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WordPress 5.8: What are the New Features Coming Up?

WordPress 5.8 is expected to release in less than two weeks now and we can’t be any more excited about the intriguing features that will be bundled in the latest update. As you must be aware, WordPress 5.8 is presently running in beta version 3 and will release on July 20 so it doesn’t have all the possible updates as of now. With this update, developers will need to be equipped and understand the enhancements that are being made to WordPress to enable users to edit their website from a website user’s perspective. Understanding and interpreting the major impact editing a website has on the online world is necessary.

One such feature is the template editor which is a new tool that offers users to develop custom templates without leaving the post-editing screen. The negative aspect of this feature is that in WordPress 5.8 the users will not have access to their theme header, footer, sidebar or various other template sections. It is a canvas in which they must be creative to create the whole page. In this blog, we will go through the loose ends of WordPress 5.8 from SEO and Developers point of view along with the interesting features of WordPress 5.8 update.

What are the loose ends of the last WordPress Update According to Developers and SEO?

WordPress is undoubtedly the most commonly used Content Management System (CMS) around the world which makes up about 30 percent of all existing websites in use. The existing version of WordPress 5.7 had great new features with the focus on the future. But, you end up missing out on some aspects while trying to focus on the future because of the features’ uncertainty. The same happened with WordPress 5.7 and will likely be the case with 5.8 as well but the focus should be to reduce the chances. 

The latest update in WordPress 5.7 version included the support for PHP8. It is safe to say that PHP8 will also be included in the 5.8 update. After the 5.6 update, the system will update to the next level of Core WordPress whether you like it or not. It does make sense from a security perspective and the websites can be at risk. 

There were also some security issues in the 5.6 update regarding the latest plug-ins and external apps to create separate users automatically. This latest feature enables third party apps to request permission to connect to a website and create a password for the users of the application or the plug-in. That means the external app can work on behalf of a user via WordPress REST API. 

What to expect from the WordPress 5.8 Update?

With the release date of the WordPress 5.8 getting closer, we can expect some major improvements as under. 

Full Site Editing

The preliminary update slated to be added in the upcoming release of the WordPress 5.8 is the full-site editing (FSE). The WordPress core team believes that Full site editing is the feature where Gutenberg gets more solidarity and it is meant as a user-focused tool to empower the user to develop and express themselves better. The initial idea was to completely roll out FSE in WordPress 5.8 but this release will only include a beta version of FSE to WordPress. 

Now, this partial rollout of FSE is targeted to put the core in a position to combine FSE in the later part of 2021 and at the same time raising awareness and improving the skills of the WordPress community in the process. Some FSE related features which are expected to drop in WordPress 5.8 are:

  • Enhancements in Gutenberg 9.9+.
  • Some theme related blocks like Sie logo, navigation and more.
  • Theme.json integration which enables themes to define block defaults and settings.
  • Template editing mode for the block editor which we have explained in detail below.
  • Block related customizer integration and widgets screen.
  • Improved block design tools like duotone, layout controls, padding etc. 

The WordPress core team have also established that only some of the above features are ready but they will be ready to be launched in the final release update on July 20.

Template Editor

WordPress 5.8 has a new template editing mode which enables users to have complete control over their website layout and the look and feel. This multidimensional feature will let you simply switch between editing the design and content on the page. 

The latest version of theme blocks were launched with the template editing mode to update your website template which has the power to edit site content like taglines and titles while viewing the website as a real user. Additionally, it is now possible to edit post features while the post is presented to you as user experience. The edits can include things like:

  • Title
  • Content
  • Date
  • Categories
  • Featured Image
  • Tags

Apart from this, you can also make changes from a user experience like your website logo or page list. Now, it is fair to say that it is one of the most exciting features of WordPress 5.8 but you will still want to be careful when making changes to your live website. It is because multiple pages can be affected on a website if you make changes to particular areas like headers, footers etc. Though the template editor provides you some needed control to edit your theme from a user’s perspective, it is not a fully-functional website editing tool yet. 

Block Editor Enhancements

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Another major enhancement in the WordPress 5.8 update is an expanded block editor. In the block editor itself, you can edit and add new blocks to create the layout of the page with latest editing abilities like being able to shift padding between two columns.

A new feature of the block editor is the block outline indicator which is a selector tool that will make selecting blocks to edit simpler. Distinct views like the list view or outline will provide you the whole picture of what is presented and included on your page.

An enhancement that is urgently expected by the developers is that of image filters. Users will be able to select from preset and custom overlay filters on media blocks that consist of galleries, images and other cover images. The latest navigation tools on the new block editor makes it easier to change your theme or page.

WebP Image Format

WebP-image-format

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The last major enhancement with the WordPress 5.8 update is the capability to upload and implement WebP images. This is the latest standard for images defined by Google. When compared with the PNG or JPEG file formats, the WebP file type can decrease the image size by almost 25 percent. 

As WebP images are comparatively smaller in size, this enables the WordPress websites to load faster and use significantly lesser bandwidth. Having said that, it is not an easy task to convert all images to WebP. You will have to factor in enough time and effort to update all the images to the WebP image format. The only disadvantage is that WebP imagery is only supported by browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge and Opera. 

Pattern Directory

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WordPress 5.8 update will look to include the Pattern directory for Block Patterns which is a unique way to set up layouts of blocks via plugins and themes. Just like the Plugin and Theme directories, the Pattern directory itself will be an all-inclusive place for WordPress patterns. The WordPress team has following targets set for the primary launch in WordPress 5.8:

  • Users will be able to browse through the Pattern directory depending on pattern categories or by searching.
  • People can see a live preview of a pattern and use it on their site by duplicating the block code.
  • WordPress.org users will be able to create and share Block Patterns along with view and manage the submitted patterns.
  • Patterns will be picked up from a set of arranged images and media but will not be directly uploaded media.
  • Already submitted block patterns will go through some basic validation moderation.
  • The block editor will look into the directory and find the core patterns.

Final Thoughts

WordPress 5.8 is going to be an instrumental change and will bring in a lot of exciting updates to your website in terms of user experience but there may be certain limitations you encounter when developing your website or web page. WordPress 5.8 may only be a website editor but it will never be able to replace human developers. The technical specialists at Nimblechapps, an innovative WordPress development company are updated with the latest trends and can take care of your website development and maintenance. We will come up with a new blog after the successful launch of WordPress 5.8, so stay tuned and keep checking this space for updates.

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Keval Padia is the founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing mobile app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.