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Two decades after it saw the light of day, WordPress remains the most popular content management system in the world. One thing that earns this platform the abiding love of users and developers is the commitment of its team to producing regular updates, with major releases coming out several times a year.
Now, we are about to witness the next big update to WordPress. On August 8, 2023, the WordPress team is going to release another major version of the platform – WordPress 6.3. This edition brings to the table a lot of enhancements to the interface and functionality, making the system more streamlined and user-friendly than ever before.
If you are curious about the new features that the WordPress team has included in the latest version of the CMS, we have prepared this brief review for you. Note that we are not going to discuss changes to the core, focusing on the new functionality from a user perspective.
Let’s get started.
One of the biggest changes in WordPress 6.3 in comparison with the current version is the improved Site Editor with additional features and capabilities. While the Site Editor in WordPress 6.2 enables you to select the template/template parts you want to customize, WordPress 6.3 considerably expands this functionality.
Now, you can also work with Pages, Patterns, Styles, and Navigation menus. No more hopping from admin panel to admin panel to edit a specific part of your website – a tremendous time saver!
Let’s go over the Site Editor navigation sections that have been added or received notable updates. You can access the site Editor by going to Appearance -> Editor in the Dashboard sidebar.
This Site Editor section is the former Template Parts menu, which has now been augmented with patterns. We review it first because WordPress 6.3 introduces a major change to how patterns are perceived.
From now on, reusable blocks are called patterns. That’s not all, though. There are also two types of patterns: synced and non-synced.
What is the difference? When you edit a synced pattern, the changes will be reflected in every instance of that pattern across your website. By contrast, any updates to a non-synced pattern will affect that particular instance of the pattern and no other anywhere on the site.
The beauty of the new system is that it allows you to create both types of patterns in the Site Editor and Post Editor, whereas in the current version of WordPress, you can only create reusable blocks.
Click the plus icon, name your pattern, select its type, and it will automatically appear in the My patterns section, where you can always view and edit it. You can also create template parts here. To view and edit the custom patterns and template parts you have created, use the Manage all of my patterns and Manage all template parts options at the bottom of the Patterns section.
This is another feature that makes the task of editing the content of a WordPress website way easier. While in the current version of the system, you have to go to the page editor to open and edit a certain page, the new version allows you to do that right within the Site Editor.
More than that. You can also create pages in the Site Editor by clicking the plus icon. That, again, saves you tons of time and mouse clicks. The Pages section lists all the pages of your website, including those with the “draft” status. It also displays the most recent pages that you edited so that you can continue updating a specific page where you left off.
The Templates section has not undergone many changes in comparison with the current version of WordPress. It lists every template you have on your website, which you can open and edit inside the Site Editor.
The part that has changed is the template creation flow. Once you click the plus icon, a modal window pops up, where you can find the available pages that you can base your template on. After you make the selection, another window opens, offering you a list of patterns to choose for the template.
The new Site Editor also contains two buttons at the top of the navigation panel: View site and Open command palette. The first one is a handy tool that gives you instant access to the front end of your website regardless of the part of the Site Editor you are working on. It is hidden until you move your mouse over it (next to the lens icon).
The second button is a completely new feature. Let’s talk about it next.
When you click on the Open command palette button at the top of the Site Editor navigation panel or press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the keyboard, that will open the command palette. Its mission is to enable users to perform actions quickly using specific commands. For example, you can switch between templates or pages, create new posts, delete a template part, and more.
Simply start typing a keyword in the box, and it will offer you a list of suggestions. Select one that you need, and it will open inside the Site Editor.
With WordPress 6.3, it is now possible to revert changes to theme styles based on the version history right within the Site Editor. Just select a block or style you want to change back, click the Styles button in the upper right-hand corner of the Editor, and then the Revisions button in the Styles panel on the right (the clock icon). Next, click Revision history.
That will display all the revisions that have been made so far along with the names of the editors and timestamps when the changes took place. Choose one that you need and you are good to go. You can also restore the original style of the block.
WordPress 6.3 introduces another useful feature that allows you to preview block themes live. In the dashboard, select Appearance -> Themes. When you move your mouse over any of the available block themes, a Live Preview button will appear. Click on it to preview the theme prior to activating it. Note that this feature works with block themes only.
That wraps up our review of the revamped Site Editor. Next, let’s look at the enhancements in Gutenberg, 10(!) versions of which will be merged with the core in WordPress 6.3.
Adding footnotes to text in the current version of WordPress is rather challenging. You either have to create your own footnotes or resort to plugins. With WordPress 6.3, you can leave those hassles in the past by using the new Footnote block.
Now, all you need to do is select the text you want to link to the footnote, click the More icon in the toolbar, and choose Footnote. The best thing is that once you delete a footnote, the rest of the footnotes automatically reorder and renumber themselves.
Consider the new Details block a perfect alternative to accordions, which are commonly used on FAQ pages. The block encompasses two elements: the title, which is visible to users, and a hidden section, which provides information related to the title. You can open the latter by clicking the downward arrow located to the left of the title.
The Details block is an indispensable tool for displaying lengthy or secret content, such as definitions or quiz answers, in a compact manner.
WordPress 6.3 provides users with an improved method to handle image aspect ratio. You can now select an image size along with the aspect ratio. For example, you can choose Standard – 4:3, Classic – 3:2, Wide – 16:9, and so on. That gives you confidence that your image will render perfectly regardless of how big or small it is.
In the new edition of WordPress, you will also find revamped margin and padding controls. Unlike the same menu in the current version, which is quite large, the new Dimensions interface takes much less room in the sidebar and is more convenient to use.
You can either specify values by steps or by setting a custom value. The system also temporarily adds color to margins and paddings so that you can clearly see the distance between page elements.
Take a look:
Finally, there are some changes to the link control menu. This is what it looks like in the current version of WordPress:
In the new edition, the link control has received additional capabilities. If you already have a URL of the page you want to reference, you can type it in or paste it into the box that pops up once you click the link control in the tool panel.
After adding the link, you can edit it by placing the cursor within the text and clicking the Edit button (the pen icon). That opens a modal window where you can change the link URL, just like you do in the current version. However, the Open in new tab option in WordPress 6.3 is not visible by default. It is located inside the Advanced section.
The most notable update to the link control, though, is the ability to create a new page right from the menu. When adding a new link, enter the name of the new page you want to create instead of the URL and select Create page: page-name.
The new features and enhancements we have reviewed in this post are only the tip of the iceberg. There could be many more changes to WordPress in version 6.3 (some features may not actually be added when the new version is released). That particularly concerns the development side. For example, the WordPress team finally decided to discontinue support for PHP 5, making PHP 7.0.0 the minimum support version of the language.
However, even the improvements we have discussed (the revamped Site Editor and new features in Gutenberg) are enough to see that the new version of WordPress significantly levels up user experience, making content creation and editing way faster and more convenient than previously.
Should you have any questions or require assistance with WordPress 6.3 when it comes out, our team will be happy to help. GetDevDone is an experienced provider of a wide range of WordPress development services, from theme creation and customization to support and maintenance and everything in between. Over almost two decades of our history, we have delivered thousands of WordPress projects to companies and agencies worldwide.
Just tell us about your needs, and we’ll get back to you with the most efficient solution to satisfy them.