20 May 2019 | WordPress

What’s new in WordPress 5.2

WordPress 5.2 is here and introduces new features like a site health check, PHP error protection along with security enhancements, new dashboard icons, and further block editor improvements.

Site Health Check

The first site health check features were introduced in WordPress 5.1 when the team added a PHP version compatibility check for plugins and themes. In WordPress 5.2, they’ve added a new site health check tool which adds two new pages for site admins to help debug common configuration issues.

wordpress 5.2 site health status

Under ‘Tools / Site Health’ there is a new page called ‘Status.’ The site health check shows critical information about your WordPress configuration and items that require your attention. There’s also an Information tab that displays every detail about the configuration of the website and server.

wordpress 5.2 site health info

PHP Error Protection

WordPress 5.2 introduces a new recovery mode for site administrators. In case of a fatal error, you will see a message that ‘This site is experiencing technical difficulties’. WordPress will send an email to the admin which includes a link to a new feature called “recovery mode.” While in recovery mode, plugins and themes that are causing fatal errors are put into a paused state to ensure administrators can access the website back-end and undo any changes that may have triggered the fatal error.

wordpress 5.2 fatal error

Block Editor Improvements

There were quite a few improvements made to the block editor (Gutenberg) that is shipping with WordPress 5.2. Media and text blocks got enhanced, image and block resizers are much better than before and most importantly there were performance improvements made in terms of loading time.

New Emojis and Dashicons

Twemoji Updated

In WordPress 5.2 the latest version of Twemoji, 12.0.1, was added. Version 12 includes 230 new emojis.

New Dashicons

Dashicons are used in the WordPress admin dashboard. It was definitely time for an update as they haven’t changed since WordPress 4.5. WordPress 5.2 has 13 new icons. WOFF 2.0 font file format has also been added which improves the back-end performance.

wordpress 5.2 new dashicons

Security Enhancements

The WordPress servers are now cryptographically signing WordPress updates with a key, and your website will verify these signatures before applying updates. This will make sure your website will remain secure even if the wordpress.org servers get hacked.

Under The Hood

More Happiness for WordPress developers.

PHP Version Bump

With the release of version 5.2, WordPress has set the minimum required PHP version to 5.6 (which is still old, current we’re running our clients installs on PHP version 7.3). The goal of the WordPress team is to gradually increase the minimum required PHP version with future releases. Users on the older versions of PHP will see a notification, that they are using an older PHP version and need to update it.

Privacy Updates

WordPress 5.2 brings several improvements for working with Privacy Policy pages and data exports. A new theme page template, a conditional function, and two CSS classes make designing and customising the Privacy Policy page easier.

New Body Tag Hook

5.2 introduces a wp_body_open hook, which lets themes support injecting code right at the beginning of the <body> element.

Building JavaScript

With the addition of webpack and Babel configurations in the @wordpress/scripts package, developers won’t have to worry about setting up complex build tools to write modern JavaScript.

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