WordPress 5.1 – What’s all that jazz about?

WordPress is an open source content management system (CMS) that reportedly fires up more than 30 percent of content on the internet. That’s a lot. To put it in perspective, the platform is used by more than 60 million websites.

So, naturally when they come up with a new version, it is a pretty big deal.

Since WordPress 5.0 “Bebo,” released in December 2018, the creators came up with an updated version WordPress 5.1 “Betty,” a mere two months later. This version is named after legendary jazz singer, Betty Carter.

So what makes the update special?

Let’s dive into all the perks and improvements on offer in WordPress 5.1.

The update’s chief developer  was none other than Matt Mullenweg. He had help from Gary Pendergast and a team of 561 contributors. Among the contributors, 41 percent were making their first contribution.

WordPress 5.1’s predecessor, WordPress 5.0,  was monumental in terms of change as it introduced a new block based editor “Gutenberg,” replacing the good old text editor which looked and worked quite similar to Microsoft Word.

So, what does the update has to offer?

According to the official website, it’s a more polished version that will give you an overall better performance of the editor. It also promises faster usage and more security.

Alerts on Site Health

This version introduces the vital “Site Health” checks for your website. It will notify administrators if the PHP (programing language used on WordPress) version needs to be updated. Another feature will be checking the PHP version with plug-in downloads. Say if a plug-in requires an updated PHP version than what the site is using, WordPress would halt the installation process.

Improved Editor Performance

The most significant update of this version is the improvement in editor performance. The newly introduced block editor should feel more smoother to type and quicker when firing up. WordPress also promises further  improvements during the next updated releases.

Photo by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash

Apart from these major changes, WordPress 5.1 promises several little bounties for site developers.

Multisite Happiness

Sites now have a new database table to store metadata. In addition to that, for multisite and networks, storage for related arbitrary site data is also allowed.

Updated Cron API

The Cron API has new functions to facilitate returning data and new filters have been introduced to reconstruct Cron storage. Other behavioral changes affecting Cron spawning have also been added for a few specific servers.

New JavaScript Build Processes

A large amount of code was reorganised owing to the changes made in the WordPress 5.0 version, “Betty” now provides a new JavaScript build option.

The recently released version also contains various other improvements such as, but not limited to, new plug-in action hooks, new human_readable_duration function and a “doing it wrong” notice while registering REST API endpoints.

The announcement article on the official WordPress website promises more updates and perks in the newly released version than the ones mentioned above.

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