What you need to know about WordPress 5.8 – some big changes
WordPress is a content management system that has been around for over 15 years. It’s one of the most popular CMS platforms globally and is powering over 42% of all websites. The latest release, WordPress 5.8, features a new graphic format, touching up images, and welcomed improvement for the Gutenberg editor. These updates are another milestone to help you create better-looking sites with less effort.
With the introduction of Gutenberg block editor as the default post/page editor in WordPress 5.0, the Core team has been moving towards full-site editing using Gutenberg. With WordPress 5.8, Gutenberg Blocks’ editor becomes closer to full-site editing and serves as an alternative to the classic page builder.
I tell you about the new feature WebP picture format. WordPress 5.8 ships with native support. It means you can upload images in WebP format. WordPress won’t be able to convert images to WebP. For that, you will still need an image processing plugin, cache plugin, or a CDN.
Can I use WebP image support? Here you see that almost 90% of all web browsers support the new format. My favorite tool Irfanview (4.58), supports the WebP image format. However, you need to download the plugin files.
WordPress 5.8 introduces a new image option—duotone filter. You can apply a filter with two colors. See the screenshot below. Some colors are suggested, but you can add your colors. Looks pretty cool.
The pattern library is a huge time-saver – Go to https://wordpress.org/patterns and find a block you want to use. Just click copy (copies to your clipboard) and go to your WordPress page/post and cmd+V or CTRL+V (Windows). Wow, a ready-made block.
Now in WordPress 5.8, Block navigation is built-in. I want to say finally. It has been immensely struggling in Gutenberg Blocks to select the right block. I was using a third-party plugin, Navigation Block. Click the block in the Navigator, and it will highlight.
There are some exciting changes to reusable Blocks in WordPress 5.8. You know, if you want to use a Block on another post or page, you can save it as a reusable block. However, if you edit a reusable block, it will change everywhere you were using a block. If you only want to adopt a reusable block on a page, you need to convert the reusable block to a standard block. You can easily miss this and ruin your website. Now there is a change (see screenshot) to untick the “reusable block.” Let’s see if we will screw up less. It has happened to me.
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File Block Update
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With the new release, the block File has been updated. Now you can drag a PDF to the block, and it gets embedded. There are various zoom levels and an option to choose the page to display.
Full site editing
We are getting closer to full site editing with the Gutenberg Block editor. Now there are new blocks available like “site logo, “site title,” “Archives,” or “query loop. Depending on the theme right inside the Gutenberg Editor, you can create a template with the new blocks. The new block “Query loop” is for dynamic content—for example, a blog post title. There are several options to filter your post or use another category or custom type.
Lastly, this is the most significant change; Widgets are now called Block Widgets. It looks completely different. For the sidebar or header, you can now use any Gutenberg Block. It’s a major redesign. However, you can still use the classic widgets. It’s a plugin you can download from the WordPress repository.
Media Library change
WordPress 5.8 makes a few changes to the media library, too. By default, infinite scroll now prevents users from experiencing long load times. You will now need to click a Load More button to initiate an AJAX call for more images. It may take some users some time to adjust to this new method, but it will improve the load time for the admin dashboard.
Watch this 40min video from the Astra team, it’s a very good one.
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As a WordPress user, I’m always excited to see what new features are coming out and how they can improve my site. The latest update is no exception! There are plenty of exciting changes in this release that will be helpful for users with different needs. Those who have been waiting on the sidelines might make sense to wait until you hear more feedback before updating your site, so you don’t run into any surprises when using these new tools. If you’re looking for help getting up-to-speed or just want some tips about making the most of WordPress 5.8, please let me know.