Web Insights from Eric Francis, Junior Web Developer at
1-Stop Design Shop

With technological spaces moving at lightning speeds with the advent of AI, we have a full year of WordPress updates, new functionality, and challenges to look forward to. After the nightmare that was WP 6.4, let’s dive into what’s expected in WP 6.5, as well as the latest trends in plugins and how the world’s largest CMS is adopting AI.

The Update That Broke the Internet: WordPress 6.4

WordPress 6.4 made ripples throughout the web, and not in a good way, for its major PHP error oversight. Devastatingly, WP 6.4 broke PHP cURL, “making it impossible to update themes or plugins.” Furthermore, contact forms on page templates prevented us from saving changes to global themes. The cherry on top was many sites having issues accessing external resources. With 2023 being the worst year for hackers on record, security issues were a major theme last year, putting a lot on the line for WordPress’s reputation for reliability with its next update.

WordPress 6.5: New Features or More Trouble?

The next WordPress update will be WordPress 6.5, releasing March 26, 2024. We can expect two more updates scheduled for 2024, the first being 6.6 in July followed by 6.7 in November. Seems excessive? Well, there are typically 2-3 WordPress updates per year, so we are on par for a standard year’s worth of WordPress updates ahead.

What’s more unexpected are these new, never-before-seen features from WordPress. A long-awaited dark mode will finally bless the monitors of those who like to code in the shadows. Another boon for developers; “Headless WordPress” finally allows us to craft WP sites with various frameworks. We can also expect better Voice Search plugins as well as novel uses of AI in WordPress.

Headless WordPress

Headless WordPress was introduced in late 2023, and it will continue to be an advantage for developers in 2024. Now, developers can separate the front end and back end of their WordPress site, using virtually any framework they’d like. It comes with pros like greater site speed and more control over the site’s code, with cons being less front-end control and greater technical hurdles. Being able to use different frameworks like React and Ruby on Rails greatly expands what’s possible with WordPress sites!

WordPress Voice Search

More users are starting to speak their searches rather than type them, with Voice Search rising to 20% of Google searches last year. WordPress has begun working with companies to implement voice search plugins for users, making for a truly modern user experience (UX).

WordPress and AI

It’s no secret AI is taking over and will continue to be more and more integrated into our everyday technologies and workflows. Think about the first time you Googled something – now magnify that impact by a thousand. Never before in human history have we had an expert in our pocket that can assist us with anything from baking recipes to proofreading emails to coding websites. 

Already within the first year of widespread AI adoption, 27% of Americans use AI daily and counting. Hundreds of AI plugins have been added to the near-60,000 available through WordPress, and many existing plugins like Yoast SEO have implemented new AI features already. Custom theme-building AI plugins have become especially popular, generating original themes from prompts to fit your site’s unique needs. Time will tell what areas AI will become commonplace and where else it may be deemed unnecessary. But one thing to be sure is – we’ve opened the Pandora’s box that is AI, and there’s no going back now!

Will WP 6.5 Be Stable? Time Will Tell…

1-Stop Design Shop specializes in maintaining WordPress sites.

Hopefully, WP 6.5 will be nothing like WP 6.4 and we can all carry on business as usual. Though, to be safe, be sure to mark your calendars. We hope this article filled you in on the latest with WordPress in the coming year. A special shoutout to our Junior Web Developer Eric for this article’s web insights! When you’re ready to integrate Dark Mode, Voice Search, and AI into your WordPress site, be sure to contact your web professionals at 1-Stop Design Shop here.