Highlights of the WordPress 6.5 Features

Note: This post of understanding newly added WordPress Site Editor features including using blocks. This learning post is still in active development and updated regularly.

WordPress 6.5 is loaded with numerous features that are discussed in the resources listed at the conclusion of this article. In this brief learning post, I am highlighting some selected features that I am most intrigued about.

In Go Daddy blog, Courtney Robertson groups the WP 6.5 features into for Developers, and site builders and users.

Site builders and users

  • Site Editor specific Font Library
  • Site Design with new views in the Site Editor
  • List View improvements: enhanced Block renaming, and robust revisions
  • Image handling and presentation

For Developers

  • Enhanced data management with the Custom Fields
  • Introducing Block Binding API, connecting Block Bindings with Custom Fields
  • Front end interactions with Interactivity API
  • Enhanced Block Hooks for greater extensibility
  • Performance improvements, version requirement, and Plugin dependencies, among many others enhancements.

There are many articles, blog posts and highlights written about the WordPress 6.5 features, including Rich Tabor’s blog post. The following brief highlights of WordPress 6.5 is inspired by and partially adapted from the Rich’s blog posts.

Font Library

With the newly introduced WordPress Font Library, you can enhance your font management capabilities within the Site Editor with the new WordPress Font Library. Seamlessly incorporate fonts into your site from Google Fonts, and for developers, effortlessly integrate additional third-party font collections.

Read more about Front Library here.

Block Binding

The Block Binding API (currently available only code) enables the creation of dynamic connections between block attributes and external data sources, thereby enabling more interactive, personalized, and adaptable content, as changes at the sources are reflected in the blocks.

Here is an example of Block Binding markup from the field guide.

<!-- wp:paragraph {
	"metadata":{
		"bindings":{
			"content":{
				"source":"core/post-meta",
				"args":{
					"key":"book-genre"
				}
			}
		}
	}
} -->
<p></p>
<!-- /wp:paragraph -->

Further details about this new feature is discussed in this WP 6.5 field guide post.

Interactivity API

The Interactivity API—a new standard for sharing data, actions, and callbacks between blocks, allows users to add interactions to blocks on the frontend of a site. For use case example, this Make WordPress Blog post discusses in greater detail.

This WordPress Developer Blog article discusses in detail the Block Interactivity API with use-case examples.

Data Views

This new feature introduced in WP 6.5 but work-in-progress for WP 6.6, introduces a new method for rendering data throughout WordPress with Data Views, starting with the templates, patterns and pages within the Site Editor.

More details are explained in this GitHub ticket and “soon you’ll be able to create custom views—much like in Notion and Airtable—with data in WordPress”.

Further details are available on GitHub issue #55083.

Refreshed Link control

The WP 6.5 introduced a makeover of link editing feature, for a smoother and more intuitive experience.  This update fixes common problems and managing links much easier and less intrusive.

In this short YouTube video, Dave Smith demonstrates how this cool new feature works in action.

Revisions for Temples and Template Parts

This new feature allows users to view a detailed history of site changes for templates, template parts, and global styles.

This short video demonstrates how this new feature works in action.

List View Enhancements

List View is a central element of the design workflow, and WordPress 6.5 introduces a few enhancements, including right-clicking on the List View to access the block settings drop-down with drag-and-drop option, and renaming almost all blocks in List View except blocks like blocks, template-parts, patterns, and navigation.

Though they may seem small, but they are expected to enhance the user’s workflow experience while using the site editor.

Extended background control

From Kinsta blog: “The Group block now supports size and repeat features for background images. This also allows you to set the background image size to cover or contain, keeping the same aspect ratio. In addition, when you set the Background size to Fixed, a Repeat toggle shows up to allow you to enable or disable repeating background.

“The Cover block has received support for aspect ratio. You can control the block’s aspect ratio at the global level from the Global Style interface or adjust it individually in your content.

Renaming all blocks

The WordPress 6.4 introduced renaming container blocks, such as Group, Rows, Stack for easier organization. The WP6.5 extended this feature allowing users to rename all most all the blocks, for better workflow and content organization, including for duplicating and renaming patterns allowing user modification of content and sync setting.

This Hostinger Blog post contains images showing how this feature works.

Adding shadow presets and effects

Prior to WP 6.5, only Buttons block had support for the shadows property, now with this release shadow support has been added to Columns, column, and Image blocks too.

How to add custom shadow styles are described in this WordPress Dev Blog article.

Site Icon in General Settings

WP 6.5 release included an option to add Site Icon in General Settings, allowing users to manage their site icon, irrespective of whether the Site Logo block is used or not.

Here is an image showing new settings for site icon.

Support for Allowed blocks

Block developers can now specify which block types can be inserted within a parent block, using allowedBlocks. It can be filtered to extend core blocks, like the WordPress Navigation block, with any third-party blocks.

This Dev Notes explains this new feature can be added to the block.json file. ” It lets block developers specify which block types can be inserted as children of the given block. It’s a companion to the existing parent and ancestor fields that have a similar function, namely specifying allowed parent block types. Example of usage in a block.json file:

{
  "name": "core/list",
  "title": "List",
  "allowedBlocks": [ "core/list-item" ]
}
Plugin Dependencies

Plugin dependencies are now part of WordPress, making the process of installing and activating plugins that require other plugins consistent and intuitive.

Since WordPress 6.5, plugin developers can use a new “Requires Plugins” plugin header. This header unlocks a powerful feature that streamlines the process of installing and activating dependencies. It contains a list of comma-separated slugs of the dependencies required by a dependent plugin to work. This provides information to the plugin’s user with links to the WordPress.org Plugins Repository to install and activate the dependencies. Kinsta Blog

Site performance

From Rich.blog: “Input processing is now five times quicker, while both the Site and Post Editor load times have been reduced by more than half, accelerating the editing experience across WordPress. Also, the i18n improvements in WordPress 6.5 focus on making translations more performant than ever, speeding up load times for multilingual websites and blogs.”

Further in-depth discussions on the topics discussed are available at the resource links listed below.

Related Resource Links