WordPress 6.0 is the latest major update for the Content Management System (CMS). What can you expect in version 6 of WordPress? And what do you have to watch out for when updating? Our overview of the most important features.
New major updates of WordPress are always hotly debated by the large community of the CMS, weeks before their release. This was also the case with WordPress 6.0, on which work officially began on 4 January 2022. As always, expectations for the update are high, which is why we take a closer look at the new functions.
WordPress 6.0 Release
WordPress 6.0 was supposed to be the fourth and last major update of the popular content management software in 2021 and was originally planned for 7 December 2021. However, due to several delays in the development process of the previous major updates, WordPress 5.9 was not released until January 2022, which of course also affected WordPress 6.0.
On 12 April 2022, a first beta version of WordPress 6.0 was available, and since then, another one followed every week. Since 3 May 2022, there have been the so-called release candidates - of which there are three, also appearing every week. On 24 May 2022, WordPress 6.0 was finally rolled out and made available to users for updating.
What changes with WordPress 6.0?
As we know from the previous updates, the team behind WordPress is also trying to push full site editing in WordPress Gutenberg with version 6.0. In concrete terms, this means that users should be able to create and edit not only individual pages or articles with blocks, but the entire site.
This includes, for example, the main navigation, the sidebar, the footer and other widget areas. Let's take a closer look at how this process continues with WordPress 6:
In WordPress 6.0, we see more and more intensified efforts by WordPress to enable users and theme-developers to work together more easily. Specifically, with WordPress 6.0 it is possible for developers to create several different design presets. Via the "Styles" button, users can then view and select all presets with a single click.
This means that they do not have to design changes to the site completely themselves, but can also rely on the design expertise of the theme providers and then make their own adjustments based on their suggestions.
New blocks for Gutenberg
WordPress 6.0 also adds new blocks that are intended to further improve full site editing, and allow more design options within the Gutenberg editor. Let's go through these blocks briefly and clearly:
- Comments: With the new function, you can include comments by block. This includes sub-blocks for the name of the commenter, the avatar pictures, the actual content of the comment and some more. Everything in this block can be customized so that you can design and display your comment column the way you want.
- Read more: This block is a further development of the excerpt block introduced in WordPress 5.9, with which you could display a short excerpt (a preview) of an article on your site page. Now there is also a separate "Read More" block, with which you can design a button or link in such a way that it is guaranteed to be noticed and clicked by your readers.
- Author biography: With this block you can display the short biography that you can create for the authors in their user settings. In conjunction with the block for the author's name and the avatar block that follows, you can design and display your own Box for authors.
- Avatar: With the avatar block you can display the author's picture. Either for authors you specify (this can be useful, for example, if you are building an "About us" site and want to create several authors boxes) or automatically for the person of the current post or the current site.
- Query loops without results: With this block you can display a "no results found" block within the query loop, which is of course only displayed if no results were actually found for the search query.
Improvements in Gutenberg
Of course, in addition to new blocks, there are also a lot of improvements in the Gutenberg editor. We will also look at these in detail.
Easier text selection across multiple blocks
Anyone who has ever written a text with Gutenberg blocks certainly knows the problem: If you want to select text across several blocks, this has not always worked without problems. Most of the time, the entire text within the blocks was selected. So you had to select and edit (for example, delete) the last part in the first block and then the first part in the second block. This takes time and is not very intuitive.
This is finally being adjusted in WordPress 6.0, so that users can now mark up text across multiple blocks without problems - regardless of the start or end point. This may sound like a minor adjustment, but WordPress would do well to make it even easier to work with blocks if it wants acceptance of the controversial Gutenberg project to continue to grow.
This also includes those minor changes in text creation that were no problem in the classic editor, but which always remind users at Gutenberg that they are working with the less intuitive blocks.
Block editing for reusable blocks
With WordPress 6.0, you can now set reusable blocks to be locked for further editing. Once created, the purpose of reusable blocks is that they always look the same and can be placed more easily in different places.
If several users are working on a WordPress project and do not coordinate, problems can arise because the last change is the one that is saved. Previously, WordPress users relied on third-party plugins for this function, but these are no longer needed with WordPress 6.0.
You have a choice of three options when locking a reusable block:
- You can lock the editing of a block
- Or you lock a move of the block to another place
- Or you prevent the deletion of this block
Depending on what is more important to you or what you want to achieve, you can adjust your settings individually.
Responsive group and row blocks
If you create a block group or series from several blocks, with WordPress 6.0 you can now decide how these blocks should behave when they are shown on different displays.
You can choose to display them in a horizontal row or in a stack. This gives you more design freedom when creating a responsive WordPress website that looks good on all devices.
Insert internal links more quickly
With a shortcut, you can now insert internal links and their titles more quickly. To do this, simply insert two square brackets [[ followed by the post title or a word from this title. The editor then shows you the matching posts that are available. If you click on one of these, the entire title is immediately inserted and linked to the internal link.
As an example: You want to insert an internal article with the title "10 new WordPress plugins for food blogs", then you write "[[ Plugins" in the appropriate place and see a list of all your posts, which match it. Among them is the article "10 new WordPress plugins for food blogs". Click on this and the internal link is inserted.
Minor changes in the user experience
With every WordPress version come major and minor changes. As an example, let's take a look at four such improvements:
- With WordPress 6.0, you can insert a frame around the column block. This way you can actually make the block, which is usually used to highlight certain content, look better.
- You can now adjust and customize the spacing between individual images within an image gallery. This gives you a little more leeway when designing your picture galleries.
- In the list view of the blocks you have used in a post, you can now select several blocks at once. This means you no longer have to move or delete each individual block, but can do so with several blocks at once.
- Quote blocks can be integrated into other blocks. For example, you can pack a list, a heading or several text blocks into a quote block and thus quote not only by text.
Accessibility in WordPress 6.0
The team behind WordPress has long pursued the goal of making the CMS as accessible as possible. WordPress 6.0 is no exception and once again comes with some improvements that make it easier for people with disabilities to interact with WordPress websites:
- If you do not assign an ALT text to a featured image, WordPress will use the article title in the future. The ALT text is intended to describe the image. Systems and programmes for people with visual impairments make use of this to be able to describe the image content. Since not all page operators add such ALT descriptions, WordPress will in future use the page title as a solution.
- Via an option it is now possible to display not only icons but also the appropriate text in the block editor. This is also important if the icon alone cannot be interpreted by an auxiliary programme.
- On smaller screens, the texts in the admin bar (the black bar at the top of the screen when you are logged in) are now recognized by screen readers and can be read aloud.
Test WordPress 6.0
As with any major update, it can be useful to test this new WordPress version before you activate it. This way you can make sure that your plugins, theme and other customisations are compatible with the new version. Testing also allows you to take a close look at the new features and changes of WordPress 6.0 in advance and consider which of them you would like to use or deploy on your site.
In addition, you should note that even advanced beta versions of WordPress almost always still contain some bugs. So not everything will work perfectly in beta versions.
My conclusion on WordPress 6.0
WordPress continues on its path unwaveringly and is advancing the Gutenberg editor. According to the team behind WordPress, they defined four phases:
- Easier editing - already included in WordPress, with continuous improvements
- Customization - Full Site Editing, Block Templates, Block Directory, Block-based Themes
- Collaboration - a more intuitive way to write content together
- Multilingual - Core implementation for multilingual websites
Currently, we are around the end of phase 2, so we can still look forward to possibilities for efficient collaboration and improvements for multilingual sites. In addition, WordPress 6.0 brings many improvements for more intuitive work with the blocks, a lot of useful accessibility improvements and some exciting new blocks for comments and author boxes.
If you are interested in the WordPress development process and the planned features, you can find a list of changes and much more information about the new WordPress 6.0 at WordPress.org in the WordPress Roadmap. What is your opinion on the current development of WordPress? We are looking forward to your comments.