WordPress 6.4, led by an underrepresented gender release squad, is progressing fast. Beta 3, is about to be released. The Release Candidate 1 is on the schedule for October 17. That’s also when the docs squad will publish the Field Guide with the Dev Notes and a list of all the changes. Final release is scheduled for November 7, 2023.
To learn about most features coming to a WordPress instance near you, you can participate in not one but two calls for testing
After discussion and recommendations from the release squad, release lead Josepha Haden Chomphosy decided to punt the Font Library and Management to the next major version, WordPress 6.5. The feature needs more time and more testing before it can land in a major release rolled out to millions of users. The WordPress Test team published instructions on how you can help test the Font Library using the Gutenberg plugin.
Also, on October 12, 2023 at 18:00 UTC contributors will discuss in a Hallway Hangout: What’s new for developers in WordPress 6.4. The session will be recorded and published on WordPress TV shortly thereafter.
The Gutenberg plugin release for the 16.7 version was moved to September 27th, 2023. Due to the 3-week release cycle the milestone contained 290 PRs. You can find the full changelog in the release post.
Table of Contents
Background image for Group blocks
Another new feature came to the Group block with the Gutenberg 16.7 release. Users can now add background images to their group blocks via a new UI in the sidebar.
Name your Group blocks
Since the Gutenberg 16.7 release, users can give specific names to their various group blocks in a post, template or page. Those names also persist when the block becomes part of a pattern.
Plugins and tools
Point release of WordPress Coding Standards
After the major release of WordPressCS 3.0.0, contributors packaged a minor release of the 3.0.1 with a short changelog.
Plugin Check plugin
To help with the giant backlog of reviews for new plugins in the repository, the plugin review team published the Plugin Check plugin. which developers can use to double-check their code before they submit it to shorten the review cycle. The plugin points to missing or erroneous code sections and provides hints how to solve it or links to the guidelines so a developer can self-correct before submitting the plugin for official review.
Gutenberg as a framework
More and more agencies and developers are looking into using the Gutenberg packages outside of WordPress. The efforts have been intensified with a series of GitHub issues regarding splitting packages, streamlining ReactJS abstractions and to review components toward reusability in various other contexts. For developers interested in this part of Gutenberg this tracking issue is a great starting point. This GitHub List for the Label “Framework” shows all PRs merged with 16.7. There is also the start of a documentation site. You can get started following these instructions and using Node and Vite for installation.
Buttons block shows Button block variations in the inserter
When you register custom variations for the Button block, the wrapping Buttons block now shows an inserter with all of the available variations. This makes it easier for users to quickly select the Button variation they want to use.
Customizable theme previews back button
You can now customize the back button when previewing block themes. Currently, it points to
/wp-admin/themes.php, but you can change it via the
__experimentalDashboardLink key when filter
New initial focus option for the Modal component
The Modal component now accepts a
firstContentElement for its
focusOnMount property. The first focusable element is often the close button, and using this option lets you focus on the first element of the content
<div> of the Modal component.
Enable Lightbox for image blocks
If you previously enabled the lightbox feature via theme.json, there has been a change. It’s now a block level specific attribute only for the image core block, that can be turned on or off and also
allowEditing can be toggled on or off as well. The support for an
animation setting was removed.
“enabled”: true | false
“allowEditing”: true | false
Buttons now allowed in Navigation block
With this update, users can now add buttons to the Navigation block and implement a common design feature to place a Call to action button into the header of a website.
More design tools for Core blocks
In addition to the above, existing design tools were made available for various Core blocks:
- The Content block has now block gap support.
- Image placeholder received aspect ratio controls which offers more image controls to patterns and templates.
- Button and Headings received elements support.
- Those elements supports were also applied to the Columns Block.
Font Library and Management
After many months in the works, the Font Library is now available with the Gutenberg 16.7 release. It was slated to be included in the next major WordPress version but release lead and team decided to punt it to 6.5. For now it is mainly a feature for end users to upload fonts. The next phase for the Font Library will provide hooks and filters for plugin developers to connect font foundries API to WordPress. Also, theme developers might need to pay attention, as their designs can be overwritten by users with a different font altogether.
Pattern Import/Export as JSON
It was already a well kept secret that you could export reusable blocks (now synched patterns) in JSON format from the wp-admin screens and import them to other sites. Now the feature received an upgrade with the Gutenberg 16.7 release and is available to all patterns.
Events & Resources
The WordPress training team published two new tutorials
The latest Developer Hours covered the create-block package, the official scaffolding tool for custom block development. Besides the fundamentals, participants learned about other features such as external project templates and variants for dynamic blocks or blocks using the interactivity API.
During the latest Hallway Hangout, participants explored the power of block variations and how they can use them to enhance the editing experience in WordPress.
Four new posts expanded the coverage of the WordPress Developer Blog;
- How WordPress developers can keep their users satisfied
- The HTML API: process your tags, not your pain
- How WordPress developers can keep their users satisfied
- Understanding block attributes
Props to @greenshady for co-writing and review