WordPress 5.8: Full-Site Editing and More

WordPress 5.8 is coming.

With WordPress 5.7 released and in the rearview, the WordPress core team has turned its attention to the release of WordPress 5.8. 

It will be the second major release of 2021.

The upcoming release is being personally led by WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg, and the CEO’s involvement is a good indicator that this release will pack a punch. 

Let’s take a look at what is planned for the WordPress 5.8 release.

  • WordPress 5.8 Features
    • Full-Site Editing
    • Pattern Directory
  • WordPress 5.8 Release Schedule
    • Upcoming Release Dates

WordPress 5.8 Features 

Full-Site Editing

The primary upgrade planned to be included in the release of WordPress 5.8 is full-site editing (FSE). 

According to the WordPress core, “Full site-editing is where the promise of Gutenberg gets proven—the technical aspects meet the philosophical aspects as a user-focused tool meant to empower the user to create, and express, and sustain themselves online.”

The original intention was to fully roll out FSE in WordPress 5.8, but this release will only partially introduce FSE to WordPress. 

This partial rollout of FSE aims to put the core in a position to merge FSE later in 2021, while also raising awareness and increasing the skills of the WordPress community along the way. 

Below are the FSE-related features expected to be available in WordPress 5.8.

  • Improvements from Gutenberg 9.9+.
  • New theme-related blocks such as Query, Site Logo, Navigation, and more.
  • theme.json integration, which allows themes to define block defaults and settings.
  • Template-editing mode for the block editor.
  • Block-based customizer integration and widgets screen.
  • New block design tools, such as duotone (SVG filters for images), layout controls, padding, and more.

Core has said that not all of the above features are currently ready to ship, but they do believe they will be ready by the release date. 

Pattern Directory

WordPress 5.8 also looks to introduce the Pattern directory for Block Patterns, which are a way to set up layouts of blocks, through themes and plugins. 

Similar to the Plugin and Theme directories, the Pattern directory will be a one-stop shop for WordPress patterns. 

Core has the following targets set for the initial launch in WordPress 5.8:

  • Anyone will be able to browse through patterns on the Pattern directory, based on pattern categories, or by searching
  • Anyone can see a live preview of a pattern, and use it on their site by copying the block code
  • WP.org users will be able to create and share Block Patterns, as well as view and manage their submitted patterns
  • Patterns will be able to be picked from a set of curated images and media to use, but not from uploaded media
  • Submitted Block Patterns will go through some basic validation/automated moderation
  • The block editor will search and fetch core patterns from the directory

WordPress 5.8 Release Schedule

The WordPress 5.8 alpha was released on February 23, and the pre-planning post took place on March 30. 

Here’s a look at the rest of the WordPress 5.8 development cycle and upcoming release schedule:

Upcoming Release Dates

  • May 25: Feature freeze/bug fixes period. There will be no commits for new enhancements or feature requests during this time as the core contributors focus on defect work (also known as outstanding bugs).
  • June 8: Beta 1 will be released. Beginning on this date, core contributors will focus on testing and fixing bugs discovered during the three weeks of beta testing. They will also begin writing Dev Notes and the About page.
  • June 15: Beta 2 drops. Core contributors will test beta 2, fix bugs discovered during beta testing, and continue writing Dev Notes and the About page.
  • June 22: Beta 3 released. Same game plan as beta 2, but also includes a soft string freeze. A “string freeze” is used by the core team to signal the end of changes to the strings of an upcoming release. A string freeze also means that there will be no more strings added to the core project. A soft freeze usually marks the end of feature development.
  • June 29: Planned release date for release candidate 1. Also when you can expect core contributors to publish the Field Guide with Dev Notes, commit the About page, and begin drafting the release post.  There will also likely be a hard string freeze on this date, which typically means development is complete. 
  • July 6: Release candidate 2 drops. Core will update the About page images and continue drafting the release post.
  • July 13: Release candidate 3 release date. Core to finalize the About page and the release post.
  • July 19: Dry run for release of WordPress 5.8. Core implements a 24-hour code freeze
  • July 20: WordPress 5.8 general release date.

Bookmark this page to stay up-to-date on all the features and developments planned for WordPress 5.8, and stay tuned for the July 20 release. 

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