WordPress 6: What’s new and should you update?

Most major versions of WordPress have exciting new features and improvements. WordPress 6 is similar as well.

It was released only a few months after the last major release. This means that the development of WordPress is speeding up.

WordPress 6.0 continues to improve on the existing tools and features added in previous versions, such as Full Site Editing.

In this article, we’re going to cover all the goodies that come with the new WordPress update.  We’re also going to make sure you have all the information to determine whether you need to update.

General Improvements

Most software updates are improvements only, without any new features. With this major release of WordPress, apart from new features, we also get many improvements to features introduced earlier.

Block patterns

One feature that plays a key role in WordPress is block patterns. Initially introduced in WordPress 5.5, block patterns are pre-created blocks that you can insert into pages or posts.

With WordPress 5.9, patterns that were previously present in the Block Pattern Directory were integrated into the block editor and could be dynamically retrieved directly from within the block editor.

Now, the WordPress organization has created a feature called Pattern Creator – that allows anyone to become a pattern developer. The tool allows you to create your own block patterns and submit them to the Block Pattern Directory, all you need is a wordpress.org account.

In WordPress 6, we see even more improvements to Block Patterns. Block patterns are now much easier to find. Additionally, developers are able to add recommended blocks to the theme.json file to enable you to more quickly build your website.

Full Site Editing

Full site editing is also a feature introduced in earlier versions of WordPress, and it’s been greatly improved with WordPress 6.

One such improvement is the exporting of your theme/pages. When you’re happy with your current customizations, you can export your theme  using the Block Export Tool.

To do this, open the Options sidebar, and under the Tools section, you’ll see the Export option which allows you to download your whole theme as a ZIP file.

While still not in perfect shape, the block export tool will allow you to export your theme and replicate the design on many websites without doing any extra work.

Interface improvements

WordPress 6 applies numerous changes to the user interface, which are intended to improve your quality of development and allow for easier navigation through the back end of WordPress.

Since there are too many changes to mention in this article, we will only list a few of them that we believe are the most important.

Previews for block styles

Prior to WordPress 6, block style previews were located in the sidebar, taking up valuable space and contributing to more clutter in the sidebar.

Now, only the names of the styles appear in the sidebar.  The previews have been moved to show when you mouse over the style variation.

The Site Editor just got a new Code Editor

Starting with WordPress 6, the Code Editor is now also available in the site editor, more precisely in the sidebar, along with the Visual Editor button.

Selecting text across blocks

You can now select text across multiple blocks in the page/post editor. Previously this was not possible and you had to do the selection twice. While it’s not a huge improvement, it can save you some time if you do it frequently.

Publishing: Category reminder

If you’re on a website that frequently publishes new blog posts, it’s natural that at times someone will forget to add a category to the post. With WordPress 6, they will now receive a reminder to select a category for the post.

New Features

We’re getting to the most exciting part of this article now – the new features section. There aren’t too many new features released with the new major release of WordPress, but we’ve listed the two we believe are the most meaningful ones.

Web Fonts API

Since more than a decade ago, WordPress provides a standardized way for developers to enqueue styles and scripts into their themes and plugins. With WordPress 6, for the first time – now there’s an integrated method for loading fonts as well.

This API is the first step in allowing people to load fonts without a huge impact on performance and privacy while ensuring that the method itself is future-proof.

In essence, fonts can now be added to the theme.json file, under the typography section.

One key feature of the Web Fonts API is that it will selectively load fonts on a page. This can improve your page speed, as fonts won’t be loaded if they’re not needed. Other than that, it will also optimize the number of HTTP requests.

New WordPress Blocks

More and more blocks are being added to WordPress by the core team with each new update. With this release of WordPress, there are 4 new blocks added.

Comments Query Loop

The Comments Query Loop displays the comments for the current post. It’s a more complex block with a few inner blocks which you can customize as well. This allows you to selectively place the comments section on posts. You can also customize your theme and make sure the comments section matches the design.

No Results in Query Loop

This is a special block you can use in a Query Loop to ensure that some content is shown when the query returns no information. Keep in mind that this block is only available within a Query Loop.

Author Biography and Avatar

This new feature in WordPress allows you to separate the author’s avatar and biography and show them separately within your content.

The Post Author Biography block provides the author’s description, while the Avatar block only shows the picture of the author.

Conclusion

With another major release of WordPress, we get another batch of awesome changes coming our way.

The changes being pushed to the site editor are making WordPress core a serious contender to external page builders such as Elementor or Divi, while also keeping it at the free level – without any subscription necessary.

WordPress development is speeding up, and it seems like things will only get more exciting from on out.