WordPress has released version 5.1, “Betty”, the follow up release to version 5.0.3 and the 4th overall release of WordPress 5 so far since it was first released on December 6, 2018. This version is named for legendary Jazz musician Betty Carter.
Security Upgrades and Patches
v5.1 does not contain any security upgrades or patches.
New Features in v5.1
Site Health – The biggest update in 5.1 is the new Site Health feature. This brand new feature is designed to help admins understand the health of their website and keep them from making changes that might break the site. The first function of Site Health is to scan newly installed plugins and the PHP version they require. If a plugin requires a newer version of PHP than your server supports WordPress will not allow the plugin to be installed.
Multisite Metadata – 5.1 introduces a new database table to store metadata associated with sites and allows for the storage of arbitrary site data relevant in a multisite / network context.
Improvements in v5.1
Gutenberg Editor – WordPress has stated that the “Gutenberg” editor has undergone performance upgrades. Specifically the editor should load faster and the typing in the editor should be smoother.
Other improvements in WP v5.1 include –
- Cron API updated with new function, filters, and other changes
- New JS Build Processes
- Updates to values for the WP_DEBUG_LOG constant
- New test config file constant in the test suite, new plugin action hooks
- Short-circuit filters for wp_unique_post_slug(), WP_User_Query, and count_users()
- A new human_readable_duration function
- Improved taxonomy metabox sanitization
- Limited LIKE support for meta keys when using WP_Meta_Query
- A new “doing it wrong” notice when registering REST API endpoints
Upgrade Problems Reported with v5.1
A premium theme by FlexiThemes called News Station is showing a fatal error. The error reported was using PHP 5.6. FlexiThemes has stated they are fixing the problem currently and a fix should be live soon. This issue may have also been related to the Site Health feature introduced in 5.1 which appears to be getting fixed by the core team. It is recommend that you upgrade to PHP 7.0 for WordPress 5.x. If you are on an older version of PHP you may want to test your site on a staging server before upgrading your live site to 5.1
No other users have reported major problems with upgrades to v5.1 from v5.0.3 or other versions as of yet.
Next Major Release
The next major release of WordPress 5 will be v5.2 and is expected sometime in April of 2019 with a target general release date of April 23, 2019. v5.2 is likely to include another upgrade to the “Gutenberg” block editor, a merger of the Health Check plugin with the Site Health feature included in v5.1, and PHP error protection.
That version is currently at 1% complete. You can track the progress of v5.2 here http://trac.wordpress.org/milestone/5.2