What’s new in WordPress 6.1

WordPress 6.1 is scheduled to be released on November 1, 2022. Release Candidate 2 is available now, and testing is encouraged.

Each year, a new default theme is launched. This release brings Twenty Twenty Three, a new default WordPress theme focused on Style Variations. These swappable color and design options are sourced from volunteer WordPress contributors.

Now is the time to start checking the new changes with the websites you build and maintain.

What’s new in WordPress 6.1

Fluid Typography

Have you wanted to provide different font sizes at different resolutions? You can now using the fluid typography feature. It allows you to define scalable font sizes from your theme.json file, as shown in the following video clip:

Using fluid typography, you can scale and adapt to the screen’s available size. Your content will look great on any screen.

Read More: Testing and Feedback for the Fluid Typography Feature

Design Tools: Consistency & Control

As WordPress expands to include more blocks, ensuring design tools are consistent will help you customize your site more with less CSS requirements. More design tools are being added across all blocks to provide you with standardized controls.

Broadly, the areas of focus are broken down to include typography, colors, layout, borders, along with dimensions and spacing.

The following demo shows how you can customize a featured image block to include various borders and a duotone filter.

Read more: Core Editor Improvement: Catalyst for creativity and control

Featured image in cover block placeholder

If you’ve ever wanted to display a featured image with the title of the post over the image, you had to code that into  your theme yourself. Even with the cover block, it still wasn’t possible to set a post title over the image. But in WordPress 6.1, you can now set your featured image within the cover block as part of your single post template.

While writing a post, users can upload the featured image as they’ve done before. It will display within the cover block.

Twenty Twenty Three default theme

Each year, WordPress releases a new default theme that showcases features new that year. We experiences style variations this year, allowing you to select from several design choices within the same theme. The Twenty Twenty Three theme was a community contribution effort.

To see these variations, install Twenty Twenty Three. Then go to Appearance > Editor > Styles > Browse Styles. Need help finding these global styles more? See Define the design: Configuring styles in WordPress

You can also get a preview of the variations in the following demo video:

Patterns for Posts

Do you want to provide content creators with a starter post? With the new modal and some custom code, you can now prompt writers to pick which pattern they’d like to use when starting a post.

In addition to default headings, you can also lock areas within these patterns. This would help prevent additional changes beyond the areas you want others to modify.

To start creating the pattern, you’ll add a folder to your theme named Patterns.  Then format your file with a starter docblock and block markup. You can even create the initial layout in a post and copy/paste the code below the docblock. Get the following code on GitHub.

Read more: Page creation patterns in WordPress 6.0

Classic themes get template parts

If you are using a Classic Theme but want to enable others to modify templates using the block editor, you’re in luck. You can now customize themes to support template parts.

To add the support for template parts, you will need to do three steps. First, add the following code to your functions.php file, usually at the very end of the file.

function add_block_template_part_support() {
add_theme_support( ‘block-template-parts’ );

add_action( ‘after_setup_theme’, ‘add_block_template_part_support’ );

Next, create a folder called Parts within your theme. Place blank files here, such as footer.html to add a footer pattern. Then edit the patter from the block editor.

From there, specify where you want the template part to appear on the front end. Include it in the top-level templates, such as index.php, single.php, and others via the block_template_part() function with a reference to the part name.

Read more: Block-based “template parts” in traditional themes

Block Locking

Have you wanted to limit who can modify which blocks? In earlier releases, you could lock a top level, but if users accessed a nested block, they could still edit it unless you manually locked every block manually.  WordPress 6.1 brings a big change in this way. You can now use the “Apply to all blocks inside” with Group, Row, Stack, Cover, and Column blocks.

Read more:Content only editing and other locking updates

Quote and list block

Additional template options

Template editing has expanded for block based themes. Now you can create a template for many additional options, including custom templates.

After selecting a template option, a modal may pop up asking you to specify even more options within this template.

Learn more about WordPress 6.1

Looking for more resources to help you learn all about using and developing for Full Site Editing? Check out these courses from Learn WordPress:

Using WordPress:

Part 1: Simple Site Design with Full Site Editing

Part 2: Personalized Site Design with Full Site Editing and Theme Blocks

Part 3: Advanced Site Design with Full Site Editing: Site Editor, Templates and Template Parts

Beginning Developer:

Develop Your First Low-Code Block Theme

Introduction to Block Development: Build your first custom block

Advancing Developer:

A Developer’s Guide to Block Themes Part 1

Using the WordPress Data Layer

Looking ahead to WordPress 6.2

WordPress 6.2 work will begin soon, but as of yet does not have a release date scheduled. We expect to see additional performance and accessibility improvements, alongside more work on the design tooling consistency and controls. Don’t worry, classic themes will be here for many years to come. You can find more details on the WordPress Roadmap.


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