WordPress.org today launched WordPress 5.1, which focuses on polishing the editor’s overall performance in the blog management tool. You can download the new release, available in 34 languages, now from WordPress.org/Download.

WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that powers over 30 percent of the web. The latest version is dubbed “Betty,” in honor of acclaimed jazz vocalist Betty Carter.

New features

WordPress 5.1 adds Site Health, a suite of features focused on security and speed. Site Health is only for WordPress administrators; it shows them notices and warnings, such as when they’re running long-outdated versions of PHP — the programming language that powers WordPress. When you’re installing a new plugin, for example, Site Health will check it against your version of PHP and stop the installation if the plugin requires a version that won’t work with your site.

Version 5.0 introduced a block-based editor, while WordPress 5.1 attempts to improve it, particular with regards to performance within the editor. The company promises that the editor now starts “a little quicker” and that typing feels “smoother.” But the team isn’t done: “Expect more performance improvements in the next couple of releases.”

WordPress 5.1 also brings the following for developers:

  • Multisite metadata: 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.
  • Cron API: The Cron API has been updated with new functions to assist with returning data and includes new filters for modifying cron storage. Other changes in behavior affect cron spawning on servers running FastCGI and PHP-FPM versions 7.0.16 and above.
  • New JS Build Processes: A new JavaScript build option is here, following the large reorganization of code that started in the 5.0 release.
  • 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

WordPress 5.1 was released some two months after its predecessor. The team did not mention WordPress 5.2, but it’s likely already in the works.