WordPress News Roundup – WordPress 6.1 Beta Release, Plugin to Create AI-Generated Images + 3 More Updates | September 2022

We’re just a few weeks away from the next major WordPress release: WordPress 6.1. In this news roundup, you’ll learn about features you may (not) find in WordPress 6.1. 

From new Gutenberg releases, WebP by default removed from the upcoming release, to a free plugin to create AI-generated images. Read on to learn about:

1. WordPress 6.1 beta 1 release

2. Gutenberg releases

3. WordPress 6.1 to remove WebP by default

4. Jetpack Performance team to handle WP Super Cache development

5. Block Diffusion plugin creates AI-generated images inside the block editor

WordPress 6.1 beta 1 release

WordPress 6.1 beta 1 was released on September 21. This is the first beta release open for public testing, with the general release expected on November 1.

Users can expect all updates and new features from Gutenberg versions 13.1 to 14.1 to be rolled into core for 6.1. If you have the Gutenberg plugin installed, then you already have access to some of these features.

If you’re interested in learning more about WordPress 6.1, the release squad published a product walkthrough video. Members of the release squad came together on Zoom for an informal walkthrough video where they introduced the new features in this release. After the success of the 6.0 walkthrough, this gathering on Zoom has become a new part of the release cycle.

Gutenberg releases

Version 14 and 14.1 of the Gutenberg plugin will be the last 2 versions to be committed into core for 6.1.

Gutenberg 14.0 was deployed on August 31. This version comes with many enhancements, including extra blocks supports in the UI that previously was only available via theme.json, a revamped List block, and more.

Gutenberg 14.1 was released on September 15. This version brings a better content locking experience, an improved writing experience, improvements to the Navigation block, and much more.

Check out the release posts for in-depth information about the new features and enhancements to Gutenberg.

WordPress 6.1 to remove WebP by default

The plan for WordPress to generate WebP images by default for new JPEG image uploads was put on hold for the upcoming 6.1 release. 

The original proposal had been merged into core at the end of July, despite critical feedback and concerns from the WordPress developer community. On September 19, the feature was reverted in response to Matt Mullenweg’s post about removing it from core in favor of development as a canonical plugin.

WebP is the image format developed by Google. It is set to replace JPEG, PNG, and GIF file formats as it offers the same image quality for a smaller file size.

During a Performance team meeting, Google-sponsored core committer, Adam Silverstein, mentioned that Matt Mullenweg’s post about the feature not shipping in WordPress 6.1 was a surprise to the team. He also mentioned that they were working with release leads to better understand concerns and find a way to move forward.

Jetpack Performance team to handle WP Super Cache development

WP Super Cache is one of the oldest and most widely used static caching plugins for WordPress. After 15 years, the plugin’s author, Donncha Ó Caoimh, is stepping down and handing over maintenance and development to Jetpack’s performance team.

Donncha confirmed that this change in hand is not an acquisition and that the company did not buy the plugin from him. “I’ve worked in Automattic since the company was founded, so they’ve supported the development of the plugin all along,” said Ó Donncha. He explained why he didn’t sell the plugin “Really, the plugin is moving sideways in the company, from one developer to a team.”

After 15 years of existence, WP Super Cache still maintains an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars rating on WordPress.org with 1,296 reviews. With resources from the Jetpack team, users can expect to see more improvements as the plugin now has a team of people working on it.

Block Diffusion plugin creates AI-generated images inside the block editor

Block Diffusion is a free plugin created by an application developer name Kevin Batdorf. The plugin allows users to create AI-generated images right inside the block editor using only text prompts. It can create breathtaking, photorealistic images from complex prompts, and images can be generated in just six seconds.

Kevin achieves this by incorporating an API to use Stable Diffusion into the plugin. Stable Diffusion is an open-source machine learning, text-to-image model to generate digital images from natural language descriptions. It is owned by Replicate.

Block Diffusion uses the public Replicate API to generate images in the cloud. That means users need to register for an account at Replicate.com. Users can generate a few images for free, but after that, they will have to pay $0.01 USD per image. 

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Devin Sears
Devin Sears | Field Marketing Manager

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