WordPress 5.8 Now Available

I know some of you keep track of WordPress releases but in case you missed it, the dev team released WordPress 5.8 “Tatum” to the general public yesterday, July 20, 2021. This version was named in honor of legendary Jazz pianist, Art Tatum.

Below are some of the highlights of the things that come with the newest release, as posted in the official announcement for WordPress 5.8.

WordPress 5.8 Highlights

WordPress 5.8 Widgets Blocks

Manage Widgets with Blocks

Users can now add blocks both in widget areas as well as with live preview via the Customizer. This new feature opens up new possibilities when it comes to creating content such as no-code mini layouts to a vast library of core and third-party blocks.

WordPress 5.8 Query Loop

Display Posts with New Blocks and Patterns

With the Query Loop Block, it is now possible to display posts based on specified parameters which work like a PHP loop without the code. Users can now easily display posts from a specific category, create a portfolio or page full of their favorite stuff. Also, pattern suggestions make it easier to create lists of posts using the design that you want.

WordPress 5.8 About Template

Edit the Templates Around Posts

Now, users can use the block editor to edit templates that contain your content. All they need to do is activate a block theme or a theme that has this feature. Users can easily switch between editing posts to editing pages and vice versa. There are more than 20 new blocks that are available with compatible themes.

Overview of the Page Structure

Sometimes you need a simple landing page, but sometimes you need something a little more robust. As blocks increase, patterns emerge, and content creation gets easier, new solutions are needed to make complex content easy to navigate. List View is the best way to jump between layers of content and nested blocks. Since the List View gives you an overview of all the blocks in your content, you can now navigate quickly to the precise block you need. Ready to focus completely on your content? Toggle it on or off to suit your workflow.

Suggested Patterns for Blocks

Starting in this release the Pattern Transformations tool will suggest block patterns based on the block you are using. Right now, you can give it a try in the Query Block and Social Icon Block. As more patterns are added, you will be able to get inspiration for how to style your site without ever leaving the editor!

Style and Colorize Images

Colorize your image and cover blocks with duotone filters! Duotone can add a pop of color to your designs and style your images (or videos in the cover block) to integrate well with your themes. You can think of the duotone effect as a black and white filter, but instead of the shadows being black and the highlights being white, you pick your own colors for the shadows and highlights. There’s more to learn about how it works in the documentation.

For Developers

  • Theme.json – control editor settings, availabe customization tools and style blocks using a theme.json file.
  • Dropping support for IE11 – this release no longer suppports Internet Explorer 11.
  • Adding support for WebP – WordPress 5.8 now supports WebP, aa modern image format that provides lossless and lossy compression for web images.
  • Adding Additional Block Supports – this version introduces several new block support flags and new options to customize registered blocks.

If you have set up automatic background updates for your WordPress installation, then you don’t have to do anything. The site will be automatically upgraded to the latest version. For those who haven’t enabled automatic background updates or are not familiar with this feature, you can do so by logging in to your WordPress Dashboard > Updates and then click Update Now.

Before you upgrade, make sure to backup all your important files like wp-config and the contents of the wp-content folder.

As a personal rule of thumb, I don’t immediately upgrade my WordPress installation unless it is a maintenance & security update like WordPress 5.7.2. I wait a couple of weeks or so until all the bugs and other issues are fixed or ironed out, then do the upgrade. It also gives time for some WordPress plugins to be updated and make sure it runs or works smoothly with the latest version of WordPress.

Anyone here who already upgraded their WordPress-powered websites to WordPress 5.8? How is your experience so far? Did you encounter any bugs or issues especially with third-party plugins? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

[image source: WordPress official blog]

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