WordPress usually does major updates to its platform 3 to 4 times a year. The next update is WordPress 5.8 and is slated for release on July 20, 2021. This update features some pretty massive changes, especially If you have gotten on the Gutenburg train. We are going to have a quick look a the changes in WordPress 5.8
WebP Image Support
WordPress 5.8 will now natively support WebP Images. WebP Images can replace both jpg and png as they have the ability to have transparent backgrounds. WebP Images are a smaller file size than their predecessors. If you run a Google page speed test on your site, you often find they recommend replacing your images with WebP Images. If you are like me and still use Photoshop for image creation, they do not export to WebP Image. There are sites like cloud convert.com that will take your images and convert them over.
Gutenburg Block List View
Now full disclosure, I am still not on the Gutenburg train. Some designers, developers, and site owners are starting to convert over, I have yet to be one of them. But regardless of whether I use Gutenburg on my builds, I wanted to still make note of the changes to Gutenburg for WordPress 5.8. That brings us to the Gutenburg block list view. You can click on the builder and get a full view list of all the blocks that are in use.
You can add ready to go layout to any WordPress site with a simple copy/paste.
You now will have more options for both color and typography on a block level.
Changes to Images
In WordPress 5.8, in regard to images, they will add a duotone feature where you can add some cool duotone effects to your images. The option will be built in, all you have to do is select your image.
Gutenburg has now created an Embed PDF block. This will allow your viewers to view the PDF directly on the site and allow them to download the PDF. You can control the height of the viewer as well. This is a cool new feature for fans of Gutenburg
You can add names to blocks and add those to a reusable library of blocks or sections. My one reservation about this is you can change a reusable block on one page, and it will change it on all the pages. I currently find this a bit wonky. If I drop in a template section in Elementor, then edit that section on the page, it does not change the entire template.
Theme Building Blocks
It was no secret that when Gutenburg was introduced in WordPress 5.0, it was done so with the intention of someday replacing page builders. It also was no secret that it was not there yet. Each major WordPress release keeps trying to walk Gutenburg up to the strength of page builders such as Elementor and DIVI. Theme building blocks and the aforementioned Reusable Blocks are two of the ways they are doing that. Full theme building is not out quite yet, it will probably be a late 2021 or early 2022 release. However, they are going to start introducing some theme building blocks. One theme block is the logo block, another is the tagline, and a bunch of post blocks. These are designed to be able to design full sections of your site and choose where to drop them in.
Another way Gutenburg is trying to become a page builder is by offering a template builder. When you go to a page navigate to where it lists the page temple you are on. Now you can hit save new template. It will take you to template editor, where you can edit parts of the page and save them as a new template. You then can apply the template to the page.
Gutenburg in Widgets
In WordPress 5.8, when you open up your widgets in your admin panel, the Gutenburg block builder will be integrated into the widgets panel. This is an interesting feature and it will give you more versatility regarding your widgets. It also shows just how dedicated the WordPress developers are to being Gutenburg forward. They do, however, know this won’t go over well with some, so they are also releasing a classic widgets plugin that will allow your widgets functions to be the same as before.
So, there is WordPress 5.8 in a nutshell. If you are a Gutenburg user, these updates should get you pretty stoked. If you are not (which I currently am not…yet) This update will have less impact on you, but I feel changes lie WebP support is going in the right direction. If this is a lot to take in, and you are worried about how this will affect your website, Hughbanks Design has website care plans designed to take the hassles out of keeping your website up to date.