WordPress 5.2 beta 1 was released this evening with an exciting lineup of new user-facing features that are ready for testing. The upcoming release introduces new blocks for RSS, Search, Calendar, Tag Cloud, and Amazon Kindle embed.
The proliferation of block collection plugins as a block distribution mechanism has caused some WordPress installations to become bloated with too many unused blocks. Version 5.2 includes new block management capabilities that will make it easy to turn blocks on or off and tidy up the block inserter tool for greater efficiency.
This release also introduces fatal error protection that catches errors before they produce a white screen, so that users can still log into the admin to attempt to resolve the issue. This feature was previously targeted for 5.1 but needed a few security issues ironed out before it was ready for core.
If you’re just getting started with testing WordPress, the 5.2 beta is a very approachable release with features that anyone can put through the paces. The easiest way is to install the WordPress Beta Testing plugin and select “bleeding edge nightlies.” Try out the new blocks, experiment with turning blocks and and off. Do the new features seem like they work as advertised? Are there any bumps in the road when trying to use them? You can report any issues to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums or log a ticket on trac.
According to the notes from today’s core developer chat, there are currently 116 open tickets that contributors plan to address in three betas. The goal is to slash that number down to 66 before beta 2. WordPress 5.2 is targeted for April 30, 2019.
This release includes the final About page design. It also contains fixes for:
New WordPress installs not setting the database table prefix correctly (#46220).
A HTTP error occurring when opening browser developer tools (#46218).
The legacy media dialog having incorrect pagination link styling (#41858).
The comment form not appearing when clicking “Reply” on comments loaded via Ajax (#46260).
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.
Designed by Takashi Irie, each theme in this collection is based on a clean, easy-to-navigate layout that’s well-suited to a wide range of businesses — but with six unique styles and tones, there’s a version that suits your distinctive brand.
The sleek minimalism of Modern Business brings focus to your high-end fashion photography; Sophisticated Business brings a moody palette and stylized typography to complement the style of your upscale restaurant.
Calm Business’s softness matches the peaceful tone of your small yoga studio, while and Friendly Business adds subtle but uplifting touches to create a welcoming online home for your hobby farm.
Not to be outdone, Professional Business is solid and grounded to echo the integrity of your accounting firm, and Elegant Business’s combination of warmth and sophistication makes it a perfect fit for coffee shops.
Each themes has a bold accent color you can customize to match your business’s branding.
They all also include full support for the new WordPress block editor, allowing you to create a wide range of content for your site.
You can learn more about each of these themes in our showcase!
WordPress contributor teams have shipped several new tools for theme developers in the past couple weeks, which have the potential to raise the quality of new themes coming into the ecosystem. The Theme Sniffer plugin is a new effort from the Theme Review team that uses custom sniffs for PHP_CodeSniffer to test a theme against WordPress coding standards and check for PHP version compatibility.
The plugin is useful for both theme reviewers and developers who want to get their themes approved for the WordPress.org directory. It includes several optional standards to test against beyond the ruleset for theme review requirements. Passing the Theme Sniffer checks is not required for themes entering the directory but reviewers can use the plugin to speed the process up.
The Accessibility Team also published a new tool called WP Theme Auditor that runs Axe tests against a theme for automated accessibility feedback. Axe is an open source library and testing engine created by the accessibility experts at Deque. The WP Theme Auditor package can be installed into a theme’s root directory. Developers can then add test cases. Examples are available in the project’s README file. The tests are run against http://one.wordpress.test by default but developers can specify a different test environment URL.
The Accessibility team plans to expand the test cases in the tool to include all the content from the current Theme Unit Test Data package. In the most recent team meeting, they decided to recommend WP Theme Auditor as a WordPress testing tool and plan to post more details about it on the make.wordpress.org/accessibility blog.
LearnDash is the most popular WordPress LMS plugin on the market. It is also the most easy to use LMS plugin with tons of features.
LearnDash comes with a simple drag and drop course builder which allows you to easily create multi-layer courses with lessons, topics, quizzes, and categories. You can deliver all your lessons at once or schedule them for the entire course duration with its Drip-Feed content feature.
Using LearnDash, you can give user assignments and then approve or comment on them. It also comes with quiz and test management tools with multiple question types. You can easily set prerequisites for students such as finishing a lesson first before going to the next lesson.
It offers plenty of monetization options including subscriptions, one-time purchase, memberships, shopping cart, etc. for your online training course. You can accept payments using multiple payment gateways including PayPal, Stripe, and 2Checkout.
A great LearnDash feature is dynamic forums which lets you create course-specific forums where your students can interact with and help each other.
Price: Starting from $159 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.
Review:LearnDash is the most user-friendly and flexible LMS plugin for WordPress users. It comes with comprehensive set of features to manage your online courses.
LearnDash has integration with many third-party plugins and tools which make it even more powerful. It is a perfect LMS tool suitable for schools, training organizations, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to create and sell online courses with ease.
LifterLMS is another powerful WordPress LMS plugin with a lot of neat features. It allows you to create engaging online courses and offer wonderful learning experiences to your students. It is easy to set up, even on existing WordPress sites.
LifterLMS supports multi-tier courses with training modules, lessons, categories, etc. The plugin gives you the flexibility to create smaller courses or full-fledged degree programs. You can add multimedia lessons including video, audio, text, images, and more to make your courses more appealing.
It has content dripping, course pre-requisites, and group memberships to offer even greater control over the entire course duration.
To boost user engagement, it comes with powerful features like automated emails, gamification with badges, and even certificates upon completion of a course. It has built-in content restriction allowing you to restrict any WordPress page on your site to members only.
LifterLMS plugin allows you to easily sell online courses using WordPress. You can quickly set up credit card payments, one-time or recurring payments, course bundles, coupons, etc. It can accept payments with PayPal, Stripe, or manually via check.
Pricing: Individual addons for $99 each (single site), or Universal Plan for $299 for single site.
Review:LifterLMS is a powerful and flexible choice for a WordPress LMS plugin. It is easy to use, and the setup wizard even installs a demo course for you. It is useful for fitness experts, musicians, leadership trainers, education entrepreneurs, and anyone who want to earn money by selling online lessons.
It is a little more expensive, and the pricing will add up if you choose to buy individual add-ons.
Teachable is a powerful online course builder. It is not a WordPress plugin but you can use it on a sub-domain, a custom domain name, or simply adding a link to your school’s page.
Teachable hosts your course and provides you a complete set of tools needed to build highly interactive online courses. It also comes with built-in email marketing integration, analytics, and other marketing tools.
For payments, teachable will handle your course fees and you will be paid out using PayPal or Stripe. Payment periods may vary depending on your pricing plan.
Pricing Starting from $29 per month
Review: Teachable offers a complete set of tools need to create, manage, and sell online courses. It can handle any number of students and courses. Since it is a standalone platform, you wouldn’t be responsible for updates and backups. The downside is that it is expensive than other WordPress LMS plugins. If you are on their Basic plan, then you will be charged a 5% fees on each transaction.
LearnPress is a free WordPress LMS plugin with powerful features. Unlike other LMS plugins in this list, which come with a setup wizard, LearnPress lets you do the setup on your own.
Course creation is easy with the help of lessons, quizzes, and questions. You can use lessons and quizzes from one course into another course. It also lets you export content, so that you can use it on other WordPress sites using LearnPress.
It has both free and paid addons available, which allow you to extend the features. It supports scheduled content (content drip), quizzes, assignments, grading, etc. It also supports integration with bbPress, WooCommerce, and WordPress membership plugins.
There are also some WordPress LMS themes created with this plugin. If you cannot decide which WordPress theme to choose for your learning website, then you can use one of those themes. Doing so saves your site from breaking due to theme and plugin compatibility error.
Pricing: Free + Paid Addons and support
Review: We found LearnPress to be feature-rich and flexible. The initial setup may be a bit difficult for beginners. It supports PayPal by default, and other payment gateways are available as paid add-ons.
Support is available from official forums for paid subscribers, and limited support is offered to free users. The free version is limited and you will have to buy add-ons to make the most out of it.
WP Courseware is a popular LMS plugin for WordPress. It is a drag and drop course creation tool for creating an online learning website easily.
Course creation in WP Courseware is powerful and comes with tons of features to create large or small online courses. Each course can have multiple modules, units, and quizzes. It supports course pre-requisites and content drip features. See our guide on how to add a LMS in WordPress with WP Courseware.
It supports instructor profiles, instructor grade book, student grade books, custom emails, and many other features that help create an engaging experience for users.
It also comes with a question bank so that you can quickly create quizzes for different courses and modules.
WP Courseware includes powerful monetization features to sell courses on your website. It has a built-in shopping cart option where you can directly connect PayPal or Stripe and start selling your courses.
You can also create free courses and offer some valuable content to your users free of cost. Sometimes, free content inspires users to buy the full course. You can sell the premium content for one-time purchase or recurring subscriptions.
Pricing: Starting from $129 for 2 sites with 1 year of support and updates.
Review:WP Courseware is a good choice to build your online courses. It is easy to use and comes with flexible options which gives you the freedom to create an engaging learning environment. Best of all, it works with any WordPress theme without any contradiction.
Sensei is a powerful WordPress LMS Plugin created by the folks behind WooCommerce. It is flexible and easy to use and follows the same best practices as WordPress and WooCommerce.
Course creation with Sensei is easy, but it is not as powerful as with other solutions. You can run quizzes, assignments, grade them automatically or manually, and even offer badges and certificates to students.
To sell your courses and accept payments you will need to use WooCommerce. For each course you want to sell, you will have to create a product and then link it to your course.
There are not many third-party integrations available. You can integrate Sensei with a membership plugin, but there is no addon for that.
Pricing: Starting from $129 for a single site license with 1 year of support and updates.
Review:Sensei is a good solution to offer online courses. If you already run an online store using WooCommerce, then this will perfectly integrate with your store. However, we feel that WooCommerce integration is hard for beginner users. There are also fewer features and addons for Sensei than other LMS plugins in this list.
After comparing the top 5 WordPress LMS plugins, we come to the conclusion that LearnDash is clearly the best option for most users. It is effortless to use with tons of features and lots of cool integrations for users who need them.
LifterLMS is a close second with an intuitive user interface and great set of features. It’s a perfect LearDash alternative you can use.