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What’s new in WordPress 5.2?

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Since WordPress 5.2 is being released today, let’s look into the details and see what this update brings to the table. The latest version continues on the theme from the last release and provides administrators with even more tools to detect and fix configuration issues and fatal errors.

Introducing… the Site Health Check feature

The biggest addition of WordPress 5.2 is the long awaited Site Health Check. This feature brings two new pages to the admin dashboard to help users maintain their website and spot common issues such as configuration errors. It is now the de facto standardized location in WordPress for all debugging information.

Site Health Check feature
This site has quite a few issues that need to be addressed.

The Status tab runs a number of tests on the website and will categorize the results as either critical, recommended or good. These results in turn determine the health percentage that is shown at the top of the page. Each test can be expanded to see an explanation of the problem that needs to be addressed and may offer the option to automatically fix the issue for you.

The Info tab provides an abundance of information about the website and web server configuration, similar to what the Performance module in All in One SEO Pack does. There’s even a button to copy all non-sensitive data so you can easily share your debug information for support purposes.

These two new pages are located under the Tools menu.  Site Health Check also provides developers with an API to add tests or filter debug information.

Protection against fatal errors in WordPress

Fatal errors stop users from accessing the admin panel and can be a pain to resolve. This usually means you need to use an FTP client to connect to the web server and undo whatever changes were made or ask your hosting company for support.

Fortunately, WordPress 5.2 now introduces a new recovery mode for website administrators. When a fatal occurs, an error message will show that “This site is experiencing technical difficulties”. WordPress will then also send an email to all administrators with a special login link for them to access the dashboard in Recovery Mode and undo any changes that may have triggered the error. Of course, that doesn’t include changes to the database or wp-config file.

Improvements for the Gutenberg editor

Since the new Gutenberg block editor was introduced in WordPress 5.0, there has been continuous development in order to improve it. As we expect from all releases in the near future, WordPress 5.2 brings a number of new features and enhancements to the editor.

Even though the new editor is much faster than the older one, lengthier articles with dozens of blocks would load quite a bit slower in the back-end. This issue has now been addressed as the newest release reduces load times for long blog posts with about 35%. Also, typing feels much more responsive as the key press time has been cut in half.

Tag cloud block
Here’s an example of how the Tag Cloud block looks like.

WordPress 5.2 also introduces a number of new default blocks. These are:

  • RSS block – easily fetch and display any RSS feed on your WordPress blog;
  • Amazon Kindle block – embed content from Amazon Kindle;
  • Search block – add the default WordPress search feature in your article;
  • Calendar block – display a calendar of your blog articles so that users can view which articles were published on each day;
  • Tag Cloud block – display a cloud of your tags in your content.

Other Under The Hood improvements

In addition, there are a number of other changes which are useful to developers including new Dashicons for the WordPress administrator area, an option to define the log file path for the WP_DEBUG_LOG function in the wp-config file and also a new minimum required PHP version. WordPress 5.2 sets the minimum PHP version to 5.6, which is up from 5.2.4 but still old compared to the current stable version of PHP which is 7.3.2.

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About

Arnaud, a foodie from Bruges, Belgium, is the editor for the Semper Plugins blog. He also manages the translation teams for All in One SEO Pack (over 60 languages!).

9 comments on “What’s new in WordPress 5.2?
  1. I do not know if my WordPress site has been updated to the latest version. I want to talk to a person!!!

  2. sunil kumar says:

    Great new features in WordPress!

  3. Marko Barko says:

    Cool. Especially the Site Health Check feature and the recovery mode! Regarding Gutenberg, you know the opinion of majority of users. But let me check back on that after 2 years, we might be getting somewhere with it.

  4. Raj Patel says:

    i already updated my website to wordpress 5.2 awesone features

  5. Deb Morgan says:

    I went to share a blog post and it did not share the picture on facebook and twitter I need to know what to do to fix this if it is using a larger image that is fine I just need the size.

    Also does a tutorial address the implementing of some of the new features I am not a developer but a user and just need to know what may be helpful to change.

  6. John says:

    Although a site health check can be useful, the health percentage is highly arbitrary and causes site owners to think that their site is not safe because it doesn’t have 100% health value. Yet, it is almost impossible to get 100% unless you tinker with the core of WordPress. It also strains the relationship between website owners and web developers.
    I suppose it may improve in the future but I cannot help think that WordPress should go a bit easy on making page builders (Gutenberg) and security meters a standard install.
    After all, there is a whole community around WordPress that create plugins which are far more superior than what is included here.

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