Innovative or revolutionary? What developers expect from WordPress 5.9

WordPress is a notoriously divisive platform. While CMS powers 39% of websites, it is both loathed and worshiped.

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

A neighborhood party?

Scheduled 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 thematic blocks
  • Additional design tools
  • List view improvements

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

“In terms of changes to theme development, the default Twenty Twenty Two is moving towards an even greater reliance on theme blocks, but creating them, as well as custom post types, template parts , custom pages, etc., is always very easy to reach, ”says Ronan O’Leary, Senior Web Developer at TNW.

Editors will also be eagerly awaiting the new version. O’Leary thinks they can expect improvements:

The enhanced editor experience provides a larger sandbox that editors can safely play in. I’d be interested to see the impact this type of approach would have for sites other than editorial or blog content types, although I can see the potential benefits of the easily configurable block. templates in this theme for instances of related products or top sellers for example.

Innovative or revolutionary?

WordPress has said it expects a “breakthrough version”, which raised concerns on potential turbulence. However, O’Leary says some changes look promising:

At first glance, this seems like a hell of a blow in terms of full site editing and overall styles. After only giving that a little twist, the user experience has certainly improved, and I guess from a content editor’s point of view, will allow for more options and more flexibility.

Not everyone will be happy with the changes, but I hope they help more than they hinder.

Amanda J. Marsh