Yesterday was another WordPress release, and once again it’s packed with many great features. This release is a big step towards a complete redesign of the site. It brings us new opportunities to easily switch our pages, liven up images and other improvements to our favorite open source platform. Find out what WordPress 5.8 brings to the desktop!

The latest WordPress release is here! And it brings us a lot of new features, improvements and enhancements version 10.7 Gutenberg extension. Want to know what’s out there for you? We list the most important changes and explain what you can do with them.

The first feature we want to discuss is the ability to add blocks to widget areas on your website. This means that you can add any block to a library entity in a block for widget areas, such as a footer or sidebar. This gives you even more freedom in terms of page content and layout. You can now create layouts with columns, spaces, or change the formatting by adding background colors, different fonts, and more.

WordPress 5.8: Screenshot of new feature block widgets
You can find this new block widget in Appearance> Widgets or in the Adapter

This is another step towards blocking the new standard in WordPress. The goal of the WordPress team is ultimately to create a seamless experience where you can build your page with just blocks. This feature is another step on the road to complete site customization.

New blocks and patterns for displaying messages

A lot of new blocks and templates have been added to the block library, and one of our highlights is the Query Loop block. This block allows you to display message types on any page and specify what information you want to display. You can display messages in a specific category or create a page of your most popular messages without encoding. And you decide whether to display the title, the image displayed, the snippet, the release date, etc.

WordPress 5.8: Screenshot of a new query loop block
Example of a message displayed with a Query Loop block

This new block allows you to create pages around a specific topic and manage the design. And when you navigate to your block library templates and click Query in the drop-down menu, you’ll get suggestions for displaying these messages. Be sure to try this as it will help you easily create new pages with a design that suits your needs.

New template editor

Another feature that is part of the site-wide editing tool is the template editor. You must use a blocking theme or a theme that has selected this feature, but when you do so, this editor will be available in the message editor and will allow you to create and edit templates for your content. This editor allows you to edit your pages as you work on your posts. WordPress 5.8 also includes lots of new blocks (13!) That can be useful in creating these templates:

  • Site logo / Site tagline / Site title
  • Query loop
  • Message subject / Message content / Date of transmission / Reference / Message image / Message categories / Message tags
  • Log in / out
  • Page list

Duotone filters

Another fun feature introduced in WordPress 5.8 is the dual filter for your images. Use this filter to select colors for image shadows and highlights. You can choose from a few preset two-tone colors, but you can also customize them to create your own two-tone filter. You can select this filter when you add an image or cover block to a message or page.

WordPress 5.8: Adding a two-way filter to an image
Once you select an image, you can now add it to one of the many duo filters

This filter allows you to add more consistency to your images, work on your brand (using your colors), or make some of them stand out better than others. Go try if the filter is right for you.

Improved list view in your editor

This may not be the most noticeable change, but it makes editing and selecting blocks much easier. Prior to this latest release of WordPress 5.8, you were already able to get an overview of the blocks used on your page or post. However, in the past, this was more of a pop-up that disappears when you click anywhere else. Now when you select the list view at the top of the mail editor, this will open a sidebar where you can find all your blocks. And this sidebar stays with you until you decide you don’t have to see it anymore!

WordPress 5.8: New list view in the mail editor
The list view on the left shows all the blocks on your page

Proposed block models

When working on content and editing one of your blocks, you can also select the Patterns tab. This tab suggests templates based on the block you selected and matches the current content to the template you selected. This release brings new templates, and we can look forward to more template suggestions in later releases.

You can also find these patterns by adding a new block, going to the Patterns tab, and selecting one of the drop-down items. At the moment block editor provides buttons, columns, gallery, headings, text, for query.

And now for the more technical things

Introducing the theme.json

This release also introduces the Global Styles and Global Settings APIs. This allows developers to customize editor settings and styles by creating a theme.json file. In this file, you can configure current and new editing settings and determine how much customers can edit. You can control which features are enabled, block editor and block settings, style management, and custom CSS properties.

Also, if you’re a theme builder, you can use this early version to try out a new feature that might make your life a lot easier.

WordPress no longer supports Internet Explorer 11

If you are an Internet Explorer user, this is important news for you. From now on, WordPress is losing support for Internet Explorer 11. This means that if you have problems managing your site in the future, it will no longer be investigated. Since this may (and probably will) become a problem somewhere along the way, WordPress suggests exploring the use of a a more modern browser that they support.

Increasing WebP support

WebP takes the network by storm and WordPress jumps on board. You can now upload WebP images to your website, but it’s good to note that WordPress isn’t (yet) able to convert JPEG files to WebP. Don’t know what WebP is? This is a relatively new image format and provides better compression for online images. On average, their file size is much smaller than their counterparts (such as JPEG or PNG), and this helps keep your pages light and fast to load.

More block supports

We have already seen block subsidies added WordPress 5.6 and 5.7 and this latest release brings us new ones. WordPress 5.8 includes a few new block support flags and options for customizing registered blocks. Read more about them the dev note in the block supports API updates.

Coming next!

  • WordFest Live

    Event WordFest Live

    July 23, 2021

    Team Yoast sponsored WordFest Live, click through to see if there will be anyone out there and much more!
    All events we participate in »

  • Yoast SEO News Seminar - August 31, 2021

    SEO webinar Yoast SEO News Seminar – August 31, 2021

    August 31, 2021

    Sign up for the SEO News Seminar in August 2021. Our SEO experts Jono and Joost will talk to you through the latest Google and WordPress news.
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