WordPress is a free platform built by a community of developers. With every new release, these developers fix bugs, add new impressive features, enhance performance, and improve existing features to keep up to date with emerging industry standards. Failure to update your WordPress site means you’re putting your website security at risk and missing out on new cool features and improvements.
WordPress 5.8 Beta 1 is in its final stages of development and is now available for testing. Since it’s still under development and things could change, running the version on a production site is not recommended. However, you can run it on a test site to play around with the new version and see what features it brings on board.
There are two ways you can test the WordPress 5.8 Beta 1:
The new version is slated for official release on July 20, 2021. So, it’s important to keep your tabs on the Make WordPress Core web page for WordPress 5.8-related developer notes over the coming weeks to get a deeper understanding of the upcoming changes in greater detail.
Overall, here are some highlights of the new WordPress 5.8 version:
WordPress 5.8 comes with several new blocks and expressive tools, such as blocks for Page Lists, Site Logo, Title, and Tagline. Its powerful Query Loop block provides multiple ways for displaying post lists and features new block patterns that leverage its flexibility and creative possibilities.
With a permanent toolbar button to select a parent, users can interact with nested blocks more seamlessly. When you hover or focus on different block-type buttons, the editor displays block outlines. In addition, block handles are now present for drag and drop functionality when in “select” mode.
WordPress 5.8 has also introduced the ListView, a panel that users can toggle to help navigate complex blocks and patterns. Moreover, reusable blocks come with an improved creation flow and support for seamless history revisions. Its superb new duotone block adds impressive image effects that you can use in media blocks or third-party blocks. You can also customize color presets via the theme.
Another impressive tool that comes with WordPress 5.8 is the new template editor that allows you to create new custom templates for your pages using blocks. In addition, you can now change themes to control and configure styling using a theme.json file. This includes layout configuration, color patterns, block supports, and more.
There are multiple new design tools and enhancements to current blocks, including extra color, spacing options, typography, drag and drop for Cover backgrounds, ability to embed PDFs within the File block, additions to block transformation options, and more. The new version also enhances how the editor is rendered, making it resemble the frontend more accurately.
Blocks in Widgets Area
With WordPress 5.8, you can use any block in your theme’s widget areas through the all-new updated customizer and Widgets screen. However, existing third-party widgets will continue to work with the Legacy Widget block. If you’re not quite ready for a total switch, you can use the Classic Widgets plugin and themes to ease the transition. You can also call remove_theme_support( ‘widgets-block-editor’ ).
The new WordPress version allows you to recommend and select patterns during block setup, providing powerful new flows. It’s also possible to have pattern transformations and convert a block or a collection of blocks into various patterns. Moreover, there is a new collection of Patterns and integration with the forthcoming Pattern Directory on WordPress.org.
Internet Explorer 11
This year, the support for Internet Explorer 11 in WordPress will end. In this new release, most of these changes are being merged. Take advantage of the open Beta and RC periods to test your Internet Explorer 11.
The ideal way to ensure a smoother transition to the WordPress 5.8 is to do some testing! Testing for bugs is critical for polishing the new release during the beta stage and an excellent way to contribute.
If you suspect you’ve identified a bug, please post it to the Alpha/Beta area in the WordPress support forums. If you’re comfortable drafting a reproducible bug report, consider filing one on WordPress Trac. It’s where you can also find a list of all known bugs.
Overall, WordPress 5.8 comes with numerous improvements to Reusable blocks, Table block, Cover block, ListView, Template Editing Mode, Rich text placeholder, Block Inserter, and Top Toolbar. In addition, the new query loop block uses a query/filter to generate flexible post lists based on templates.
In summary, here are the improvements that come with the WordPress 5.8 Beta 1:
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