WordPress 5.8: What’s New and Why We’re So Excited!.
In this article
- Template editor – first step to full site editing
- Gutenberg Blocks as Widgets in Customizer
- Proprietary WordPress support for WebP images
- New Functionality in the Gutenberg Block Editor
- Other Changes
- How to Install and Use WordPress 5.8 (Before It’s Officially Released)
WordPress 5.8 is just around the corner! It’s the second biggest WordPress update of this year, are you ready?
This exciting update gives us a first look at the new template editor that will be the primary tool for editing the full site in the future. It also introduces many more exciting features such as WebP image support, the ability to use blocks as widgets, better widget control, and much more.
In this post, we’ll give you a taste of all the new features added to the latest version of WordPress. If you want to try this version before the final release, we’ll show you how to test it yourself at the end.
Let’s dive into WordPress 5.8!
Template editor – first step to full site editing
The new template editor is the main feature for WordPress 5.8. It’s introducing the future of WordPress – Full Site Editing (FSE).
If you’re wondering what FSE is – it’s a feature that will make it easier than ever to design pages and posts using the Gutenberg editor. It gives you more control over the use of blocks in the design.
You can still use WordPress themes to handle the design, but you’ll be able to use Gutenberg blocks to control how everything looks and feels. That also applies to the header, footer, and sidebar!
The template editor is the first step in FSE that allows you to create and save custom templates for your website and use them for any post or page.
You can put anything in it, from a site logo block to an author meta block, to a post date block, and other page elements of your choosing.
If you try to add a new template, an editor will open. You can use all Gutenberg blocks with it, including the following new blocks:
- Site Logo
- Site tagline
- Site title
- Query Lus
- Post title
- Message content
- Message Date
- Post extract
- Post Featured Image
- Post Categories
- Post Tags
- Page List
The new template editor is disabled by default, but you can enable it by adding a line of code in the functions.php file.
add_theme_support( ‘block-templates’ );
Once you enable the template editor, you can edit the page or post and try creating a new template.
Gutenberg Blocks as Widgets in Customizer
Ever thought of using a Gutenberg block in a widget? Well, with WordPress 5.8 you can!
Another part of Full Site Editing is the availability of Gutenberg blocks as widgets. This means that you can use any Gutenberg block in the customizer as a widget.
This brings more flexibility and control over designing a header or footer with widgets.
You will be able to add any block to any widget area in your theme through the Customizer (Appearance > Customize).
Blocks as widgets open up the sidebar or widget area to the power of blocks. You can control the color, typography, spacing, and other elements within each widget with this new feature.
You can even add blocks as widgets from the Widgets page (Appearance > Widgets).
This widgets screen has been redesigned to be block-based just like posts and pages.
Proprietary WordPress support for WebP images
Have you ever tried to upload WebP images and got the following error?
If so, then there is good news for you. WordPress 5.8 includes support for WebP images and lets you upload them and of course, use them within any theme.
If you’re new to WebP images, WebP is a new(ish) image file format invented by Google. It has several advantages over PNG, JPG, and other commonly used file types.
Broadly speaking, WebP has both lossless and lossy compression that is between 25% and 34% smaller than comparable PNGs or JPEGs. The use of WebP has increased in recent years and more and more websites are using WebP images on their site.
Do you want to try using WebP images right away? Convert one of your PNG or JPEG images with an online converter and try to upload them to your website.
New Functionality in the Gutenberg Block Editor
There are several new features in Gutenberg blocks and the block editor. Let’s run through some of the most important.
Nested Block Selector
The block editor now has a permanent toolbar button that allows you to easily select a parent block.
Just click this button and it will take you to the parent item. This is very useful for quickly navigating through blocks while editing content.
New block: Query Loop
WordPress 5.8 brings a special new block called “Query Loop”. With this block, you can create “loops”, or display continuous lists of messages according to different query parameters and visual configurations.
You can display lists of posts or pages based on categories, authors, specific keywords, and other criteria.
New “List View” panel
WordPress 5.8 introduces a new way to navigate complex block hierarchies. If you enable the ListView panel, you can clearly see the organization and hierarchy of blocks, making it easier to organize everything.
Block pattern suggestion in Add Block panel
When you look up any block in the panel while designing a page, related pattern suggestions will appear. This will help you create interesting and powerful designs.
Duotone effect for images and media blocks
You can apply a new striking duotone filter to images and within media blocks or other third-party blocks.
It comes with a few presets and you can make your own by choosing the colors you want to apply.
Here is a list of some other changes you will find in WordPress 5.8:
- More color options to choose text, background, and link colors.
- New option to adjust padding between columns.
- New gradient background option for table blocks.
- Deprecation of support for Internet Explorer11.
- New theme.json for theme authors, which becomes the focal point for setting existing and new controls in the editor.
How to Install and Use WordPress 5.8 (Before It’s Officially Released)
Want to get an early look at the new WordPress features? You can install WordPress 5.8 RC1 today.
Just be aware that it is a release candidate, meaning certain parts of it are still unstable. So try this update on the staging site and always make a backup of your site before making any changes!
Use the WordPress Beta Tester Plugin
First, download the plugin. Upload and activate it on your website.
Once you’ve activated it, go to Tools > Beta Testing.
Click Bleeding Edge and Beta/RC Only. Once you’ve done this, you should be prompted for an update, after which you’ll see a welcome message.
Congratulations, you are now using WordPress 5.8!
Have you become as excited as we are?
With a huge list of new features and improvements, WordPress 5.8 will be one of the biggest updates to Gutenberg yet. It will definitely have a powerful impact on the way users create WordPress websites!
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