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WordPress released its latest version, 5.5.1, on September 1, 2020. At the end of the month, on September 30, 2020, WordPress released an updated version of its Gutenberg block editor (also known as Gutenberg).

Keep reading to find out what essential changes were made and how they might affect your website.

WordPress 5.5.1

WordPress version 5.5.1 includes 34 bug fixes and four feature enhancements. Bug fixes included removing block editor errors and allowing for more compatibility with darker themes.

As a best practice, you should always update your WordPress website to the latest version. The easiest way to do so is by following the one-click update link on your WordPress Admin page. 

Since the upgrade process involves all of your files and folders, we recommend backing up your WordPress website before updating to the latest version of WordPress.

Gutenberg 9.1: What’s New in Gutenberg?

After the release of WordPress 5.5.1 the team made several enhancements to the Gutenberg block editor. The last Gutenberg release date was September 30, 2020, when the team announced Gutenberg 9.1.

One of the most significant changes in Gutenberg 9.1 involves the release of a dropdown selector for different block pattern categories.

In addition to the dropdown selector, the WordPress team reverted some of the block widget features and added more image size customization. 

 Improved Organization with Block Patterns

Earlier in 2020, WordPress introduced Gutenberg block patterns for the first time. 

Block patterns served as predefined layouts for different sections of a website page. These patterns made it easier to create complex, professional-looking websites with a single click. 

However, the process of sorting through all of the available block patterns quickly became a time-consuming hassle for many WordPress users. 

With Gutenberg 9.1, the team added a category dropdown selector to the patterns tab of the inserter. Users can now select a category (such as headers or buttons) to view only the selected category patterns.

WordPress New Editor

Block-based widgets are one of the most highly anticipated new features of the upcoming WordPress and Gutenberg release date in December.

Previously, WordPress introduced some experimental features which allowed for block editing in the Widget and Customizer sections. However, these features were ultimately nonfunctional. 

So, for now, the WordPress team has reverted to the block-based editor that was removed from 8.9. for 9.1. They also updated the block-based editor to match the design of the Post Editor Inserter.

With the reversion, users can continue editing normal widgets in the customizer. Furthermore, the block widgets will no longer cause breaks. 

In other words, you can edit standard widgets in the customizer section. Any block widgets will appear as uneditable here. To edit block widgets, users must go through the traditional widgets screen

More Flexibility and Control with Images

Despite rolling back block widget changes, Gutenberg 9.1 is still pressing forward with other user interface (UI) enhancements. The addition of image size control is a much-welcomed update to the block editor. 

Users can now change the size of images used in the Media & Text block. It functions much like the Image block, giving users a dropdown menu of predefined image sizes to choose from. 

With this change, the Media & Text block no longer adds unnecessary weight with full-size images. The update also adds flexibility by working with themes that register both landscape and portrait images.

WordPress Gutenberg Release Date 

Targeted for release on December 8, 2020, WordPress 5.6 is the year’s final major release. Although the team has not announced a separate Gutenberg release date for the year, Gutenberg development remains in Phase 2 for 2020. 

According to Phase 2 outlines, the WordPress team is pushing forward on customization and full-site editing with the Gutenberg blocks. 

Major projects targeted for the next WordPress Gutenberg release date include:

  • Navigation menu blocks
  • Ability to use blocks in Widget and Customizer areas
  • Gutenberg page templates
  • PHP 8 support

The Gutenberg block editor’s release was a significant step forward in providing intuitive and accessible website-building tools.

In Phase 2 of the Gutenberg roadmap, WordPress focuses primarily on the Gutenberg editor’s user experience. 

With easier pattern searching and more control over image sizes, Gutenberg 9.1 makes it even simpler to create well-designed and high-performing websites using the block editor. 
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