Add New. Once there, create a new group of blocks or simply select the WordPress blocks you want to add to your block pattern. Then select create pattern/reusable block from the pop-up menu of the block toolbar.

In the Site editor, a create pattern button allows you to create a new template part or pattern.

4. The New command tool/palette

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You can switch to a specific template or open your editor preferences with a new tool that helps you quickly access expanded functionality. Simply press the CTRL + K or Command + K keys on your keyboard. This will bring up the command tool, where you can simply start typing to search.

It will then show you matching templates, template parts, patterns, blocks, posts and pages, and more. Selecting an item from the results will open it in the site editor. You can also register your custom commands from the new Command Palette API to render, register, and unregister commands.

5. Style revision to easily undo changes

Style revisions allow you to navigate through revisions in the Global Styles interface, and preview, and restore your content at any point in time. Visualize these revisions in a timeline and access a one-click option to restore prior styles. To access the Revision history, click on the new Revisions button in the Styles panel. Basically, it provides a list of revisions in a timeline and the name of the author with the date and time of each revision in a tooltip.

WordPress makes it super easy to undo changes to posts and pages using this revisions feature.

6. Show or hide content with a detail box

This feature lets you create an interactive Q&A section, or hide a long paragraph under a heading. It’s useful for compactly presenting extensive content such as code snippets, product specifications, and spoilers.

This detail block consists of two separate elements: summary and hidden content. By default, the content is hidden but you can change the setting in the block settings sidebar. Moreover, it can be a handy replacement for accordions, which are commonly used to add FAQs or information in a compact style.

7. Footnotes blocks

With this version, users can now simply select the ‚ÄėFootnote‚Äô option using the three-dot menu in the toolbar. Adding a footnote to a text block (paragraph, heading, and lists) requires just a couple of clicks. Place the cursor where you want to add the link and click on the¬†Footnote¬†button available in the block context menu.

Footnotes add convenient annotations throughout your content. Now you can add and link footnotes for any paragraph. The Footnotes block automatically adds, removes, and reorders your footnotes as you edit your text and this is extremely useful, especially with long-form articles.

8. Reducing Distractions in the Site Editor

Previously, a distraction-free mode was limited to the post and page editor but now extends its availability to the site editor as well. It accesses site authors with a preview experience, allowing you to focus on your content without any distractions. Once Distraction Free mode has been enabled, sidebars and toolbars disappear, letting you free to focus on your edits.

9. Color and layout support for cover blocks

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Users can now choose its layout options, similar to the Group block. WordPress 6.3 has added useful settings for a Cover block where text color, layout controls, and border options, make this powerful block even more handy.

It also supports duotone filters, text color design tools, and all border-related design tools as well.

10. Improved margin and padding control

Previously, if you unlinked padding and margin controls, they took up a lot of space in the right column. This version improves padding and margin controls more compact and easy to use.

11. Image aspect ratio

Image aspect ratio enables users to easily select the image size while maintaining the aspect ratio. Previously, replacing one image with another required both images to be of the same size. But now this version 6.3 added Image Size Controller that now accesses the aspect ratio, scale, width, and height options.

12. PHP version support

Starting with WordPress 6.3 version, it dropped its support for PHP 5 and raised the minimum supported version to 7.0.0. You are recommended to use PHP version 7.4 or higher for optimal performance. Using PHP’s highest version improves your website security and performance.

13. Improvements for Developers

WP development mode has been introduced where developers can indicate whether their primary focus is on core development, plugin development, theme development, or a combination of all three aspects. In addition, WordPress 6.3 introduces support for registering scripts with async and defer attributes, enhancing the core’s existing Scripts API. This allows developers to define loading strategies for scripts, offering three options: blocking (default), deferred, and asynchronous.

Summary

In sum, we can say that this new release brought us significant improvements in the editing experience, including new editing features within the site editor, a new and more flexible block pattern system, new blocks, better performance, improvements to accessibility and internationalization, and much more. The aforementioned features and improvements described are some noticeable changes.

You can check other improvements with this release that hasn’t been described in this article. Duotone filter enhancement helps set a Duotone filter globally from the Site Editor‚Äôs Style panel and apply them regardless of the current theme or theme variation as long as it uses the same slug. List view improvements allow you to drag and drop to every content layer and delete any block you would like in the updated List View. Similarly, the Rollback feature¬†automatically restores the previously installed version to ensure the website remains available to its users.

Wanna know all updates and all released version enhancements to this date from its origin? Well, check our article to know the inspiring history of WordPress: WordPress history.

Explore new features of WordPress 6.3 and enhance your site-building experience.

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