WordPress 5.3 Beta 1 was released last week and it gives some insight to upcoming features expected later this year. WordPress 5.3 expands on the recent site health feature, new improvements to admin email addresses, PHP 7.4 compatibility, and Twenty Twenty WordPress Default Theme.
WordPress 5.3 is expected for full release on November 12, 2019.
With WordPress 5.2, WordPress introduced the Site Health feature. The site health feature can be found under Tools > Site Health. The Site Health feature examines different aspects of your WordPress install and server setup. It ranks each feature as critical, recommended, or good responses and provides you with recommendations. The biggest benefit is the check for outdated PHP versions and encouraging admins to upgrade PHP.
WordPress 5.3 expands on the Site Health feature and adds additional components. Expect more details in the coming weeks.
WordPress 5.3 introduces admin email verifications to ensure the main admin contact email address is valid. In the event of a WordPress white screen, password resets or technical errors a valid E-mail address is required. In addition, WordPress 5.2 introduced recovery mode which is available through an email the admin will receive during an error in the WordPress website.
The admin email verification screen that will be shown every six months after an admin has logged in. Requiring admins to verify their email addresses after six months could ensure that more addresses are kept current, especially for admins who check their sites infrequently.
PHP 7.4 compatibility
PHP 7.4 is available this November 29, 2019 and brings a number of improvements to PHP, the code that runs WordPress. WordPress 5.3 brings compatibility for PHP 7.4. We would suggest confirming that your plugins can run PHP 7.4 before upgrading your install.
Twenty Twenty Theme
The design of the new default Twenty Twenty Theme is based on the Chaplin theme from Anders Norén and showcases what is possible with the block editor.
As befits a theme called Twenty Twenty, clarity and readability is also a big focus. To that end, the theme will include the typeface Inter, designed by Rasmus Andersson. The tall x-height of Inter makes it highly legible in the smallest of font sizes, and provides a strong personality when used in big headings.
Inter comes in a Variable Font version, a first for default themes, which contains all weights and styles of Inter in just two font files. In modern browsers, this will help keep the number of requests and the page size down. Older browsers will fall back to loading each weight as a separate file. Running text will be set in a stack of serif system fonts to keep load times short and data caps distant.