WordPress 6.3 hit a major milestone today with the release of Beta 2. The release leads opted to skip Beta 1, which was delayed yesterday after some technical issues with packaging the release, and have moved straight on to Beta 2.
As WordPress 6.3 is set to be the last major release of the Gutenberg project’s Phase 2 focus on customization, it ties up many loose ends related to the Site Editor and usability in general. It rolls in the ten most recent releases of the Gutenberg plugin – versions 15.2 through 16.1.
Major interface enhancements in this release, as outlined by the comprehensive 6.3 testing guide, include the following:
- Command Palette
- Improved Page Management
- Content Editing in Site Editor
- Distraction Free Mode in Site Editor
- Block Theme Preview
- Using the Style Book in the Styles’ Site View
- Styles Revisions
- Top Toolbar Improvements
Patterns are also getting a big boost in this release, as reusable blocks have been renamed to “synced patterns.” Pattern creation is now available to users and a new pattern library will be located inside the editor for saving and managing both synced and unsynced patterns. Theme authors now have the capability to register custom patterns to templates, so they appear in the start modal to speed up page building.
This release comes with significant performance updates, most notably the addition of defer and async support to the WP Scripts API and fetchpriority support for images. Support for PHP versions 8.0+ has been improved, along with block template resolution, image lazy loading, and the emoji loader.
In the rare event that the manual update of a theme or plugin fails, auto-rollback is available as of WordPress 6.3.
Beta 2 testers are encouraged to file bug reports on WordPress Trac. During beta testing until the last RC, the WordPress project will also be doubling its monetary reward for any new, unreleased security issues that are uncovered. The vulnerabilities must be found in new code in order to qualify for the doubled reward.
Check out the Beta 2 release post for more information on new features, accessibility improvements, and instructions on how to test. WordPress 6.3 is scheduled for release on August 8, 2023.