Gutenberg 13.0 Previews WordPress 6.0 Improvements

WordPress has released version 13.0 of Gutenberg, which includes many improvements that bring it closer to being the easy-to-use website builder it was intended to be.

This update to Gutenberg is a major milestone, as the functionality in the plugin will be included in the core of WordPress 6.0, a release currently scheduled for May 24, 2022, which is a big deal in the world of publishing.

WordPress Gutenberg Editor

Gutenberg is a visual style website builder designed to make building websites easier for publishers.

It’s called visual to describe the process of building a site using a drag-and-drop or point-and-click interface on a virtual canvas that visualizes how it will look as you design it.

Instead of manipulating the code, with this style of site building, the publisher is manipulating elements of the webpage, such as headers or footers. These web page elements are called blocks.

It’s a website building method that’s been around in various forms for a long time, at least since the late 1990s with the introduction of Macromedia’s (now Adobe’s) Dreamweaver website building software.

At the time, this way of creating web pages was often referred to as a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) interface.

WordPress plugins like Divi and the non-WordPress SaaS website building platform have been helping publishers build websites using a visual website builder interface for years.

Gutenberg is the WordPress version of the visual website builder interface that makes building websites easier.

The nice thing about Gutenberg is that it’s part of WordPress core itself, which (theoretically) helps make sites built with Gutenberg perform faster than those built with third-party plugins.

It’s very exciting that Gutenberg 13.0 offers several improvements that will help make WordPress 6.0 a major step forward for the publishing world.

Gutenberg blocks

Gutenberg’s design interface uses the word block to describe it. For design purposes, web pages are divided into sections called blocks.

At the top is called a header is a block. A navigation menu is a block. The side where the various widgets reside is also a block.

Each block can be moved and manipulated to create web designs.

So the block at the top of the page where the featured image is located can easily be styled individually with a click. Just click on the block you want to add text or background image to and choose from the context menu to do what you want.

Select text across blocks

An innovative improvement introduced in Gutenberg 13.0 (and WordPress 6.0) is the ability to select text across multiple blocks. This is important because blocks exist as a way of designing the look of a web page, and text is what is placed inside those blocks.

This new feature gives publishers more freedom to create web pages without being constrained by (seemingly) arbitrary rules, such as not being able to select text across multiple blocks.

page level mode

This is a groundbreaking feature that brings Gutenberg a few steps closer to an easy-to-use website builder.

The Patterns feature was introduced in Gutenberg version 7.8 in 2020 as an API for developers to create layout patterns for sections of a page.

What the latest version of the schema feature does is enable page templates, which can be selected as a starting point for creating the layout of a web page.

So, instead of creating a web page from scratch, publishers can start with a pre-configured schema of the entire page and customize the page from there.

This is a feature that is already common in many existing WordPress page builders as well as SaaS website builders. So finally having this feature in WordPress is definitely a step forward.

Stack or row layout operations

Continuing with the goal of making WordPress easy to design, the new version of Gutenberg allows organizing selected blocks into block or row layouts.

From there the publisher can further manipulate the design using the context menu.

Here’s a video showing how it works:

The WordPress announcement describes it:

“Blocks can now be easily grouped into a stack layout or a row layout with just one click.

In Gutenberg 13.0, selecting multiple blocks at once displays the Stack and Row variants of the Group block in the toolbar. “

block boundary control

This is an improvement on existing functionality using the new BorderControl component.

The context menu provides a way to control the border around the block to change style, color and width.

Use Featured Image in Cover Block Button

The cover block is a specialized block that can be used to create a hero image section at the top of the page. The background of a block can be a color, image or video.

An update to the cover block adds a button so that it instantly uses the featured image for the web page.

It sounds like a small thing, but it’s actually an important feature.

The WordPress announcement was effusive:

“With the updated cover block, a featured image for a post is no longer an afterthought – it’s an integral part of the post. Just click the “Use Featured Image” button and you’re good to go!

Gutenberg 13.0 has more cumulative improvements that together lead to a meaningful update to the WordPress block editor that will eventually make its way into the next version of WordPress, version 6.0.


Read the official WordPress announcement

What’s new in Gutenberg 13.0?

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