In line with the second stage of the Gutenberg roadmap, the 6.0 release will further expand on full site editing and is being described as a ‘conceptual wrap’ for the customisation phase. Here we take a quick look at some of the top-level features and functionality improvements that are earmarked for the next release, which is scheduled to be rolled out in late May 2022.
As with any major update, there’s a lot of valuable learning that happens once it’s released to the wider community so in the 6.0 release there’ll be a number of tweaks and additions to improve the overall UX of the site editor functionality that was introduced in 5.9. This will include the refinement of the information architecture and template browsing experience, improvements to the template creation process that will make it easier to create more specific templates, and the addition of a new browse mode that will allow users to browse their site within the editor.
The spring update is also expected to bring global style variations – which will enable users to very quickly and easily transform the look of their site – along with design enhancements to the sidebar, improvements to site editor scheduling and drafting, and the removal of coupling of templates to specific themes. It will also introduce a straightforward export and import option for block themes and styles.
As much of the infrastructure for patterns is now in place, in 6.0 we’ll see the expansion of its usability for building pages and sites. This will include making patterns a more prominent part of the theme template and page creation process, and simplifying the registration of patterns for themes. It’s also anticipated that the update will introduce page patterns for page creation (which has been in the pipeline for some time) and potentially connect patterns with specific contexts and transforms.
The navigation block that formed part of the last release will be expanded and improved, including refinement of the processes around transporting and initialising block menu data. In addition, a number of new blocks will be introduced to facilitate comments on themes, and the table block will be improved with a new design direction. It’s expected that it will be possible for Quotes and Lists to have child blocks, and the viability of inline tokens will be explored. The 6.0 update will also aim to expand design possibilities by allowing featured images to be attributes of other blocks such as Cover, Media or Text.
Design tool additions
The previous update brought the introduction of new design tools and significant consolidation of existing ones to deliver a much improved experience, and within 6.0 this will be tightened up a little further to achieve greater consistency. There’ll also be further responsive capabilities, expansion to the Supports & Elements API, and improvements to enable third-party blocks to make better use of the tools. The 6.0 release will also enable consistent dimension controls across blocks, bring in support for customising block Captions, offer a better method for manipulating the height and width of blocks, and improve responsive handling within the current flex-based tools. Notably, it should also include a simplified Web Fonts API (which is being developed within Gutenberg), and add responsive fonts.
As with all platform releases, the initially proposed roadmap is subject to change however it’s clear that the overall objective of the 6.0 release will be to refine full site editing before moving onto the next phase of the Gutenberg roadmap, which will focus on improving content collaboration. If you’d like to see a more detailed breakdown of the preliminary roadmap for 6.0, click here to head over to the WordPress site.