Preparing for WordPress 5.4: Changes Theme and Plugin Developers Should Know About

Preparing for WordPress 5.4: Changes Theme and Plugin Developers Should Know About

With the release of WordPress 5.4 looming, it is time for plugin and theme developers to begin testing their extensions and making sure there are no issues. There are also new APIs for upcoming features. Yesterday, the core team released the first release candidate for 5.4. The official release is planned for March 31.

This post will serve as a quick guide with links to several important changes that developers need to keep in mind in the coming weeks. Be sure to test your plugins and themes.

Theme Developers

New social icons block.

There are several changes that theme authors will want to test against. WordPress 5.4 has a few extra theme features. It also has several markup-related changes that could break theme designs on the front end and in the block editor. Unfortunately, for theme authors who want to support multiple versions of WordPress, some of these changes may mean a little extra CSS bloat.

Social Icons and Buttons Blocks

WordPress 5.4 introduces two new blocks: social icons and buttons. The social icons block allows users to insert icons/links for up to 40 different social networks. The buttons block lets users group multiple button blocks together. Theme authors who are rolling out custom block editor styles need to account for these new blocks to make sure they are output correctly.

Create Custom Gradient Presets

The new Gradients API allows theme authors to define custom gradient presets for users to use with either the group or button blocks. Theme authors will need to do some legwork to improve on the eyesore that is the default gradient presets. With a little work, gradients can be a useful tool at the user’s disposal. Theme authors can also disable gradients altogether if they prefer not to support them.

Block Editor Markup and Style Changes

Theme authors who have directly targeted specific editor classes, will need to check their block editor styles. Many classes with the editor- prefix have been changed to use the block-editor- prefix. The wrapper element with the .edit-post-layout__content class has been removed altogether. Several wrapper elements were removed from blocks and the rich text component. Core’s built-in padding and negative margins on blocks have been refactored, which is a welcome addition. Perhaps theme authors will no longer have to fight against multiple nested selectors to provide a basic, working layout that matches the front end.

These changes have already broken several themes I have seen. There is a good chance many theme authors will need to update their block editor styles.

At a time when the Theme Review Team is asking for more theme authors to submit themes with custom editor styles,

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This article was written by Justin Tadlock and originally published on WordPress Tavern.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the product, We may receive an affiliate commission.

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