The second major release of WordPress is scheduled for July 20. Couple times a year WordPress comes out with a major update and some drastic changes, so too with this release. Are you curious about what’s to come?
Full Site Editing
Gutenberg, the WordPress editor you use to format posts or pages, has been integrated for a while. Since then, there were also plans to make it a Full Site Editor and yes, it is coming with the release of 5.8. This means you could build and edit your entire website with Gutenberg. This integration would actually allow you to ignore page builders such as Divi, Elementor or Beaver Builder.
In fact, with the Full Site Editor, it is possible to completely build your website through certain blocks. So consider creating a header (logo and menu at the top of your website) or certain pages with a set format (ideal for your blog, for example). Same principle as the aforementioned page builders.
This time the widgets also get a big update. Widgets are block elements that you can display in specific places on your website such as the sidebar or footer.
The entire widget environment is going to look different after the update. It will therefore be possible to use colors, formatting and other design tools without the need for an additional plugin. In short, this update allows you to easily customize your widgets to match your corporate identity and have everything integrate very nicely.
Not ready to work with these new widgets yet? Install the Classic Widgets plugin and you will disable the new features with it.
Support for WebP images
Whereas previously we were still uploading mainly JPG or PNG images, for a while now it has become common to switch to WebP – another file format for use on the Internet. In fact, this format is up to 35% smaller than PNG and JPG without any loss of quality. So saves not only loading time but also disk space on your hosting!
Currently, WordPress does not yet support this format and you need a plugin for it to be supported. With the arrival of WordPress 5.8, this is no longer necessary and you can start using WebP images without any problems.
Gutenberg has initially been quite difficult for many people to work with. With the arrival of WordPress 5.8, a lot of improvements have been introduced to improve usability.
Thus, interaction between the nested blocks has been simplified through the list view which should make it easier to select the correct block. In addition, the editor for reusable blocks has also been improved and now supports revisions.
In addition, you can now apply Duotone filters to an image. As a result, the image will consist of two colors. You can choose from some presets here but also add your own color codes.
Support for Internet Explorer 11 ends
Those still working with Internet Explorer 11 will not be able to appreciate this update to WordPress. Support for this browser will be discontinued. Not just by WordPress, by the way. Microsoft itself has announced that it will retire Internet Explorer in 2022. Instead, switching to Microsoft Edge is recommended.
What do I think of the WordPress 5.8 update?
This update mainly focuses on the Full Site Editor and the new Widgets interface. Both updates could have been expected for some time so it is not really surprising. The Full Site Editor is definitely something to try out in the future when you want a website that is easy to keep up and doesn’t require too much fuss. With this addition, WordPress will become even more accessible to many people.
The other updates are mainly user-friendliness improvements, and those are of course always welcome!
To update or not to update?
Back up your website beforehand and make sure your website is up to date in terms of plugins and themes before installing WordPress 5.8.