Ostersund, Sweden - June 23, 2016: WordPress website on a computer screen. WordPress is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL
Image: IB Photography/Adobe Stock

WordPress is the most widely-used blogging platform on the market. According to W3 Technology Surveys, WordPress is used by 64.1% of content management systems and 42.9% of all websites. That’s significant. It also means the developers of WordPress are always active and working diligently to improve the platform.

Recently, the developers released the latest major milestone in version 6.0. This release includes over 500 enhancements and 400 bug fixes, so not only should you want to upgrade, you should consider this a must.

All of the additions to WordPress were created to make content creation and site-building more intuitive and feature-rich. Site managers will find these changes greatly enhance the functionality of WordPress and provide developers  an even deeper understanding of the platform with plenty of available resources.

Let’s take a gander at the new features found in the latest release of this widespread blogging platform.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

It’s all about the writing experience

A good amount of effort has gone into improving the writing experience with WordPress. The enhancements of version 6.0 include the ability to select text across multiple blocks and edit all at once, quick access to the link menu (by way of the [[ sequence shown in Figure A) and the ability to retain applied styles while transforming blocks from one type to another, custom buttons, updated settings for tag clouds and social icons.

Figure A

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Access the link menu by typing [[.
You can also group, stack, and place paragraphs in rows by highlighting the paragraphs and clicking the option from the resultant popup menu (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. Formatting multiple paragraphs of text is now even easier.

You will also find five more template options with WordPress 6.0. Those templates are:

  • Author
  • Date
  • Categories
  • Tag
  • Taxonomy

Patterns, patterns everywhere

Block Patterns are a collection of predefined blocks that can be inserted into pages and posts and then customized as needed. As you edit a template, you’ll find a new quick inserter that shows patterns and template parts (Figure C) to make your workflow even more efficient.

Patterns also appear in more places than just templates. You can even use the quick inserter to add patterns to headers and footers or register patterns from the Pattern Directory which allows you to prioritize specific patterns.

Figure C

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. The pattern quick inserter makes it easy to add patterns anywhere in your document.

Block enhancements

One important feature added to WordPress 6.0 is block locking. Once a block has been locked, it cannot be moved or removed. This is an especially important addition when you have multiple people who administer a site if you don’t want them to be able to move blocks around within pages and posts. You can also better control block gaps to add additional spacing between blocks and even do so with a group of blocks.

The list view feature (Figure D) has also been enhanced such that you can now select multiple blocks, modify them as one, and even drag and drop them within the list.

Figure D

Image: Jack Wallen/TechRepublic. You can now work with multiple blocks simultaneously.

Miscellaneous enhancements

Other enhancements brought about in WordPress 6.0 include the following:

  • Easier style switching to ensure your entire site is congruous
  • A new color panel design takes up less space
  • New border controls
  • Transparency levels for colors
  • Export your custom block themes
  • New core blocks were added such as post author biography
  • Custom buttons save feature so you can reuse customized buttons
  • Cover block dynamically grabs your featured image and uses it as a background image

Conclusion

The new features found in WordPress 6.0 make it far more efficient to use, and the bug fixes ensure the reliability of your sites. If you have sites that are currently using the 5.x version of WordPress, I highly recommend upgrading to the latest release so you’re up to date on both features and security.

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