WordPress 6.5 Beta 1 is ready for download and testing!
This beta version of the WordPress software is under development. Please do not install, run, or test this version of WordPress on production or mission-critical websites. Instead, you should evaluate Beta 1 on a test server or site.
Test WordPress 6.5 Beta 1 in four ways:
|Install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester plugin on a WordPress install. (Select the “Bleeding edge” channel and “Beta/RC Only” stream).
|Download the Beta 1 version (zip) and install it on a WordPress website.
|Use the following WP-CLI command:
wp core update --version=6.5-beta1
|Use the 6.5 Beta 1 WordPress Playground instance to test the software directly in your browser without the need for a separate site or setup.
The current target date for the final release of WordPress 6.5 is March 26, 2024. Your help testing this version is key to ensuring everything in the release is stable.
How to help test this release
Testing for issues is a critical part of developing any software, and it’s a meaningful way for anyone to contribute—whether or not you have experience.
If you encounter an issue, please share it in the Alpha/Beta area of the support forums. If you are comfortable submitting a reproducible bug report, you can do so via WordPress Trac. You can also check your issue against a list of known bugs.
WordPress 6.5 will include many new features previously only available through the Gutenberg plugin. Learn more about Gutenberg updates since WordPress 6.4 in the What’s New in Gutenberg posts for versions 16.8, 16.9, 17.0, 17.1, 17.2, 17.3, 17.4, 17.5, 17.6, and 17.7.
WordPress 6.5 Beta 1 contains approximately 681 enhancements and 488 bug fixes for the editor, including about 229 tickets for WordPress 6.5 Core.
Vulnerability bounty doubles during Beta 1
The WordPress community sponsors a monetary reward for reporting new, unreleased security vulnerabilities. This reward doubles during the period between Beta 1 on February 13 and the final Release Candidate (RC) scheduled for March 19. Please follow responsible disclosure practices as detailed in the project’s security practices and policies outlined on the HackerOne page and in the security white paper.
Discover what’s on the way in WordPress 6.5
This year’s first major release will add finesse and fine-tuning to how you control your site-building experience, with lots to explore specifically for developers. You’ll find more ways to manage your fonts and styles, notable upgrades to synced patterns, a collection of Site Editor and performance updates to help you get things done, and new ways to leverage design tools in Classic themes.
WordPress 6.5 will include breakthrough foundational APIs that will start to transform how you use blocks to build memorable experiences. This release invites you to dig into these early-stage frameworks, discover how you’d like to see them evolve, and have an impact on their future improvements and capabilities.
Excited yet? Keep reading for some highlights.
Meet the Font Library
Initially slated for release in WordPress 6.4, the Font Library is one of those great things worth the wait. It gives you new capabilities for efficiently managing a vital piece of your site’s design—typography—without coding or extra steps.
With the Font Library, you can handle fonts across your site regardless of your active theme—much like how you manage assets in the Media Library. You can install local fonts or Google Fonts, and it’s easily extensible, with the ability to add your own custom typography collections.
Synced patterns get an upgrade
Synced patterns bring efficiency to the design process, letting you make global changes to particular layouts with minimal effort. However, there’s often a need to make contextual changes when it comes to content.
WordPress 6.5 introduces new enhancements to synced patterns that let you override the content in each specific instance. You can choose what content can be updated within a synced pattern—while maintaining the design and layout you’ve already created. Use it for templated pieces like recipes, testimonials, or case studies that use recurring elements to frame unique content.
This major release will introduce overrides for the Paragraph, Image, Heading, and Button blocks, with support for more blocks to come as work on synced patterns continues.
Connecting blocks and custom fields or other dynamic content
WordPress 6.5 will finally make it possible to connect core block attributes to custom fields. This capability lets you use the value of a custom field without creating custom blocks. For example, a digital publication could use custom fields with Paragraph and Image blocks. It could pull information from its individual staff writer profiles to dynamically display on its team page, like headshots and names.
The Block Bindings API powers this functionality and is designed to be extensible enough for developers to connect blocks to any dynamic content—not just custom fields. If your data is stored elsewhere, you can easily point blocks to that new source with only a few lines of code.
This is the first step in a larger project to simplify how custom fields and other dynamic content are managed.
The Interactivity API gets baked into Core
What started as just a taste in WordPress 6.4 with the lightbox feature for images is officially making its way into Core. The Interactivity API is a new framework that offers developers a standardized method to bring interactive front-end experiences, or interactions, to blocks. It aims to simplify the process, with less dependencies on external tooling, while maintaining optimal performance.
Interactions create engaging user experiences, whether showing new comments or fetching search results without reloading a page, allowing visitors to interact with content in real time, or incorporating effects like countdowns and transitional animations that surprise and delight. Check out this demo site to get a taste of what this framework can do.
6.5 is just the beginning of bringing this developer experience into Core. Find out how you can follow along with the work or lend a hand and test more features.
Get more from your revisions
Revisions are the markers of progress. For creative projects, they’re also a welcome fallback when you’re working through a new design or concept. This release brings more detail to your style revision history in the Site Editor.
Style revisions in 6.5 present a more detailed picture of your work, with design updates like time stamps, quick summaries that outline changes, and the ability to see a full list of revisions made—not just the previous 100. View revisions from the Style Book to see changes that aren’t reflected in the template you’re working on. Style revisions are also newly available for templates and template parts, giving you a broader view of your site’s changes.
Expect to see more work happening to expand and improve revisions across the WordPress experience. It’s a foundational part of the collaborative editing and workflows focus of the Gutenberg project’s Phase 3.
Classic themes can opt into appearance tools
As the design experience in Block themes evolves and improves, many of these upgrades are also available for Classic themes. Theme authors can choose to add support for appearance tools to any Classic theme—even without the use of theme.json. Opting in gives designers and site creators using Classic themes access to a varied set of design options, from spacing and border controls to typography and color options.
Switching themes can feel like a big undertaking, and for folks who aren’t ready to jump into the flexibility of Block themes, these pathways to adoption can help ease that tension. Once a Classic theme gets initial support for appearance tools, more design options will be automatically added as they become available.
More design tools are on the way
Each WordPress release brings more thought and attention to the way you can create with the Site Editor. The latest improvements to the design experience help bring your creative vision to life:
- Background images for Group blocks get size and repeat support, letting you play with subtle or splashy ways to add visual interest to your layouts.
- Aspect ratio support for the Cover block gives you more control over your Cover block images’ shape and size.
- Shadow support added to more blocks to help create layouts with visual depth or add a little personality to your design.
Site Editor updates to streamline your workflow
Bring ease and simplicity to your site-building process with the latest advancements to the Site Editor’s capabilities, from important interface improvements to upgraded tools.
Going beyond Group blocks, you can now rename every block in the List View. You can also rename or duplicate individual patterns to help keep them organized. Other notable UI improvements add access to your block settings with a quick right-click from List View, adjust preferences with consolidated settings in the Editor preferences panel, and the ability to use the block toolbar on hover when you’re in Distraction Free mode.
You’ll also notice a cleaner and more unified link-building experience that improves link controls, making it easier to create and manage links in various blocks.
This release has a bounty of drag-and-drop enhancements to make your editing experience feel more intuitive. You’ll notice helpful visual adjustments, like displaced items in List View when you drag them around to reorganize. You’ll also find that you can drag and drop anywhere you’d like in the Editor, from the very beginning to the end of your workspace.
New Data Views in the Site Editor
Every piece of your site comes with a library of information and data. Organizing it, finding what you need, and making informed changes should be as effortless as your site editing experience.
WordPress 6.5 includes data views for pages, templates, patterns, and template parts. You can view data in a table or grid view, with a new UI for toggling fields and making bulk changes. It’s a refreshing and feature-rich experience that leads the way for the upcoming Admin Redesign project on the WordPress roadmap.
Plugin dependencies improve the plugin experience
WordPress 6.5 improves how users manage plugins that require other plugins. Plugin authors can supply a new
Requires Plugins header with a comma-separated list of required plugin slugs from the WordPress.org Plugins repository, which will present users with links to install and activate those plugins first.
Required plugins must remain active and installed for as long as plugins that require them are active and installed. If any required plugins become inactive or uninstalled, the plugins that require them will be automatically deactivated.
Big performance gains across the editing experience and more
WordPress 6.5 contains more than 110 performance-related updates, including an impressive increase in speed and efficiency across both the Post Editor and Site Editor. Loading is over two times faster than in 6.4, with input processing speed increasing to nearly four times faster than the previous release. You’ll also find yourself navigating through the Site Editor six times faster than before.
The loading time for translated sites gets a boost due to merging Performant Translations into Core. This greatly improves the load time of translated sites across the board by loading multiple locales simultaneously, making switching between them a faster and more enjoyable experience.
Ensuring that WordPress remains highly accessible is crucial for its success and fulfilling the mission of democratizing publishing. With this in mind, 6.5 will ship more than 65 updates to improve accessibility throughout the platform. These updates include fixes to contrast settings, cursor focus, submenus, positioning of elements, and more. For more information on specific tickets and improvements, please visit WordPress Trac and GitHub for Gutenberg.
Please note that features highlighted in this post are subject to change before the final release.
Just for you: a Beta 1 haiku
Freedom to publish
Blocks, fonts, patterns all around
Design as you wish
Thank you to the following contributors for collaborating on this post: @dansoschin, @rajinsharwar, @webcommsat, @courane01, @hellosatya, @bph, @greenshady, @richtabor, @priethor, @annezazu, @joedolson, @santosguillamot, @cwhitmore, @costdev, @ehtis, @huzaifaalmesbah, @audrasjb, @get_dave, @ellatrix.