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WordPress 6.4 “Shirley” Released

November 8th, 2023

WordPress 6.4 has been released and given the name “Shirley” after jazz artist Shirley Horn. The new update introduces a new default theme and new upgrades aimed at improving overall user experience.

Many of the features and enhancements in WordPress 6.4 fall in the “small but mighty” category. Along with the adaptable beauty of the Twenty Twenty-Four theme, these updates help content creators and site developers alike save time and effort while delivering the high value, low hassle WordPress experience the world has grown to expect.

Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Director of WordPress

What is Included in the WordPress 6.4 Update?

New Twenty Twenty-Four Default Theme

WordPress has introduced a new default theme Twenty Twenty-Four which hopes to make a default theme that can be used on any type of website. No single topic was used, instead it focuses on three use cases which are tailored for entrepreneurs and small businesses, photographers and artists, and writers and bloggers.

The new theme is a block theme compatible with all the site editor tooling, and includes new design tools like the details block and vertical text. With a few adjustments to color and typography a new world of possibilities are available for new users and those looking to try out the new theme.

New Enhancements to the Editor

New enhancements have also been added to the functionality of the default editor including keyboard shortcuts in List View, smarter list merging, and an increase in control over link settings. A new cohesive toolbar experience for the Navigation, List and, Quote blocks also helps users work more efficiently without the need for plugins. These blocks have built-in child blocks and each block will now attach to the overall parent block preventing toolbars from blocking the content you are working on.

Updates to the Command Palette

The Command Palette which was introduced in WordPress 6.3 allows users to quickly find what they need and speed up the workflow of building your pages using the block editor. Here are the new commands that have been added since 6.3 with plans to have contextual commands in place across various editors.

  • Open List View (in the Site Editor)
  • Exit code editor
  • Hide breadcrumbs
  • Show breadcrumbs
  • Enable pre-publish checklist 
  • Disable pre-publish checklist
  • Preview in a new tab

And these are now shown when selecting a block:

  • Group
  • Ungroup
  • Duplicate
  • Remove
  • Add before
  • Add after

Categorize and Filter Patterns Update

Patterns are a way for users to use blocks as a way to simplify the process of setting up your WordPress pages. WordPress 6.4 allows the organization of Patterns with custom categories, as well as advanced filtering which helps to make finding your patterns easier than ever.

Also introduced is the ability to share your Patterns across sites via an export to JSON functionality in the Site Editor’s patterns view.

More Design Tools Added

WordPress 6.4 introduces a new set of design tools which allow for background images in group blocks, maintaining aspect ratios and the ability to add buttons to your navigation block.

These new tools also introduce the ability to natively enable lightbox functionality on specific images or globally without the use of a plugin.

Rename Group Blocks

List View will now include custom name for Group blocks which can help you organize and better control areas of the content on your WordPress website easily.

Block Hooks In Specific Content Locations

Automatic insertion of dynamic blocks in specific content locations is now easier than ever with Block Hooks, this new functionality helps users gain complete control to add, dismiss, and customize auto-inserted blocks.

WordPress 6.4 Performance Updates to Help Your Page Speed

Over 100 performance-related updates have been added to this new WordPress version helping to increase your websites page speed and page ranking. Make use of our Web Development Services to ensure that your WordPress 6.4 website is optimized and ready to move up in the rankings. Template loading performance, script loading strategies such as “defer” and “async” in core block and themes, and optimization of autoload options are included.

Accessibility Changes to WordPress 6.4

Aria label support for the navigation block as well as List View improvements hope to increase overall usability for WordPress editors when creating content. The admin user interface also includes updated button placements, “Add New” menu items contect, and spoken messages related to your overall Site Health.

Remember that WordPress has recommended the use to PHP 8.1 or 8.2 for use with WordPress 6.4.

To find out more about the new WordPress 6.4 update check out the new WordPress 6.4 page introducing many new features.

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