Named in honor of Joséphine Baker, WordPress 5.9 was released in late January. While its major new headline feature, Full Site Editing, is not something most ESC! Technologies Group clients will necessarily benefit from, it does bring a number of improvements for those who might be using the WordPress block editor to manage their blog posts.
All ESC! Technologies Group clients who subscribe to one of our WordPress Care Plans will be updated to the latest release as soon as testing is complete — there is nothing you need to do at this point.
So what’s new in WordPress 5.9?
It’s All About Blocks!
If you’ve used the block editor, you’ll be right at home with the changes found in WordPress 5.9. Aiming to improve the overall block editor experience, WordPress 5.9 is the first release of WordPress to include an all-block-based theme, Twenty Twenty‑Two.
Similar to other popular page builders, WordPress’ block editor, combined with Twenty Twenty-Two, give new users a much friendlier way to design their site right out of the box.
To help with that, WordPress 5.9 includes a new Styles interface to simplify your site’s look and feel, a Navigation Block for easily adding menus wherever they’re needed, new typography tools for adjusting settings like line height, letter spacing, borders, and more. WordPress 5.9 also includes access to the WordPress Pattern Directory for pre-built block patterns you can drop into your site, a completely revamped list view, and an improved Gallery Block.
Developers Get Love Too
New for developers in WordPress 5.9 is support for child themes within theme.json (build child themes directly from Admin), Block-level locking to prevent accidental changes while allowing other blocks to be modified, plus the ability to register more than one stylesheet per block.
And, if you’ve built a plugin or theme that relies on the old Gallery Block? Be sure to catch the details in their dev note that explains how to make your code compatible!
Want More Info on 5.9?
To get a general run down of the new features, you’ll want to read the blog post at WordPress.org. However, if you’re a developer and want to dig further into What’s New with WordPress 5.9, you can check out the Field Guide here.
Updating Your Site
If you’re not subscribed to one of ESC! Technologies Group’s WordPress Care Plans, then before upgrading you’ll want to be sure to:
1. Ensure compatibility with and/or Upgrade all your third party plugins
2. Ensure compatibility with your theme and framework and upgrade if necessary
3. Turn off any caching plugins you may have installed
4. Perform a full backup of your site and database
6. After the upgrade is complete, re-enable your caching plugins and test your site
Enjoy the new WordPress!