WordPress plans to release yet another major update on May 7, WordPress 5.2. This update focuses on several major new features as well as some minor additions for developers. Here’s a list of some things to look for beginning next week.
Gutenberg Block Directory
Perhaps the biggest change to WordPress 5.2 is the addition of the Gutenberg Block Directory. The Block Directory will give you the ability to turn on and off blocks that come with plugins you’ve installed to your site, and it will also provide a way to find and add new blocks. This will be especially useful for plugins that add many new blocks in one plugin, as you’ll be able to decide which blocks you want to use and which to disable.
Site Health Check
Does this sound familiar? If so, there’s a good reason — this feature was originally slated for WordPress 5.1 but was delayed. As we shared back in February, Site Health Check will alert users who are using an outdated PHP version (below version 5.6) that they need to update. This coincides with WordPress’s decision to raise the minimum PHP version to 5.6. Site Health Check will also ensure your site is running a PHP version compatible with the version the plugins installed on your site require.
WordPress 5.2 will also include PHP error protection to help your site avoid PHP errors. Ultimately, the goal of Site Health Check is to help avoid errors like the notorious “White Screen of Death.”
Update Package Signing
Another important security feature coming to WordPress 5.2 helps you ensure your site updates reliably. Similar to the method many software companies use for OS updates, this feature will enable your website to verify it has downloaded a valid update package before the update installs. This protects your website from installing a corrupt file, or worse, a hacked version of an update.
Miscellaneous Developer Updates
WordPress 5.2 will also include a variety of small updates targeted toward developers. The descriptions of these updates are very technical, and since most users won’t make use of these features, we won’t list them all here. If you’re interested to see what’s coming, you can read more about these developer updates on make.wordpress.org.
WordPress 5.2 is a major update, so you’ll have to install it manually unless you’ve configured your site to install major updates automatically.