2022 begins on a high note with a new major release: WordPress 5.9. The keyword for this major update is full site editing!
WordPress 5.9 comes with a new full site editing experience, a new theme along with more features and changes. After the exciting release of 5.9 came the 2 smaller releases of 5.9.1 and 5.9.2 which focus on bug fixing, security and maintenance.
What’s new in the WordPress community:
1. WordPress 5.9
2. Smaller WordPress releases and Gutenberg updates
3. Next major release announcement
4. The focus of WordPress for 2022
5. Word Camps are happening in person again
6. A new developer blog is coming.
Introducing WordPress 5.9: Taking full site editing to the next level
Named after the acclaimed international jazz singer Joséphine Baker, the release of 5.9 brings you the most versatile version of WordPress yet.
The previous major release was WordPress 5.8 in July 2021. In that release, WordPress was already pushing full site editing with the integration of the Gutenberg block editor for building post and page. WordPress 5.9 takes a step further by introducing a block-based theme editor, adding the possibility to edit page templates and more from inside the WordPress admin area. With the new update, you get new blocks for navigation, header, footer, and other templates. There’s also a new global style panel that lets you easily customize site-wide styles.
Of course, you would need to use a block theme to take advantage of full site editing. The new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, is introduced with WordPress 5.9. This is also the very first default block theme, but more block themes are coming to the theme directory.
For the developers out there, from 5.9, theme.json supports child themes. That means users can build a child theme right in the WordPress Admin, without having to write any code. You can read all the details in this dev note.
This version of WordPress was brought to you by the hard work of 624 generous volunteer contributors. If you want more details, everything about WordPress 5.9 can be found here.
Following smaller releases and Gutenberg updates
Following the release of 5.9, 5.9.1 and 5.9.2 were released to fix bugs and add more features.
WordPress 5.9.1 was released on 02/22/2022(what a day to release this version). This maintenance release features 82 bug fixes in both the Core and the block editor.
WordPress 5.9.2 was released on 03/11/2022. This security and maintenance release features one bug fix in addition to three security fixes.
The Core Team launched three new versions of Gutenberg in February and early March. All come with new features, code quality improvements, and bug fixes.
Gutenberg 12.7 was launched on March 2. This release improves the patterns experience, allowing you to add border styles to column blocks, and includes other new features.
Gutenberg 12.6 was launched on February 16. The release includes a new color panel, updated color controls, a new Post Author Biography block, Read More block, along with many updates.
Gutenberg 12.5, released on February 2, allows you to switch theme styles variations, enable custom taxonomies filtering, and more.
Next major release: WordPress 6.0
WordPress executive Director Josepha Haden shared a proposal on 2022 major release timing.
5.9 will not be the only major release of 2022, 6.0 and 6.1 are scheduled to be released in May and October respectively. Version 6.0 was proposed to be released on May 24. This next major release will aim to refine and iterate on the customization tools introduced in 5.9.
The focus of WordPress for 2022
2022 is going to be a big year for WordPress as the platform gets more and more people to use the new editor. And next year (2023) will be the 20th anniversary of WordPress!
As Josepha Chomphosy explains, these are the three primary focuses for WordPress:
1: Drive adoption of the new WordPress editor (though education, awareness, and better content for new WordPress users).
2: Support open-source alternatives for all site-building necessities (through supporting Openverse – WordPress’s suite of directories).
3: Open-source stewardship (through maintenance of community programs, leading by example, and other projects).
WordCamps are happening in person again
We’re finally seeing the return of in-person events! The WordCamp Europe will be held from June 2nd-6th in Porto, Portugal. This is the first in-person WCEU in three years! It takes quite a bit of effort to organize such an event, so WCEU2022 is looking for volunteers, photographers and media partners to help make the event happen.
If you can’t make it to WordCamp Europe, maybe you can consider one of the other in-person WordCamps.
New developer blog incoming
The Core Team shared a proposal to start a blog on developer.wordpress.org to share news and updates relevant to developers. Staying on top of the new features coming to the WordPress project is one of the main challenges expressed by developers. There’s already the Make Core blog, but it has an emphasis on meeting notes for the various core teams, rather than highlighting new features. This makes it difficult for developers to find the relevant information among the team-related posts.
Hence, a proposal for Developer News blog is created. The content of this blog focuses on updates for contributors, developers and those who work with WordPress at agencies or as freelancers. Content creation and the first post are expected to happen in early April 2022.
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