Podcast Episode

518 – WordPress 5.9

Announcements

Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Accordian FAQ is a plugin for creating collapsible frequently asked questions sections on your website.

New Features in WordPress 5.9

You can read the full release notes.

  • Full-Site Editing
  • New theme – Twenty Twenty-Two
  • Customize everything, including the navigation from the front-end of your site
  • More block controls
  • Patterns library
  • New and revamped list view
  • Better gallery block
  • And much more!

Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

# Your Website Engineer

[00:00:00] **Dustin:** On today's episode, we are going to talk about WordPress 5.9. Yes, it is finally here and it's available to download now right here on your website, engineer podcast, episode number 518.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of your website, engineer podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler, and today. All about to WordPress, a 5.29, the announcements kind of gear with that as well. So let's go ahead and just dive right in. The first thing is if you're interested in seeing how many downloads of WordPress 5.9 there's been, I would recommend heading over to wordpress.org/download/counter.

And it is a real time. Updates of how many times it's been downloaded. I, I saw somebody post this in our internal slack and I clicked on it and it was at 500,000. So it was like half a million. And this was just a few minutes after it had been released at after 5.9 had been released. Now it is a Wednesday morning I'm recording this and it is at nine.

5 million [00:01:00] sites. So it has been downloaded that many times it's been updated that many times, and it's just crazy to see how many people are already on board and ready to go with WordPress 5.9. You can get your latest release. If you go over to your WordPress site and you can click the update button and you can update to WordPress 5.9.

We'll talk about what the features are and whatnot in just a couple of. The other thing that you might've noticed if you went over to wordpress.org is a new header area. It's got a brand new menu section and across the top, and it is one of those ones that stays put it is a sticky header. So there's all kinds of new things that they've showcased there.

It's a black header and they've gotten to WordPress the, the logo of course at the top. And then they've got plugins and themes and patterns and learn and support and news, and about get involved, showcase mobile hosting and open verse. And then there's a search icon. And then there is a. WordPress button, which will take you to the download page.

And so if you're interested in seeing some new revamped, they did some stuff in the header and they changed a few things down in the footer as well, and kind of laying out the way [00:02:00] that that footer bar looks. And so those are a few things that you might want to take a look at and see the new design changes there.

The last thing is if you have a plugin on the WordPress repository, The, on the WordPress repository, this would be a great time to go in and say that it is compatible with WordPress at 5.9. That is that little icon that shows up there when, as part of the version release, it usually says version last updated, active installations, WordPress version, and what it's tested up to.

And so those are good things to keep, keep the latest version and make sure that your plugins and themes work well with the latest version of word. So that's on my to-do list to do at some point to update the, as hurt on plugin. All right. The other thing that I want to share with you this morning is about the, the plugin that I found this week, and this plugin is called accordion FAQ, and there's a bunch of these out here, and this is just one that I found it's got five 50,000 active installs.

So I figured it was a pretty decent one. I haven't installed it myself, but this is one by WP shop Mart and they have a few other plugins [00:03:00] as well. Um, Uh, counter numbers, responsive coming, soon team builder tabs. So they've got some, quite a few plugins on the WordPress repository, but basically this is a responsive design plugin that allows you to create an according FAQ plugin.

But basically what that means is. You can list your question and then they can expand an area. I think about kind of like an accordion that the all say you have five questions and then there's five questions listed. And then there's like a plus sign on the right or the left and that will open the according and then you can see all the answers and then you can close it back up.

And these are great for FAQ. That you want to have on a landing page of some kind, but you don't want them to take up a bunch of space. I recommend checking out accordion FAQ. You can find it in the show notes. There's a link to it there, or you can search the WordPress repository. And while you're there, take a look at the header and take a look at the footer and you can see the new design they're on WordPress.

All right, let's go ahead and take a look at the latest version of WordPress. Introducing WordPress a 5.9. Josephine it's named in honor of the acclaimed international jazz singer, [00:04:00] Josephine baker, and the latest most recent word press release is one of the most versatile releases ever. You can update it directly from your dashboard as a lifelong civil rights campaign or Josephine baker.

Believed that all people could live in harmony together just as different instruments in a jazz band blend together to make a whole piece. The introduction piece says a turn on a playlist from your favorite music service and enjoy some of her favorite rendition. So we're going to listen to the love is a dreamer.

now I could just go through and just read over with her music in the background, but I'm not going to, I'm going to spare you that, so you just hear my voice, but I'm going to read through some of the different features and I've installed this and it is, it is wicked cool. Like I haven't followed all of the, all the steps of getting to this.

Place in WordPress 5.9, but full site editing is here and [00:05:00] to get a good understanding of what this is, we have to say hello to 2022. It is the first default block theme in the history of WordPress. A block theme is a brand new way to build teams. And this is brand new with WordPress 5.9. Just make sense of the default theme is the first default block beam in history.

It's more than just a default theme though. It's a brand new way to work with WordPress themes. A block theme is a theme that uses blocks for all parts of the site, including navigation, headers, content, and site footer. The themes are built for the newest features coming from WordPress that will allow you to edit and correct.

All parts of your site. This allows you to, to switch up key parts of your theme without ever needing to change themes. And then with a WordPress of block theme, you can place an edit blocks outside your content and using the template editor or the site editor you can use blocks and templates provided by the theme or plugin.

For example, an archive page. Or a four-page you can also create custom templates. And so I'll put a link here in the show notes for, uh, there's an article over on the [00:06:00] wordpress.org support page on block themes itself. But basically think about the, the customizer has gone to the customize. There is no more when you use a block theme and up at the top where it used to say customize and now says, edit.

And you click on that and the customizers gone, and then it just gives you the ability to click anywhere on that page and start making adjustments to the site. It has really, really cool clicking on that edit site link. It kind of brings you into what looks like the block editor a little bit on the top.

You have the w as the WordPress Novack navigation to get back to the regular WordPress dashboard, you have the, the plus symbol that you can toggle blocks. Insert blocks in different places. So you have that ability, you have the ability to edit and you hit the edit button and you, or you can edit or select so you can pick one of those.

And then it pulls up a little module that you can find out more information about that section or that setting. So for example, if I go in, I click edit and then I click on the title. It's going to give you the familiar block. Kind of [00:07:00] floating toolbar there so I can show that I want it to be, I can, I can group things.

I can move it from an H to, I can move that to an H one tag and instantly it gets bigger. I can customize it or I can make it the max width or I can have columns on the side. I can justify it. So if I wanted my headers on my blows to be centered, I can go ahead and say, Very very quickly and very, very simply you can go up to the top where the header information is.

You can change your logo, you can crop your logo, right? From this interface, you can add menu items. You can build a menu straight from here. You can add new blocks that are across the top. So if you wanted to add a search bar to the top menu, you can go ahead and do. It's it's basically, it's like the block editor when you're building out a page, but then you have customization options for everything.

Whether that be your footer, you can, you can remove that text proudly powered by WordPress. If you don't like that anymore, just go ahead and get rid of it. Or you can, instead of being right justified, you can left justify it, or you can put it in the center or you can add menus around it, or you can, [00:08:00] you can do.

Everything with these new block editors and it is an incredible feat of engineering. It's an incredible feat of just, just the power and where we've come so far though. The one weird thing, I guess I would say about how this works is I installed this on a brand new test installation using local by flywheel.

And when I went to a new post it and went in and I edited the hello world. It's still giving me the module that PO, that pops up that says welcome to the block editor. Like I know that it's the block header came out in WordPress 5.0, and it's still welcoming me. Like, I would think that this would be the default way with, on a brand new installation.

So that's one of the weird parts that I found when I was installing WordPress at 5.9 for the first time. But other than that, like, it's been a really slick. Thing like you can do so much. It's, it's built, the theme is built for full site editing. Of course, if you have a theme that's made by, you know, maybe you have your own custom theme, maybe you have a theme that you purchased or whatnot.

You're not going to [00:09:00] have all this functionality right out of the box because it has to be defined in the theme. All these areas that can be changed and modified and customize. In theory, you could take the 20, 22 theme and you could customize it to look exactly like your current theme. And then you would have a block editor theme and it would, it would take a while to customize.

It's kind of like the same thing as if you wanted to use back in the day, like beaver builder, or you wanted to use headway, or you wanted to use some of these drag and drop solutions, you could build almost any type of theme, but it would be a matter of. Just take a little while. So that is something to think about.

And I don't think that we're going to see a whole bunch of these block themes real, real soon. Like, it's going to take some while to a little while to roll out. I know there's a handful of them out there already. Besides the, the, the 2022. Theme there are. Let's see, I'm looking here. There's if you can filter by full site editing on the wordpress.org site and it looks like there are 45 themes out there already that have this ability that to do and to [00:10:00] use the block editor.

So this would be a good example. If you're maybe running a blog. And that's, that's just a bunch of texts. Like Dustin, that blog would be a great example of somebody actually created the Kubrick two theme. Kubrick was one of the very first themes, the default themes for WordPress and now somebody built it.

So it works with full site editing. So there's a handful of them out here. Some of them look pretty cool and it would be a good exercise to start to learn how to use the new editor by picking one of these themes from the WordPress repository. I have a link in the show notes to get directly to it, but you can search for those and then you can, you can install them on your WordPress.

All right. So there's other things that came in WordPress 5.9. This was the big thing was full site editing, of course, but now there's better block controls, WordPress 5.9 features, new typography tools, flexible layout tools and finer control like details like spacing, borders, and more just to help you get the perfect look that you are looking for.

So in the type of typography section, there's a. Uh, window that pulls up and you can select the size of fund you can sell, like the [00:11:00] appearance, the line height, the letter case, whether it's all capital, where it's all lowercase, whether it's title case, if you want letter spacing. So if you want space between each letter, you can do that.

And if you want to do the drop cap, so it used to just have the drop cap option that you could toggle on a paragraph paragraph block. Now you can do all of these things and customize. The other thing that's really cool about the WordPress 5.9 is the power of patterns. So there's now a WordPress, a pattern directory, and it is a home of a wide range of block patterns made to save you time and add to your site's functionality.

You can edit them as you see fit, you can swap them in and out. You can put them in your head or your foot, or, you know, wherever, but basically what this is, is. Um, people have come up with, oh, I want an image on the left and I want text on the right, or I want to image on the top and I want a text on the left or the bottom, or I want a ordered list on one side and then half an image and then another half image down below or whatever those are, what patterns are.

And you can search for those. And you can S you can find those, and it just drives. All the block components right into your site to do this. [00:12:00] When you are a poster page, you can go up to the, the little plus icon next to the WordPress logo. And that's going to open up your block section. We're familiar with that.

We've used this for the last few years, so it has all of the blocks, the media, this design, the widgets, all those kinds of things. And then there's another. Hadrons and patterns give you the ability to do a let's. For example, there's a S there's a subscriber call out the one here that is included with 2022 looks like 20, 22.

It says, watch birds from your inbox and you can join our mailing list. And you basically, you can customize the button. If you want. You can customize the text where they put in their email address. You can customize all of this information. It's really cool. So that's that's patterns you can have. There's layered images with a dual tone.

That gives you the ability to have like an image with another image behind it, but the image behind it is like gray scale. You can't have a wide image with an introduction in buttons. It's, it's neat. I think the next time that you were creating a poster page, you should go in and look at some of these patterns and just see what, what it looks like.

There's one called a speaker series or a list of events, and then it has three different columns, [00:13:00] all laid out that you can put the date, you can put the speaker name and you can put the, the, you could put where they're talking about all in a column. It's really. And all of these you can add and you can put them in different columns and then you can change the colors.

You can do default colors. There's, you know, you can change the, the color of the text or the background color, or you can change the, you could change everything about it, which is really nice and a huge improvement to try to come up and design these blocks. Right. So that's the power of patterns. There's also a new and revised list view.

And so in 5.9, you can click on there's up at the top there by where the plus icon is. There's an edit button, there's some, there's a back and a forward button. And then there are three like vertical lines that aren't quite lined up, but this is what's considered list view. And this allows you to drag and drop your content exactly where you want it.

Managing complex documents is easier. There are simple controls there to let you expand. Collapsed sections that you build your site. You're going to add HTML anchors to your blocks and help users get around the page. So if you've you've [00:14:00] written this whole page, your mission statement, you have some things items grouped together, but all of a sudden you need an image at the top.

You can just click and drag it from there. You can do it in the block editor. When there's large sections of text, and maybe you have a small computer screen, it's really hard to click and drag all of that information where you need this, just basically as a line item for each thing. So it's like a paragraph image heading paragraph image heading, and you can just click and drag those around.

It looking exactly like you, like, there's also a better gallery block, so you can treat every images in every image, in a gallery block, the same way you would treat the image in a block. So you can style every image differently, or you can make them all the same. You can do one or two. And what I mean by that is you can, you can take regular images that you've taken, but you can add a filter on top of them in your gallery.

So if you wanted to have like all of your filters, all of your images have like a blue, gray scale type thing you could do that. There's so much that you can do. So. And we're just getting to the start of what is to come with WordPress a 5.9 and [00:15:00] beyond. So that's kind of the recap of what's happening.

There are a lot of things that were also added for developers. There's a theme dot Jason for a child themes. So basically this means your users can build a child theme in the WordPress admin without writing a single line of code. So that's pretty neat. I haven't had a chance to check that out. You could also lock any block in a pattern just by adding a lock attribute.

So leaving the. You could leave some of the items so they can't be edited, but you can edit certain other aspects of it. You can have multiples multiple style sheets and a block. So now you can register. Now you can register more than one style sheet per block, which gives, uh, any block to load different styles and markups, not just the whole sheet.

That's pretty cool. And then the gallery block wasn't refactored and worked, um, to, to redo that entire infrastructure. There are, let's see. Some field guys, there's a field guide page now for WordPress on 5.9. I'll put a link to the show notes for that as well. So you can go through and read more about the block editor.

You can see all of the things, basically it goes through and, uh, highlights at [00:16:00] line by line, the different things that were added. And then the cool part was that this release was led by Matt Mullenweg and supported by a highly enthusiastic release squad. And so there was Matt was the release lead, and then there was a handful of other people that have.

Had roles like the Cortech and release coordinator, the tri triaged lead the editor tech, the theme texts, the technical writers, the documentation leads, the marketing and communication leads and test leads. And it reflects WordPress 5.9 reflects 624 generous volunteers. It, they worked on and worked through 370 tickets on track and had more than 1900 poll requests on GitHub.

So that is a lot of code written to make this happen. Then by release date, which was yesterday, January 25th, 2022. 71 locations had translated 90% of more of WordPress, 5.9. So what that means is if you installed WordPress in one of those languages, you could [00:17:00] switch to 71 different languages. And it was almost fully translated by the time of the release.

And of course that number will grow as the software is out there longer and longer, the more people contribute to it. It's just incredible to see all of the, all the improvements, all the advancements. If I think back to when I started with WordPress, like menus was a brand new thing. Like you can create your own menu in WordPress.

And that was like the greatest feature in the world. Now we can customize menus, right. From looking at the dashboard or we can, we can customize it to our heart's content. And so I'm really excited about this and it is really something to be. Excited for and to see what is to come with WordPress of 6.0 6.1 6.2.

All of those features that are coming this year, I'm really excited about that. Seen this really. So I wouldn't recommend this week, spend a little bit of time open up a. At a new site or use a dev site, do something and see what 5.9 can do with a block theme. And then that will just get your imagination going on.

What can happen if you switched to a block [00:18:00] theme or you can start working on changing your theme to a block thing. Like if you have a custom developed theme, like all of mine are, then it's like, oh, well now I probably should start building these as a block theme and see what kind of customizations can be done.

So that's what I want to share with you that. Take care and we'll talk again soon. Buh-bye.