WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there! Thanks to the testing and feedback from everyone who tried beta 1, nearly 100 tickets have been closed since then. Here are the major changes and bug fixes:
We’ve added support for Emoji 12!
A brand-new wp_body_open() template tag (and corresponding wp_body_open action) will let themes (and plugins!) add content right after the <body> is opened (#12563).
Superfluous paragraph tags will no longer incorrectly appear in dynamic block content (#45495).
The Site Health screens have received several bug fixes, tweaks, and performance improvements.
Crash Protection no longer interrupts plugin editing (#46045).
Custom error handlers now load correctly (#46069).
Minimum PHP Version Update
As of WordPress 5.2 beta 2, the minimum PHP version that WordPress will require is 5.6.20. If you’re running an older version of PHP, we highly recommend updating it now, before WordPress 5.2 is officially released.
WordPress 5.2 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.
WordPress 5.2 is targeted for release at the end of this month, and with it comes an update to the minimum required version of PHP. WordPress will now require a minimum of PHP 5.6.20.
Beginning in WordPress 5.1, users running PHP versions below 5.6 have had a notification in their dashboard that includes information to help them update PHP. Since then, the WordPress stats have shown an increase in users on more recent versions of PHP.
Why You Should Update PHP
If your site is running on an unsupported version of PHP, the WordPress updater will not offer WordPress 5.2 to your site. If you attempt to update WordPress manually, that update will fail. To continue using the latest features of WordPress you must update to a newer version of PHP.
When updating to a new version of PHP, WordPress encourages updating to its recommended version, PHP 7.3. The PHP internals team has done a great job making its most recent version the fastest version of PHP yet. This means that updating will improve the speed of your site, both for you and your visitors.
This performance increase also means fewer servers are needed to host websites. Updating PHP isn’t just good for your site, it also means less energy is needed for the 1-in-3 sites that use WordPress, so it’s good for the planet.
How to Update PHP
If you need help updating to a new version of PHP, detailed documentation is available. This includes sample communication to send to your host for them to assist you. Many hosting companies have published information on how to update PHP that is specific for them.
5.6 now, but soon 7+
This is the first increase in PHP required version for WordPress since 2010, but may not be the only increase in 2019. The WordPress core team will monitor the adoption of the most recent versions of PHP with an eye towards making PHP 7+ the minimum version towards the end of the year.
WordPress 5.2 is slated for release on April 30, and we need your help to get there. Here are some of the big items to test so we can find as many bugs as possible in the coming weeks.
The block editor has received significant performance improvements since WordPress 5.1, shaving 35% off the load time for massive posts, and cutting the keypress time (how responsive it feels when you’re typing) in half!
Accessibility continues to improve, too. The block editor now supports your browser’s reduced motion settings. The post URL slug has better labelling and help text. The focus styling for keyboard navigating through landmarks is clearer and more consistent. There are a variety of new speak messages, and existing messages have been tweaked for more useful screen-reader behaviour.
We’ve added several new blocks:
An RSS block
An Amazon Kindle embed block
A Search block
A Calendar block
A Tag Cloud block
To help you keep track of these blocks, and only show the ones you need, there’s a new block management tool to switch blocks on and off.
We’re constantly working on existing blocks, too. There are hundreds of bug fixes and improvements in the block editor, you can read more about them in the Gutenberg plugin releases: 4.9, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3.
The WordPress Mobile Apps
The block editor isn’t just for websites, either. The WordPress mobile apps now include an experimental version of a built-in block editor. This is still under development, but you can try it out now!
Site Health Check
Site Health Check is an ongoing project aimed at improving the stability and performance of the entire WordPress ecosystem.
The first phase of this project (originally scoped for WordPress 5.1) is now included in WordPress 5.2. For the first time, WordPress will catch and pause the problem code, so you can log in to your Dashboard and see what the problem is (#44458). Before, you’d have to FTP in to your files or get in touch with your host.
In addition, we’re adding a new Health Check tool to your Dashboard. Visit the Tools menu and click on Health Check to get information that can help improve the speed and security of your site.