What new features can we expect in WordPress 5.8?
WordPress has released version 5.8 beta 1 this June with a patched-up beta 2 quickly followed for developers to start testing with an official release expected for July 20, 2021, but what can we expect from this new update?
Despite the outpouring of disgruntled developers when Gutenberg was first announced the community has started to slowly come around and adopt the newer WordPress editor. WordPress are happy enough to continue the development of the blocks editor that they’ve added numerous new blocks to version 5.8 including:
- Page Lists
- Site Title
- Site Logo
And a Query Loop offers a way of displaying multiple posts with the option to filter from post type, categories, and keywords and also the ability to order these from newest to oldest / oldest to newest and alphabetically. Something that Advanced Custom Field users will be familiar with if they’ve used the Post Object field before.
I had a little play around with the new blocks and whilst it’s good that they are adding additional blocks to Gutenberg they are somewhat underwhelming. Page Lists does exactly what you think and lists out all the pages on your website, although it seems strange that you have no control over removing or changing the order of how these pages are displayed.
Site Title takes the site title that is set in the settings and allows you to edit this text if needed, same with Tagline. And Site logo allows you to add an image from your media library which sets the site logo globally, so if you were to use it on other pages it would use the same logo throughout.
These may seem like small changes to the block library but it is encouraging to see the WordPress community continuing to develop and add additional functionality to Gutenberg setting a reputation that they are happy to continue down the path of Gutenberg despite the negativity it received upon release.
Duotone is a filter that can be applied to images which will allow the editing and customization of the colors used on an image.
The patterns directory is a collection of popular layouts used to build up a website. For example, some of the patterns available will be for things such as ‘contact information’ and ‘footer information’ which include a number of core blocks that have been set out in a designed way.
A collection of patterns that use the core blocks will be available from the Pattern Directory on WordPress.org on the launch of WordPress 5.8. I have to say I’m rather excited about this as I feel this will build up the community which will allow the development of getting basic websites up and running rather quickly.
The Pattern Directory will only contain core blocks. It is unknown at this stage whether more customized blocks will be added into the Pattern Directory in the future, but there have been hints in the community that this may well happen at some later release.
For more information on how the patterns blocks work and how to contribute to the patterns directory visit the blog post here:
Support for WebP
Snuck into the update is the support for WebP images, which is a file format that is a much smaller file size than JPEG and/or PNG. Now users will be able to upload WebP images into the media library without the use of a plugin. While a lot of browsers do not support this file format yet it’s a good step for WordPress to be ready when they do. Using WebP image format will help improve your overall page speed and improve your page speed metric scores.
A little bit like a layers view in Photoshop or Adobe XD, the list view allows you to easily switch between the blocks on your page making navigating between them much easier than having to click on them directly. What is also included is the ability to rename these elements using the advanced HTML anchor making the ability to determine the block a breeze.
When adding a pdf from the file block WordPress will now automatically embed the pdf on the page. If you do not require this however you can turn off ‘show inline embed’. There are also options to show a download button for the pdf.