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This article was published on November 24, 2021

Ground-breaking or site-breaking? What devs expect from WordPress 5.9

WordPress has provided a sneak peak at the new release

Ground-breaking or site-breaking? What devs expect from WordPress 5.9

WordPress is a notoriously divisive platform. While the CMS powers a whopping 39% of websites, it’s abhorred and adored in equal measure.

The next version looks destined for further contrasting reactions. WordPress this week shared new details on what to expect in release 5.9.

A block party?

Set for release on January 25, WordPress 5.9 will add a range of updates, including:

  • The next generation of themes, including a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two
  • More than 30 theme blocks
  • Extra design tools
  • Improvements to List View

The most notable change could be deeper integration of the block editor, which is both loathed and loved by users.

“In terms of changes to theme development, the default Twenty Twenty Two does steer towards even greater reliance on theme blocks, but creation of these, as well as custom post types,  template parts, custom pages, etc., is still very easy to achieve,” says Ronan O’Leary, Senior Web Developer at TNW. 

Editors will also await the new release with bated breath. O’Leary thinks they can expect some improvements:

The improved editor experience delivers a wider sandbox for editors to safely play in. I would be interested to see the impact this type of approach would have for sites other than blog or editorial content types, although could see potential benefits of the handily configurable block-templates in this theme for instances of related products or top sellers for example.

Ground-breaking or site-breaking?

WordPress said to expect a “ground-breaking release,” which has sparked concern about potential turbulence. However, O’Leary says some changes look promising:

At first glance, this does appear to be quite a coup in terms of full site editing and global styles. Having only given this a light spin, the user-experience has certainly improved, and I guess from a content editor’s perspective, will enable a greater number of options and more flexibility.

The changes won’t satisfy everyone, but hopefully, they’ll help more than they’ll hinder.

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