WordPress 5.9 – My first impression
WordPress is on a constant upgrade cycle.
New features and improvements will always be added to the platform. WordPress 5.9 was released on January 25, 2022, and with it came some significant changes for users.
Find out what you need to know about WordPress 5.9 in this article.
The New Default Theme “Twenty Twenty-Two”
WordPress 5.9 is the first release of 2022. It launched with a brand new default theme called Twenty-Twenty-Two. The brand new default theme of WordPress 5.9 takes advantage of all the cool new features available in the Editor itself.
Twenty Twenty-Two is a unique WordPress theme based on birds and nature. The colors are earthy and natural, with shades of brown and rust. This theme is perfect for bloggers who want to showcase their work elegantly and professionally.
The Full Site Editing (FSE) feature is included. FSE is an excellent feature for businesses and bloggers who want more control over their website’s appearance. By using FSE, you can customize the layout of your website in just a few clicks.
Full Site Editing
A new feature is called Full Site Editing (FSE). This allows you to build all the parts of your site with the Gutenberg editor, including posts, pages, menus, and widgets. You can also use the same Editor to customize your theme’s look and feel. Full Site Editing (FSE) only works with block-based themes. The theme Twenty-Twenty-Two is block-based. What’s unique about WordPress 5.9 is that the customizer is gone when a block-based theme is active. The new Editor looks similar to a page-builder like Elementor or Divi. From the same screen, you can access the header and footer. It is also possible to modify your design settings, typography, and colors.
In addition, from the same Editor screen, you can access templates. Many templates are already available, like the 404 page, single post, archive, page, and more. Of course, you can create your own template as well.
Will Full Site Editing replace page builders or popular themes?
In my opinion, not for the foreseeable future. FSE is a welcomed new addition to WordPress, but web designers or bloggers are used to their current workflow, and the learning curve of FSE is too high.
FSE will find its place in the WordPress ecosystem, but not as a primary way to edit posts. It will be an alternative for those who want it. I suppose FSE will be something to try out for new WordPress users before investing money in a page builder or a theme.
What means FSE for existing WordPress users with an existing theme?
You will be able to use the existing theme. The customizer is still available if the theme is not block-based. For example, the popular theme Kadence – built with Gutenberg Blocks – is not block-based. The customizer is still there for any theme that is not block-based and compatible with the new FSE.
New Navigation Block
The new Navigation block is in the heart of user experience in WordPress 5.9. This block gives you the power to choose between an always-on responsive menu or one that adapts to your user’s screen size. A responsive menu will change its layout depending on the size of the user’s screen, making it easier for them to navigate your website.
List View with drag and drop
WordPress 5.9 comes with a new list view that makes it easier to manage complex documents. You can now easily add and rearrange content using the drag and drop feature. Additionally, HTML anchors have been added to help users get around the page quickly.
The new drag and drop of Blocks in the List View will eliminate the need for some additional plugins that helped to arrange the Gutenberg Blocks like Block Navigation. It’s probably the most exciting new feature in this WordPress release for anyone who is not ready for FSE yet.
Better Gallery Block
A Better Gallery Block is a gallery block that has been optimized for mobile devices. It’s the same as a standard gallery block, but it includes larger images and text spacing between lines.
Block Editor improvement
Overall working with Gutenberg Blocks is now much smoother and faster. When you press the enter key, the default block is no longer automatically the paragraph Block.
WordPress added a new photos section to WordPress.org. You can now download photos for your website in various formats—an excellent new addition to get pictures for free.
I think Full Site Editing is a new approach in a state of version 1. We were expecting it since it was evident that WordPress had been heading in this direction in the past. However, it is not ready for prime time yet. It seems that FSE is made from developers for developers and not for the average WordPress user. I still recommend using a page builder like Elementor or Divi and a popular theme. They are much more mature than FSE.
Having said that, I would upgrade to WordPress 5.9 because of the enhancements in Gutenberg Blocks. Please make first a good backup before upgrading.
What do you think about WordPress 5.9? Please let me know in the comment section below.