The Future is Coming, Now. Watch and Learn About WordPress 5.9 Anticipated Features

Just around the corner, WordPress 5.9 has its stable release expected on January 25, 2022. The team in charge of the launch brings Matt Mullenweg as the release lead, while Jonathan Bossenger is the Technical Writer and Josepha Haden Chomphosy is the Marketing & Communications lead. 

WordPress 5.9 comes with the expectation that, after long periods of testing and tweaking, the quite ambitious Full Site Editing will allow WordPress site administrators and developers to better master the editorial architecture. As expected, this should happen through a unified and simplified experience based on the principle of editorial blocks, developed through the bold and already popular Gutenberg project.

The highlight features of the newest version include blocks & intrinsic web design, interface for theme.json, advanced editing flows for blog themes, a new default theme, and more.

WordPress 5.9 Roadmap
WordPress 5.9 Roadmap

WordPress 5.9 Overview

Being the most popular CMS in the world, WordPress powers over 40% of all websites. Such a level of acceptance and success comes from multiple drivers, but one that will always stand out is the platform’s constant improvement goal-setting. With a consistent development plan, WordPress releases major updates around three times a year, looking to stay ahead of the competition and achieve more with each update.

With every major WordPress release, significant changes and bug fixes to the Gutenberg block editor are at the forefront. While WordPress 5.8 brought to the table the Query Loop Block, theme.json, and more, WordPress 5.9 introduces Full Site Editing components along with the template editor and the block pattern directory. The newest release undertakes to be a turning point in building and fully customizing a WordPress site.

Exciting times are coming with more responsive block options. WordPress 5.9 introduces new ways to stack and organize blocks the way they fit different screens by applying the principles of Intrinsic Design. The solution strives to minimize the discomfort suffered by developers who often rely on viewport-based media queries to control how blocks should respond to different devices and screens. For this to happen, “container blocks need to absorb more layout controls” and “typography tools need to become more fluid and internally support algorithmic clamping”, according to Matías Ventura, the Gutenberg project lead.


As WordPress 5.8 has made it easier for themes to control various global and block-level settings using theme.json, WordPress 5.9 brings a new user interface to interact with these style properties. Tools and features like these reflect what the development community needs as it gets unavoidable for WordPress users to start moving into a new era where themes are made essentially of blocks, running away from the traditional theme development architecture.

Block Pattern Directory

The WordPress pattern directory, previously introduced with WordPress 5.8, improves how patterns are inserted and how blocks are transformed to patterns with the newest version. Patterns will be inserted to the Gutenberg Editor straight from the directory, eliminating the copy & paste process we are used to.

Navigation Block

Although the Navigation Editor was left for a future release, WordPress 5.9 will present the advanced and impactful Navigation Block, one of the 30 theme blocks coming soon with the release. Focused on the user experience, the feature promises to reduce complexity during development stages by building simple and minimalistic navigation menus.

Flying High with Twenty Twenty-Two

Presenting the Twenty Twenty-Two WordPress Theme

Designed to be light and versatile like the birds that illustrate it, Twenty Twenty-Two enters the scene described by Kjell Reigstad as “the most flexible default theme ever created for WordPress.” And, by taking advantage of new features masterfully, it indeed is. 

As a WordPress block-based theme, Twenty Twenty-Two is designed for Full Site Editing first. Thus, all theme styles may be configured through theme.json and editable through Global Styles and will require as little CSS as possible, allowing endless customization possibilities.

Combining functionality, usefulness, and a dash of fun, the wide range of page templates, headers, footers and other patterns can be exploited to the fullest so that each user can create a theme to call their own. The variety of color schemes allows users to change the look and feel of their website thoroughly. Likewise, font controls and image handling raise levels of theme customization. 

It becomes clear at every release that WordPress is eager to provide the standard user with more autonomy to manage their website end-to-end. At the same time, the platform has filled the developers’ hands (and projects) with empowerment and endless possibilities to use their creativity while developing unique and cutting-edge sites. In the future, we can expect that themes stop being templates for each page and become the solid foundation of style for block customization.

WordPress 5.9 Beta Testing

Available for testing, WordPress 5.9 beta 1 includes testing instructions for all the major features in the next release, including the template editor workflow, new theme blocks, list view, expanded block design tools, Block Pattern explorer, and more general core updates. The release already contains 580 enhancements and nearly 450 bug fixes.

Get to know more about WordPress 5.9 and contact us today about migrations to WordPress, WordPress support and how your web application can leverage the future that is here now. Start a conversation with our experts.

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