WordPress 5.9 marks the introduction of the next generation of themes that allows greater customization and simpler building.
Every year, everyone is waiting to see what the next version of the most popular CMS on the planet is going to bring. WordPress 5.9 “Josephine” is the first WordPress release of 2022. It is named in honor of Josephine Baker, an international jazz singer. The new version brings improvements to WordPress that will change the way many people build their websites.
WordPress 5.9 Highlights
Full Site Editing
Full-site editing allows you to build all the parts of your site with the Gutenberg editor if your theme enables this functionality.
WordPress 5.9 continues to build upon the site editing features first introduced in WordPress 5.8. Themes can now be created entirely with blocks, meaning you get all the familiar editing tools and the same blocks you use when creating posts and pages to allow you to edit all parts of your site, including your header and footer.
On top of that, all the templates from the theme can be edited using the Block Editor, like the homepage, your blog, archive or single pages. In WordPress, these have traditionally been the code files that control how important parts of your site are structured and styled.
Beyond block-based themes, WordPress 5.9 also features new typography tools, layout options, and detailing controls, which WordPress says will give sites an additional feeling of polish. As one of the finer controls for blocks, now you can choose font weight (appearance) for the heading block. Additionally, now you can control line-height and letter-spacing, as well as letter case.
New Default Theme
To help users make the most of the changes, WordPress 5.9 comes bundled with a new default theme called Twenty Twenty-Two. It is built for full site editing (FSE) first with a goal of all theme styles being editable through Global Styles.
The theme uses a variety of color palettes, page templates, headers, and footers for endless customization. You’re able to change fonts, image designs, and more on a site-wide level.
In the full site editor mode, you will find the following editor mode which will allow you to customize the look and feel of your site like a drag and drop page builder.
The Navigation Block
Among other things, WordPress 5.9 introduces block-based site navigation. The new Navigation block gives you the power to choose an always-on responsive menu or one that adapts to your user’s screen size. The menu is saved in the database as a custom post type and can be used across templates and even after switching themes.
Using the new navigation block can be a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will definitely see and appreciate its full potential.
Block Pattern Enhancements
Last but not least, WordPress 5.9 introduces a new block pattern navigation interface: the Pattern Explorer. A new Explore button now opens a full-screen modal that allows users to browse, search for, and insert block patterns with just a few clicks. The result is an improved user experience.
Thanks to an improvement in lazy loading, WordPress 5.9 is also said to offer improved performance. With this technique, which has been used since version 5.5, the images and iFrames on your own page are loaded with a delay. And only when they really move into the area visible on the screen.
Before You Update to WordPress 5.9
Before running any major update of WordPress, make sure to backup your website. We recommend making a complete backup that includes your WordPress database, WordPress files, themes, plugins, media library, etc. before proceeding with the update.
For more information about all changes in the new version, you can refer to the official announcement.