WordPress 6 was released on May 24th. The release name is “Arturo”, named after Arturo O’Farrill – a Mexican Grammy-wining jazz musician.
The release contains over 500 enhancements and over 400 bug fixes. Some of the major enhancements are covered below.
Full site editing
This is a feature that has been available on certain themes for a while and the WordPress developers have been slowly working towards integrating it into WordPress core for block based themes. Essentially full site editing allows you to modify your entire site look and feel through the block editor page – rather than going into specific ‘Appearance’ pages for the theme. Useful for those with block based themes.
Switch theme styles easily
This is another theme based enhancement. Theme developers will now be able to create style presets that can be modified through a new style button on the block editor.
Export theme options, templates and styles
This new feature allows you to easily export theme options from one site to another. So let’s say you created beautiful styles and modules in a website – and some of these elements might work on another project – WordPress now allows for easy export and import of these options.
Block editor enhancements
Most releases in the last 2 years featured enhancements to the Gutenberg block editor. Release 6 introduces new blocks such as comments, read more, author biography & avatar. Also introduced in release 6 are enhancements to editor to allow for easier text selection, the ability to lock reusable blocks, and the ability to select multiple blocks in the list view amongst other enhancements.
WordPress 6.0 introduces many accessibility improvements that will greatly enhance the experience for those with accessibility needs.
Under the hood improvements
As with every WordPress release, the developers have made enhancements to the WordPress core to make it easy for third party theme and plugin developers to integrate and extend their capabilities of the platform.
WordPress 5.9 was released on January 25th. The release name is “Joséphine”, named after Joséphine Baker – an acclaimed jazz singer.
Following on from the recent trend of WordPress updates, Gutenberg blocks are up front and central in this release. Gutenberg is the advanced editor within WordPress that was launched a couple of years ago and is improving with every release as new features are added. It’s built with blocks of functionality that you can drag and drop within your pages.
Release 5.9 brings improvements to styling block themes (you’ll no longer need to use the Theme Customizer). The navigation block has been enhanced to give you the power to choose menu styles and preferences based on your screen size. There are new typography tools and layout controls to help you control the look and feel of your site easier. Other improvements include revamped list views within the editor and improved gallery blocks.
A new year also means a new WordPress theme and Twenty Twenty-Two is the the first default block theme in the history of WordPress.
WordPress 5.8 was released on July 20th. The release name is “Tatum”, named after Art Tatum – a legendary jazz pianist.
Gutenberg blocks are key to this release. Gutenberg is the advanced editor within WordPress that was launched a couple of years ago. At ClearSoft we’re not huge fans of Gutenberg to be honest. There are better page editors available for WordPress and we just find it a bit clunky. That said, it is powerful in the right hands and it is free.
Gutenberg blocks are blocks of content that can be grouped and moved around your pages – an easier way to manage page construction than just raw code. This release makes improvements to blocks around widget integration, content looping and template integration. As I said we’re not huge users of Gutenberg blocks in ClearSoft so we don’t see any huge benefits in 5.8 to our customers from a functionality perspective.
WordPress 5.7 was released on March 9th. The release name is “Esperanza”, named after Esperanza Spalding – a musical prodigy who has had an inspiring journey.
As with all recent releases, much of the development is around the Gutenberg editor. It’s now more powerful and easier to use. The editor now allows novice users achieve professional results without having to hire a professional. This is especially useful for those clients who make regular changes to their pages and layouts.
Some improvements have been made to Gutenberg blocks. There is now drag-and-drop functionality incorporated within Gutenberg that allows you easily drag blocks of functionality right into your pages and posts. This has been around in different commercial page builders over the years – but certain implementations have been clumsy in this regard – creating some bad HTML which impacts on site speed scoring. WordPress claim that their native drag and drop functionality is farm more efficient and generates cleaner front end HTML code.
On Tuesday (December 8th), WordPress 5.6 was released. This release is called Simone after legendary performer Nina Simone. Similar to 5.4 and 5.5, enhancements to the block editor seem to be the major improvements of this release with the end user having much more flexibility around page layouts with having to write code. There are also lots of goodies for us tech nerds around API integration, PHP 8 & jQuery.
This release was brought us to by an-all woman squad – which is also a first for WordPress.
On Tuesday (August 11th), WordPress 5.5 was released. This release is called Adderley after American singer Billy Eckstine. Improved speed, enhanced search and security seem to be the major enhancements in this release.
Again the block editor has been improved with inline image editing among the main enhancements.
On Tuesday (March 31st), WordPress 5.4 was released. This release is called Adderley after American Jazz musician Nat Adderley. Enhanced page options, improved presentation and speed seem to be the major enhancements in this release.
A number of new Gutenberg blocks are now available – social icons and buttons. Colour enhancements have also been added around gradients in buttons and toolbars. There are also claims of UI improvements and enhanced speed while editing. Version 5.4 also helps with a number of privacy issues also.