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WordPress 5.2.1 Update

As of May 22, WordPress has updated the 5.2 release to address 33 reported bugs. Please click the link to see the specific list of addressed issues.

As the saying goes, "Change is a part of life." Changes in software often mean improvements and fixes indicating that the developer(s) and users are active in the care and improvement of the software. WordPress has released version 5.2 nicknamed "Jaco." There have been TWO major updates of WordPress since 5.0 - the version that marked the integration of the new Gutenberg editor into the WordPress core. Version 5.2 includes several important improvements: Site Health Check, Fatal Error Recovery mode, Privacy and Accessibility updates, and Block Editor upgrades. For detailed information about these updates, please see the the WordPress 5.2 Field Guide. The minimum PHP requirements for the PHP version has also been set to version 5.6.2. These are just a few of the changes. Click on the link to the Field Guide to find out everything that has been changed. We will describe a few of the changes that impact WordPress users.

If you're new to WordPress and haven't purchased a hosting solution, check out our WordPress Hosting solutions.

Site Health Check

Status

First released in version 5.1, the Site Health Check provides a status and info report about your site. The status page tests your site and then provides recommendations. These recommendations focus on improving security and performance. You can also view the items that your site was tested for and passed. Site Health gives you a percentage score based on how well your WordPress site gets through the tests.

Info

The Information section of the Site Health tool provides information about your WordPress installation. This information includes WordPress version/settings, directories information, the active theme, Other installed themes, active plugins, media handling, server, database, WordPress Constants and file permissions. You can also copy the site info to clipboard so that you can save it or add it to a document.

PHP Error Protection

This tool is built into the core of WordPress and allows you to recover fatal errors caused by plugins and themes. This is especially addresses error events known as the "White Screen of Death" where you are given very little information about the actual source of the problem with the operation of your WordPress site (other than a blank white screen). This tool operates by doing the following:

  • An error screen advising the user/visitor that the site is having technical difficulties.
  • An email is automatically sent to the administrator email address with information about the error and a link to the recovery mode screen.
  • The recovery mode also lists out the plugins or themes that are paused because of the fatal error.

The administrator then has 3 options to attack the error:

  • Deactivate the plugin
  • Fix the problem and then restart
  • File a support ticket to the developer of the plugin/theme

It is important to note that the recovery mode helps to work around broken plugins/themes, but only pauses on a client browser that is put into recovery mode. If one viewer triggers the recovery mode, then other viewers will not see recovery mode or the website in an operational state until the issue has been resolved.

Improved Block Editor

The blocks within the editor now include a reusable block editor module. Basically, the block editor is now separate from the post editor. This means that you can edit custom blocks without being in a post. RSS and Amazon Kindle embed blocks have been added and core blocks no longer use the original TinyMCE editor.

Other Updates and Changes

There were also a number of other changes like accessibility updates for screen readers and assistive technologies, new dashboard icons, and plugin compatibility checks. Developers also got some love in the 5.2 release. The minimum support PHP version is now 5.6.2 allowing for WordPress 5.2 themes and plugins to take advantage of the updated functionality available within PHP. The Privacy Policy page is easier to customize with the addition of a new theme page template, conditional function, and two CSS classes. Themes got a boost with an new body hook that allows for code to be injected at the beginning of a body element. Finally, support for modern Javascript has been provided for developers with the addition of webpack and Babel configurations in the wordpress/scripts package.

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