Delicious Brain Bytes: WordPress 6.5 New Features, DE{CODE} 2024 Recap, and the Fun Way to Learn Git

By Mike Davey, Senior Editor

In this issue of Delicious Brain Bytes, we look at the latest and greatest features in WordPress 6.5, how DE{CODE} 2024 surpassed previous attendance records, how ACF made documentation easier to find and more targeted, and much more.

WordPress 6.5 Brings Powerful New Features for Developers

WordPress released its first major update of 2024 with the launch of version 6.5, Regina, and the first minor release of 2024, 6.5.2, followed on April 9, 2024. WordPress 6.5.2 includes a security fix, so updating as soon as possible is recommended.

Among the standout additions in WordPress 6.5 are the new WordPress Font Library, the Interactivity API, and the Block Bindings API.

At DE{CODE} 2024, Damon Cook of WP Engine led a panel discussion with members of the 6.5 Release Squad, with the conversation focusing on the breakthrough features of WordPress 6.5. During the discussion, they drill down into new features like data views in the Site Editor, the Block Bindings and Interactivity APIs, and illuminate use cases for the new features.

YouTube cover image

DE{CODE} 2024 Shatters Attendance Records

WP Engine’s fifth annual DE{CODE} conference set a new attendance record, with over 4,000 attendees from 86 countries tuning in to the virtual event. This year’s conference was packed with insights and advice from more than 45 experts in the WordPress community, covering a wide range of topics shaping the future of WordPress development.

One of the standout sessions explored the impact of AI on key areas of development, from accessibility to productivity. Presenters, including WP Engine’s Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Jason Cohen, discussed how developers are harnessing AI to create better, more performant digital experiences. The entrepreneurial keynote session also highlighted how businesses in any industry can leverage the power of WordPress to accelerate their growth.

Other highly-popular sessions included a session on streamlining development workflows, using tools like Local, Advanced Custom Fields, and WP Migrate, and a session on optimizing a site you didn’t build.

Most of the sessions for DE{CODE} 2024 are now available on YouTube, but the keynote session “Navigating our AI Future” is only available on WP Engine’s event platform for a limited time. Delivered by Zack Kass, former Head of Go-to-Market for OpenAI, the keynote provides unique advice to help businesses and individuals navigate the AI landscape, understand the implications AI has on our digital futures, and prepare for what’s next. Registration is required to view the session.

Plugin Madness Crowns a Three-Time Champion

The results are in, and ACF has emerged victorious in Plugin Madness 2024, the bracket-style tournament where WordPress users vote for their favorite plugins. This marks the third time ACF has won the coveted title, having previously taken the top spot in 2016 and 2023.

The final round of the competition pitted ACF against ecommerce powerhouse WooCommerce, but in the end, ACF’s versatility and customization capabilities won over the hearts and minds of the voters.

A screenshot from Plugin Madness 2024, showing ACF in first place, WooCommerce in second place, and TablePress in third place.

Build Your Git Skills With Oh My Git!

We subscribe to the “gamify everything” philosophy, so discovering Oh My Git! was a wonderful surprise.

An open source game designed to introduce players to the popular version control system Git, Oh My Git! is highly interactive, allowing players to immediately see the results of their actions through a visualization of the internal structures of Git repositories.

ACF Enables WP Engine Smart Search

Advanced Custom Fields has recently implemented WP Engine Smart Search, significantly improving how users search the plugin’s documentation.

The default WordPress search often falls short when it comes to surfacing relevant content, as it lacks the ability to weight data, support operators for multiple-word searches, and search post meta data. Among other challenges, this means it won’t pick up anything from ACF.

WP Engine Smart Search, on the other hand, was designed with the ACF community in mind. Out of the box, custom post types created with ACF will automatically index without requiring any custom coding. This is perfect for a site like, which uses a ‘resources’ custom post type for its documentation section.

This new search capability on ACF also leverages the AI-Powered Hybrid Search feature, currently in beta testing. The features combines traditional keyword-based search with semantic search to produce more relevant results, providing a GPT-like experience for users.

By implementing WP Engine Smart Search, ACF aims to save its users time and ensure that they can easily find the tutorials, documentation, and support articles they need, with more precise and comprehensive search results than ever before.

Quantum Computers Seek Real-World Purpose, Google Offers $5M Prize

There’s $5 million USD up for grabs if you can figure out a practical, beneficial use for quantum computers. While quantum computers have surpassed classical machines on some specific tasks, those tasks lack real-world applications.

As reported by New Scientist, Google and XPRIZE have launched a $5 million competition to encourage researchers to come up with new quantum algorithms that solve existing problems, or show how existing algorithms could be applied to problems in ways that hadn’t been considered.

As Google researcher Ryan Babbush noted in the New Scientist article, “There’s a lot of rather abstract mathematical problems where we can prove quantum computers give very, very large speed-ups. But a lot of the research community has been less focused on trying to match those more abstract quantum speed-ups to specific real-world applications, and to try to figure out how quantum computers could be used.”

Custom Content in Headless WordPress Using ACF and WPGraphQL

Creating custom content types is a prevalent part of many modern, content-rich headless WordPress sites. By defining custom content types, developers can structure their data in a way that best suits their specific requirements, ensuring consistency and efficiency in content management.

In this article, Grace Erixon demonstrates how to do this, using Advanced Custom Fields to design the content structure and WPGraphQL to query data.

While WordPress provides built-in support for standard content types, ACF allows users to define custom content types and visually create custom fields for posts, pages, custom post types, and taxonomy terms. These custom fields can store a wide range of data types, including text, images, files, and more.

WPGraphQL provides a schema and endpoints to query WordPress data using GraphQL syntax, serving as bridge between WordPress and modern frontend frameworks.

The Best Local Dev Environment: XAMPP vs MAMP vs Laragon vs Local

A local development environment lets you make changes to dev sites quickly without having to transfer files. It also greatly reduces the risk of making and breaking changes on a live web server.

In this article, we dig into the key features of four of the most popular local development tools for WordPress: XAMPP, MAMP, Laragon, and Local.

What’s the most interesting news you’ve come across recently? Pop by Twitter and let us know.

About the Author

Mike Davey Senior Editor

Mike is an editor and writer based in Hamilton, Ontario, with an extensive background in business-to-business communications and marketing. His hobbies include reading, writing, and wrangling his four children.