Now that WordPress 5.9 has officially launched, it’s time to start looking ahead to WordPress 6.0.
Recently, WordPress core contributor Matias Ventura released the preliminary roadmap for WordPress 6.0 which gave an overview of the features and upgrades that are planned for this year.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what we might expect to see in WordPress 6.0.
- WordPress 6.0
- WordPress 6.0 Planned Features And Improvements
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The overall goal of WordPress 6.0 is to consolidate and expand the set of customization tools that were introduced in 5.9 for creating themes with blocks, with a special focus on usability and refinement.
End of Gutenberg Phase 2
This release has been deemed the “conceptual wrap” for Phase 2 of the Gutenberg Project.
The Four Phases of Gutenberg are:
- Easier Editing — Already available in WordPress, with ongoing improvements
- Customization — Full Site editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, Block based themes
- Collaboration — A more intuitive way to co-author content
- Multi-lingual — Core implementation for Multi-lingual sites
While the full site editing tools that were introduced in Phase 2 of the process will continue to play in future development, after WordPress 6.0, developers will begin applying most of their efforts to Phase 3 of the long-term roadmap.
WordPress 6.0 Planned Features And Improvements
Now that the main features of Phase 2 have been introduced, WordPress 6.0 is all about refining those features and making them more usable.
Below are the main features WordPress 6.0 will focus on improving.
The site editor was a huge step for WordPress, but the tool is still limited in its capabilities.
Some of the features that were planned for the release of WordPress 5.9 did not make the cut and will need to be revisited.
Also, the WordPress team will have plenty of learnings to apply to these tools now that they have been released and are widely used.
The initial goals for the editor outlined in the WordPress 6.0 roadmap include:
- Refine the information architecture and template browsing experience.
- Improve template creation (aiming at never showing disconcerting empty states) and allow the easy creation of more specific templates.
- Expose site structure as “navigation” outside the navigation block.
- Introduce browse mode to be able to conveniently follow links to different parts of the site.
- Embrace style alternates driven by json variations.
- Improve post settings design and organization.
- Complete the scope of global styles.
- Remove coupling of templates to specific themes.
- Explore more advanced drafting and scheduling for the site editor.
WordPress 6.0 will also place a heavy focus on patterns and expand their usability as the main tool to use when building sites and pages.
Now that a majority of the infrastructure has been established, WordPress 6.0 will aim to add the following improvements to patterns:
- Prioritize pattern insertion on template building.
- Simplify registration of patterns for themes.
- Introduce page patterns for page creation.
- Use patterns as possible transforms for offering “layout” options.
There will also be several block-related improvements to look forward to in WordPress 6.0.
While the main focus will continue to be on the interaction of the Navigation block, the other features we have to look forward to include:
- Finalize scope of navigation block and its overlay rendering.
- Introduce various new blocks to power the display of comments on themes.
- Allow the featured image to be an attribute of other blocks (like Cover, Media & Text, etc) to expand what designs can be achieved.
- Allow Quotes and Lists to have child blocks. Some of the current limitations of the writing experience arise from this constraint.
- Improve the Table block.
- Explore the viability of inline tokens.
- Migrate default block styles into proper style attributes.
- Pick up the work done for a Table of Contents block.
WordPress 5.9 was a big step in consolidating the existing design tools and introducing some new ones that addressed major gaps in the user experience and gave authors a simpler way to register them.
Now, WordPress 6.0 will narrow its focus around tightening consistency, introducing more responsive capabilities, and expanding the Supports & Elements API.
It will also aim to make it easier for third-party blocks to adopt these tools.
Design improvements will focus on three areas – Layout, Typography, and Elements.
Let’s take a closer look at those three areas.
- Address confusions and shortcomings of layout features (including mind-benders like “inherit layout”).
- Explore more convenient direct manipulation for the height and width (alignment distribution) of blocks.
- Incorporate more definitive responsive handling (min/max containers) into the current flex-based tools.
- Introduce responsive fonts with good defaults.
- Add a Web Fonts API connected with global styles.
- Explore paragraphs with indents and justification with hyphenation as global styles settings.
- Introduce support for customizing block Captions.
- Investigate hover/focus effects and related problems.
While full block themes are the future of WordPress, work continues to be done that aims to improve how all themes can interact with blocks and make use of these news tools at their own pace.
Along with the planned features and improvements outlined above, WordPress 6.0 will also look to:
- Continue to adopt theme.json configuration for non-block themes as it aims to simplify and consolidate support for block properties and their capabilities.
- With the “focused template part” editor established there are new opportunities for non-block themes to start incorporating specific areas for blocks using the site editor interface in a more gradual way, when ready to do so.
- Utilize what has been implemented for the navigation block and site structure as the interface to eventually replace the navigation screen.
- Explore the flows for creating some dynamic templates with blocks similar to the custom page templates supported in classic themes.
The WordPress 6.0 Roadmap is just the first glimpse of what we can expect to see in the upcoming releases of WordPress.
Keep this post bookmarked and stay tuned for more details around WordPress 6.0 as they become available.