The next major WordPress release — WordPress 5.8 beta, is expected to release in mid-July, with lots of new features and improvements. This upcoming release is being personally led by Matt Mullenweg, the CEO of WordPress and his involvement is a good indicator that this release will pack a punch.
This article is a glimpse into what’s coming in WordPress 5.8, its features, future WordPress release, and so on.
What’s new in WordPress 5.8?
1) Full-Site Editing
The original intention was to fully roll out Full Site Editing (FSE) in WordPress 5.8, but this release will only partially introduce FSE to WordPress. According to the WordPress core, “Full site-editing is where the promise of Gutenberg gets proven—the technical aspects meet the philosophical aspects as a user-focused tool meant to empower the user to create, and express, and sustain themselves online.”
Full Site Editing (FSE) takes a fundamentally different approach. Many users won’t ever realize that FSE has been enabled on their WordPress site. The core idea behind FSE is to build WordPress themes entirely out of blocks, a theme that includes everything from a Site Logo block, to a block for the copyright block, to a Post Date block, to an Author Meta block. These themes are built without using PHP templates and are essentially just a series of blocks, the site’s administrator can add, remove, reorganize, and edit their theme’s layout and design using the Gutenberg editor.
FSE-related features expected in WordPress 5.8 include Improvements from Gutenberg 9.9+, a template-editing mode for the block editor, new theme-related blocks such as Query, Site Logo, Navigation, Block-based customizer integration and widgets screen, New block design tools, such as duotone (SVG filters for images), layout controls, padding, and more, theme.json integration, which allows themes to define block defaults and settings, and more.
2) Pattern Directory
WordPress 5.8 is likely to introduce the Pattern directory for Block Patterns, which is a way to set up layouts of blocks, through plugins and themes. The Pattern directory will be a one-stop for WordPress patterns. The “Site Editor” – an alternative for the Post Editor, is designed for editing themes with installed and selected compatible “Block Themes”.
The targets set for the initial launch in WordPress 5.8 include create, share, view and manage Block Patterns for WP.org users, block editor will search and fetch core patterns from the directory, patterns will be able to be picked from a set of curated images and media to use and submitted Block Patterns will go through some basic validation/automated moderation. Anyone will be able to browse through patterns on the Pattern directory, based on pattern categories, or by searching and also see a live preview of a pattern, and use the block code.
What else is new in WordPress 5.8?
Updates from the core mention that not all of the above features are currently ready to ship, but they do believe they will be ready by the release date. Users can expect the usual long list of bug fixes, performance improvements, and UX tweaks along with the introduction of the Query block. Other additional features include Widgets that support blocks, the addition of Image block or Quote block to the sidebar, duotone effect for images and videos, and new layout and padding controls in the Editor. WordPress will end support for Internet Explorer by the end of this year and update 5.8 has merged most of the changes needed for that.
Once WordPress 5.8 is released around July 20, the contributors will shift focus to the 5.9 release, which is scheduled for December. The goal for version 5.9 will be to add features that didn’t make it into the 5.8 release and hence conclude “Phase 2” of Gutenberg.