WordPress 5.8: Introduction to Full Site Editing

WordPress 5.8 is finally here.

The second major core release for 2021 introduces early features supporting WordPress’s goal of moving toward Full Site Editing (FSE).

Following the 5.7.2 security update, the latest version delivers new features, upgrades, and fixes after the 5.7 release in March 2021.

Read on to learn more about:

The Latest Version: WordPress 5.8

Named “Tatum” after legendary Jazz pianist Art Tatum, WordPress 5.8 falls under the second phase of the four-phase Gutenberg project, which is on track with the proposed project timeline.

Before the release of version 5.8, WordPress released four beta versions:

WordPress 5.8 also released three release candidate versions:

Release candidate versions mean that the versions are technically ready for release but have minor compatibility issues with plugins and themes.

The latest version, WordPress 5.8, brings several new features, worked on by 530 contributors.

These can be difficult to keep up with. Keep reading to discover the significant features brought by this release.

Template Editor

The WordPress template editor is a tool that allows users to create custom templates from the post-editor screen. For version 5.8, the template editor feature is limited; WordPress starts by offering users the ability to edit landing pages only.

As an open-sourced content management system, different themes come from different developers. Earlier theme versions may not be compatible with the block editor. Thus, in an unusual move from the core project, WordPress’ template editor will be an opt-in for classic theme users, while block themes will not work without Gutenberg installed.

In support of WordPress 5.8, Gutenberg 11.0 introduces a new default Block Template editor setting. Theme authors can create default blocks that users can use to create a new template.

As WordPress develops, it plans to extend template editor functionality to the theme’s header, footer, sidebar, or other template parts in future releases.

Block-Based Widgets

Introducing Block-Based Widgets on WordPress 5.8

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WordPress users will also be treated to the promised block-based widget editor in WordPress 5.8. With this feature, users can create blocks in areas where widgets are usually placed, such as the sidebar, header, or footer.

Besides that, block-based widgets support rich-text editing, so there won’t be a need to add a custom code or convert it to HTML.

Block-based widgets are a transition from classic WordPress to the new Full Site Editor. Once themes are built on blocks, there won’t be a need for widgets.

New Blocks Introduced

WordPress 5.8 introduces new blocks, including those that work within the site editor and the post editor.

They are the following:

Site blocks

  • Site title
  • Site tagline
  • Site logo

Post blocks

  • Post title
  • Post date
  • Post featured image
  • Post content
  • Post excerpt
  • Post tags (variations of post terms)
  • Post categories (variations of post terms)

Post listing blocks

  • Query Loop (aka. Post List)
  • Post Template (inner block)
  • Query pagination (Previous page, next page, inner blocks)

Among the most notable of these is the Query Loop block. It enables users to display a dynamic list of posts and pages.

Pattern Directory

Patterns are composed of multiple block configurations and are considered the primary building block of the editor. Patterns help you get a consistent look and layout across your website.

WordPress Pattern Directory

WordPress 5.8 includes a compilation of other people’s patterns. The pattern directory was envisioned to be similar to a plugin or theme directory. Check out the pattern directory on WordPress.org.

Media Library Changes

In terms of media, users can still expect the following features in WordPress 5.8:

Duotone filters on WordPress 5.8

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Jetpack 9.9, which came out in July 2021, introduced a revamped Carousel feature with enhanced compatibility to WordPress 5.8.

Jetpack’s revamped Carousel features a full-screen carousel that makes it easy to highlight your photography portfolio. Jetpack also optimized the zooming and swiping experience for users on mobile devices.

Final Thoughts – WordPress 5.8: Introduction to Full Site Editing

Enjoy WordPress 5.8, a core update that introduces the template editor, pattern directory, block-based widgets, and updated media library features, all of which support Full Site Editing.

Developers are already working hard on WordPress 5.9, with an anticipated December 2021 release. WordPress 5.9 will further incorporate Full Site Editing.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |

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