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WordPress 6.1: What to Expect

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WordPress 6.1 Expected Fall 2022

Recent releases of WordPress have been preludes to updates designed to fine-tune the content management system’s user experience, stability, and efficiency. As of early June 2022, Matías Ventura from the WordPress core development team has released an early WordPress 6.1 roadmap covering the main areas of work anticipated for 6.1’s official release, which is expected sometime around the fall season of this year.

“The tune of the release will be to refine the experiences introduced in 5.9 and 6.0, weave the various flows into more coherent and fulfilling experiences for users, maintainers, and extenders, and close some gaps in functionality as we start to look towards Phase 3 of the Gutenberg roadmap,” Ventura said.

Development Focus Areas for WordPress 6.1

Although there’s no timeline of development-stage dates for WordPress 6.1 yet, Ventura’s concise roadmap highlights five key areas that are expected to be developed.

  • Template Editor. Thanks to modifications to the template editor, users have been able to browse, visualize, and edit the structure of their sites with low to no knowledge of underlying code. The planned revisions to the editor will also provide more clarity between global elements like templates, template parts, and styles, the goal of which will be unifying the template editor and post editor user experience.
  • Building With Patterns. The development team is also keen to fully unlock the potential of block patterns that it highlighted in “Building with Patterns,” which came along a bit late in the WordPress 6.0 development cycle. This element of the WordPress 6.1 update will allow patterns to be central to the creative experience for day-to-day users. Patterns will be able to be tailored for custom post types, and block types. Work on improving the block locking experience, and managing saved patterns is also expected.
  • Global Styles. The WordPress core development team’s ongoing global styles roadmap includes updates to the styles engine, main interface and user experience, styles variations panel, webfont and typography customization, cross-block elements, per-block styles and supports, and block style variations.
  • Blocks and Design Tools. Progress will continue on the global styles interface while improving support for restrictions, privileges, and curated presets. The 6.1 release will hopefully allow users to manage webfonts, implement responsive typography, and expand the blocks toolset — all to improve consistency, reliability, and user satisfaction.
  • Themes and Wider Adoption. The team will address issues concerning the ability to adopt features like template parts gradually on existing legacy themes. It will also look towards whether it will be possible to get broader access to theme.json editing, and will look towards theme switching flows and how to best make use of new style and template possibilities.

Building Upon WordPress 5.9 and 6.0

Because the WordPress core team is continually discussing and developing new features and bug fixes, and testing them in beta releases, it is able to put out new major versions of WordPress quite quickly. WordPress 5.9, which introduced the hotly-anticipated Full Site Editing, was released on January 25, 2022. And WordPress 6.0, dubbed “Arturo,” went live on May 24, 2022.

Version 6.0 was a massive release that was a huge leap forward in what it offered to users in terms of features, functionality, and fixes. It included:

    • Accessibility. The WordPress open-source software itself has received upgrades so that it’s easier to use overall.
    • Block editor
      • Bundle multiple style variations for block themes.
      • Create page content patterns that you can choose from to create your pages.
      • New ancestor property in block.json. This will allow you to restrict where blocks may be placed.
      • A new user interface will allow you to set a lock attribute for every block in the editor.
      • Registration of blocks from within themes
      • Unrecognized content in the content can now be preserved thanks to upgraded support.
      • The block theme export feature in the Site Editor has been given a very robust upgrade as well.
      • Block markup updates for image, quote, list, and group blocks
      • A new set of Post Comments blocks, No Results block, and more
    • Bootstrap/load. Skip unneeded queries by applying a do_parse_request filter.
    • Cache API improvements. wp_cache_*_multiple is now full CRUD.
    • Media. New filters and user interface additions.
  • More dynamic hooks for custom post types
    • Taxonomy improvements. Query caching, taxonomy query limits, navigation menu items, terminology changes, and more.
    • Themes. Streamlined patterns functionality for theme authors, support for multiple theme.json files, better export themes with Site Editor, and more.
    • Users. Sites with particularly high traffic will now be able to query and count users.
  • Updates for developers

Stay Tuned for More Updates

With discussions already underway among the WordPress core team for WordPress 6.1, and with Ventura’s early roadmap providing a teaser of what’s to come, count on DreamHost to keep you up-to-date on new information as it becomes available.

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About the Author:

Jason is DreamHost’s WordPress Product Advocate, based out of Bakersfield, CA. He is currently working on making our DreamPress product even better. In his free time, he likes to curl up on the couch and watch scary movies with his wife Sarah and three very small dogs. Follow him on Twitter.