By Gary Pendergast The first release candidate for WordPress 5.1 is now available!
This is an important milestone, as the release date for WordPress 5.1 draws near. “Release Candidate” means that the new version is ready for release, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible something was missed. WordPress 5.1 is scheduled to be released on Thursday, February 21, but we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.1 yet, now is the time!
There are two ways to test the WordPress 5.1 release candidate: try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want to select the “bleeding edge nightlies” option), or you can download the release candidate here (zip).
What’s in WordPress 5.1?
Inspired by Archie Bell & The Drells, WordPress’s theme for 2019 is to “tighten up”, and WordPress 5.1 focussed on exactly that.
With security and speed in mind, this release introduces WordPress’s first Site Health features. WordPress will start showing notices to administrators of sites that run long-outdated versions of PHP, which is the programming language that powers WordPress.
Furthermore, when installing new plugins, WordPress’s Site Health features will check whether a plugin requires a version of PHP incompatible with your site. If so, WordPress will prevent you from installing that plugin.
The new block editor has kept improving since its introduction in WordPress 5.0. Most significantly, WordPress 5.1 includes solid performance improvements within the editor. The editor should feel a little quicker to start, and typing should feel smoother. There are more features and performance improvements planned in upcoming WordPress releases, you can check them out in the Gutenberg plugin.
Plugin and Theme Developers
Please test your plugins and themes against WordPress 5.1 and update the Tested up to version in the readme to 5.1. If you find compatibility problems, please be sure to post to the support forums so we can figure those out before the final release.
The WordPress 5.1 Field Guide has also been published, which goes into the details of the major changes.
WordPress 5.1 Field Guide
How to Help
Do you speak a language other than English? Help us translate WordPress into more than 100 languages! This release also marks the hard string freeze point of the 5.1 release schedule.
If you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. We’d love to hear from you! If you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on WordPress Trac, where you can also find a list of known bugs.
This is my release candidate. There are many like it. This is mine.