WordPress 5.8 Release – new features, duotone filters, full site editing

WordPress 5.8 and the journey continues. According to w3techs, 42% of all websites now run on WordPress and the most popular CMS in the world – WordPress – is constantly evolving. After WordPress 5.7, there are numerous new features in this second major release for 2021! Four majors were originally planned, but the main version 6.0 is now only planned for 2022.

It will be more user-friendly and easier for laypersons to use. After the Gutenberg editor introduced in 2019 has now established itself, it will be used in the new major release of WordPress 5.8 again give useful features and improvements that simplify the creation of various pages and the design of blog articles.

WordPress 5.8 was scheduled as last, today on July 20, 2021 finally published. The aim was to consolidate the first version of Full Site Editing (FSE) into the WordPress core. Full Site Editing means in particular that all site elements can be created with Gutenberg blocks – with this release now also the widget elements. Also included are some improvements and new features like block updates, new design blocks, WebP image support and even better full site editing.

We have compiled the most interesting changes and a small roadmap to the new features for you in this article.

WordPress is currently working on the 2nd phase of the Gutenberg project, which will make it possible to manage content in a new way. Unlike the Tiny MCE Editor, Gutenberg uses so-called blocks for all elements of a post or page. Each block represents a building block for a specific element.

• In stage 1 In 2019 the new block editor was released in WordPress 5.0.
• In stage 2 in 2021 the WordPress development team is focused on that Full site editing to integrate with WordPress. The aim is to make the entire website customizable and edit global elements such as headers and footers beyond the context of individual pages and posts.

We show you what to expect in the beta version WordPress 5.8, which will be released on July 20th, 2021 (with screenshots):

Table of contents of the new features of WordPress 5.8

  1. block updates
  2. Blocks as widgets
  3. Improvements in the WordPress 5.8 block editor
  4. WebP images come to WordPress
  5. More improvements for developers

1. To the block updates

Several new block types are now available, including Page Lists, Site Title, Logo, Tagline, and Query Loop. The Query Loop block offers multiple layouts for posts and comes with new matching block patterns. Other updates are:

  • A new panel called “List View” can be used to more easily navigate through complex blocks and patterns.
  • Additional image effects are available with a new duotone block.
  • With a new widgets screen and updated customizer, you can use any block in widget areas.

2. Blocks as widgets

Another big step towards full-site editor is the new interface “Blocks as widgets“. You can test the new widget experience using the customizer or the site View > Widgets call

Blocks as widgets brings you the flexibility of the block editor to your WordPress sidebar widgets. You can use colors, spacing, typography and other design tools without installing any plugins.

In the Widgets block you can also use the classic widgets that are not available as blocks. This new feature can also be disabled by installing and activating the Classic Widgets plugin.

3. Improvements in the WordPress 5.8 Block Editor

We’ve rounded up some of the improvements and new features that await you in WordPress 5.8. Most of the improvements concern the block editor, which is also probably where you spend most of your time.

4. WebP images come to WordPress

WebP is a new image file format for use on the web. If you use the WebP image format, your images will be 25-34% smaller than PNG and JPEG with no loss of quality. Currently, WordPress doesn’t support WebP images and users see an error when trying to upload a WebP image.

With WordPress 5.8 you can upload WebP images to your WordPress website without using any plugins. However, one disadvantage is that if a user uses an unsupported browser, the image is not automatically replaced with JPEG or PNG.

So if the majority of users are using an unsupported browser, it’s best to use an image compression plugin like TinyPNG anyway.

5. More improvements for developers

WordPress 5.8 also brings many changes for developers to use in their own themes, plugins and projects.

Below are some of them:

  • WordPress will end support for Internet Explorer by the end of this year. WordPress 5.8 merged most of the changes required for this. (here you can find the changes in detail)
  • Context-aware filters to use block editor APIs on multiple WordPress admin screens (#52920)
  • WordPress recovery mode email message is now only displayed when emails are sent (#52560)

If you think you found a bug, report it in the alpha/beta section of the forum. If you know how to create a reproducible bug report, you can also create a WordPress trac. There you will also find a list of all known bugs.

In this YouTube clip from WPCrafter.com (in English) you will also find the most important new features of the WordPress 5.8 release explained and demonstrated in detail – feel free to take a look.