The release of WordPress 6.4.1 – the final major update of 2023 – has brought excitement to the WordPress community.
As this year comes to a close, we say goodbye to the last WordCamps of the season and the final few WordPress and Gutenberg releases we’ll see in 2023. But the year’s not over yet; let’s see what November has brought to the WordPress community.
After three months of hard work from WordPress developers and contributors, WordPress 6.4, codenamed “Shirley” after jazz artist Shirley Horn, was released on November 7, 2023.
It’s been an exciting development period, with the update bringing in a heightened focus on streamlined writing and website editing features.
The latest version of WordPress was crafted with love by an underrepresented gender release squad. WordPress invited anyone who contributed directly to WordPress 6.4 to participate in a retrospective survey.
November 9 brought WordPress 6.4.1, a maintenance release quickly pushed out to take care of a few bugs. You can read about the WordPress 6.4.1 technical details for more information.
To learn about WordPress 6.4’s technical details in-depth, check out the WordPress 6.4 Field Guide, which walks you through all the significant changes.
One big focus of WordPress 6.4 was improving software performance. With 100+ performance updates, small and large, you should begin seeing slightly faster load speeds.
Overall, server response time has improved by 4% – not bad for only three months out of WordPress’s ongoing development cycle.
Several optimizations came out of this release, including image loading optimization, object caching improvements, optimization of autoloaded options, script loading changes and enhancements to template loading.
All of these come together to make a faster, more performant WordPress – one step at a time.
In the final months of 2023, WordPress developers have begun to consider what 2024 will bring.
And already, they have the first outline of a roadmap for WordPress 6.5: Beta 1 is expected to be released in February 2024, and the final version of WordPress 6.5 will follow in March.
WordPress contributors are just starting to assemble the intricate details and pick out team leads.
They’ve even planned out release timelines for the subsequent three versions of WordPress: 6.6 should be released in July 2024, and 6.7 in November 2024.
This could change, as development is ongoing, but three major WordPress releases are on the horizon in 2024.
Meet Twenty Twenty-Four
Alongside WordPress 6.4 came the release of the next annual WordPress Theme: Twenty Twenty-Four.
WordPress’s yearly themes usually focus on a particular style or website. Twenty Twenty-Four can work for any type of website, and it comes in three tailored styles: one for entrepreneurs, one for photographers and one for writers.
Each of these styles has an official demo you can try out.
There’s also a big focus on patterns, with over 35 patterns available. These include both full-page and sectional patterns. The variety of choices makes it quick and easy to set up a website.
Twenty Twenty-Four was also designed to work seamlessly with the new website editing features. The beautiful, elegant design is sure to flatter your next project.
New Gutenberg release: Gutenberg 17.0
Alongside the major WordPress release, Gutenberg has also transitioned to a new version: Gutenberg 17.0.
This was a small release mainly focused on accessibility and performance improvements. Some components, like the Command Palette and drop-down menu, received minor improvements.
Gutenberg 16.9 was released in late October and included several helpful additions, such as being able to rename blocks and patterns, as well as experimental form and input blocks.
The release of a major WordPress update is always a field day for developers, but it also means spending a lot of time getting the hang of the new features. Let’s take a brief look at the major updates from the November releases:
- The recommended PHP version for WordPress 6.4 is PHP 8.1 or 8.2.
- Attachment pages have been disabled on all new installs as of 6.4.
- While Block Hooks were available through Gutenberg before, these have been officially introduced into 6.4.
- There’s a new standardized admin notice function.
- Instead of using Gutenberg’s @wordpress/element wrapper, contributors now focus on using React directly.
- The HTML API has been updated with new methods.
- Multiple user-interface components were updated.
- Main query loop handling has been updated for 6.4 block themes.
- Login and Registration pages have received significant HTML markup improvements.
- The TEMPLATEPATH and STYLESHEET constants have been deprecated and replaced with get_template_directory() and get_stylesheet_directory().
- Hard-coded style tags have been replaced with wp_add_inline_style(), and many functions have been deprecated.
There’s more to look at, so check out WordPress’s November developer updates for a full list.
While the WooCommerce plugin still has the same name, Woo now refers to the entire Woo platform and all products and services offered by the company.
You might have also seen that extensions have changed names: WooCommerce Payments is now WooPayments.
Otherwise, this is simply a rebrand and won’t impact day-to-day users of Woo’s products.
WordPress’s first State of the Word outside North America
State of the Word is coming round again, but it won’t be held in North America this time.
Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress, is hosting 2023’s State of the Word in Madrid, Spain. WordPress enthusiasts in Europe will have a chance to attend in person for the first time without having to travel overseas.
For those who can’t make it, the event will be live-streamed on December 11, 2023.
If you have WP Fastest Cache installed on your WordPress site, you’ll want to update the plugin as quickly as possible.
A vulnerability in WP Fastest Cache was recently discovered, and many users are still running an outdated version. The outdated version contains a bug that could open your website up to SQL injections, allowing hackers to overtake your site.
Severe vulnerabilities were also discovered in another popular plugin this month: AI ChatBot.
Volunteer ethical hackers form the foundation of online security, but lack of financial compensation keeps many busy people from contributing to a better and more secure web.
Now, you could be paid for finding and responsibly disclosing critical bugs to the Wordfence team’s vulnerability database. Hopefully, this will help incentivize people to keep WordPress and the internet as a whole more safe.
Final WordCamps of 2023
After a long and exciting year of WordCamps across the globe, there are now only four left this December: two in India and two in Pakistan.
You can check the WordCamp schedule to see for yourself. Many more WordCamps are coming up in 2024 and will be added to the schedule as information becomes available.
Bluehost Creators Awards have closed
Last September, Bluehost unveiled the Creators Awards, an event to showcase and compensate the top WordPress talent.
Submissions recently closed. In March 2024, we’ll unveil the winners, and the top 20 will earn cash prizes. Stay tuned for a close look at the winners’ best creations next year.
Follow Bluehost to learn all the latest news in the WordPress community.