Don’t look now but WordPress 6.0 is almost here.
The first planned major release for WordPress is slated to be released on May 25, and there’s a lot to look forward to with this new version.
WordPress 6.0 continues to build on the full site editing features that were introduced in WordPress 5.9. There are things like a web fonts API, better template customization, new blocks and a lot more that will make the full site editing experience so much better than it currently is.
So let’s dive into what you can expect when WordPress 6.0 is finally released.
What to Expect with WordPress 6.0
Block/full site editor updates
Like a lot of the latest major WordPress releases, WordPress 6.0 features a lot of block editor and full site editing new features and fixes. Overall, I think you’ll find that the updates here will make the experience much more enjoyable. So if you’ve been putting off testing out full site editing, I highly recommend that you give it another shot after the new version is released.
Here are a few of the key new features for the block editor and full site editing.
One really cool new feature for developers and users alike is the ability to switch styles for themes.
Essentially, theme developers can create different styles for the themes that they create — whether the styles use different colors or fonts. And users will be able to easily switch between them in the site editor. And all of the defaults for colors and fonts used throughout the theme will be updated automatically.
Theme developers as a whole usually did this with regular PHP themes by creating a theme option to switch between the variations in colors. Now that will be much easier (and much more standardized) in the site editor.
More templates to customize
Also there are more templates that users can customize right from the site editor. You’ll now be able to make changes to the author, category, tag, date and taxonomy templates the same way you can customize the index and archive templates.
You could get those templates to appear in the site editor by creating a category.html file or something like that. But now there’s no need to use any code to edit them. This will be a nice step towards making the site easier to customize and edit, especially for non-technical users.
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There are also five new blocks that can be used in the block editor and full site editing. The biggest one for me is a read more block that can be added to the post template block. There’s also a comments block, author bio and avatar block and a block to show that there are no results for a query.
Finally, you can now lock blocks in place, which can be really helpful for editing complicated pages.
You can set a block to be either locked in place on the page or template or keep it from being removed via a setting in the block or site editor. It’s a small thing, but it can make a big difference for people editing complicated templates or pages and posts.
Web fonts API
The web fonts API has had a bit of an adventure on its way into WordPress core. It was originally slated to be included in WordPress 5.9, but there were too many questions about it that punted it to WordPress 6.0.
Now a scaled back version of it will be included in this latest release. Essentially, theme developers will be able to bundle fonts in their theme and register them through the theme.json file, rather than having to use good old wp_enqueue_styles to do so.
In the long run, there is a plan for a PHP version of this API so that plugins can also easily register their own fonts, but that appears to have been punted to a future WordPress release.
Exporting block themes
Finally, the last major feature coming with WordPress 6.0 is the ability to export block themes from the editor to be used on other websites.
Essentially, you can use an existing theme, like the default TwentyTwentyTwo theme and make all of the changes you want right in the site editor. Then you can hit “Export” under “Tools” in the site editor to export your new customized theme that can be then added to another website.
To make a long story short, you can now create a custom WordPress theme without touching any lines of code, which is cool. It’s going to be a cool way for people to really start to learn web design, and I’m excited to see where this takes us.
I don’t think this will put theme developers out for good as being a good designer is kind of a requirement for a good theme. But it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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How to update to WordPress 6.0 safely
So before you go and update to WordPress 6.0 once it’s available for download, let’s first go over how you should safely update to the latest version.
First off, you’re going to want to take a backup of your website. That way you have something to fall back on in case the update breaks your website. If your web host provides this feature, you can use that (this is the best case scenario). If not, you can use a plugin like UpdraftPlus or Backup Buddy to take a backup of your files and database.
Next, take a look at your website as it currently stands. Take note of any existing errors or bugs. This will help you determine if things are broken because of the update or something else.
Then you can run the update to WordPress 6.0. Once that is complete, you’ll want to take another look around your website to see if it broke anything. If not, you’re good to go.
If something did break, take a screenshot of the problem or look for the error log to see what happened. Then revert your website to the backup that you just took. Finally, post your issue in the WordPress.org forums with the screenshot and/or message from the error log so that you can get the help you need for the site.