If you’ve been using WordPress for a while, then you’ll know how much the platform has changed over time. Even individual updates often bring significant shifts. For example, the 4.9 ‘Tipton’ update enabled users to schedule design changes in the WordPress Customizer so they can go live at later dates, just like post drafts.
WordPress 4.8, on the other hand, brought us plenty of widget updates. For example, if you wanted images in your widgets in the past, you had to add them manually. Now, there are three dedicated media widgets for image, audio, and video files.
Another of our favorite features of 4.8 was the option to check up on nearby WordPress eventsright from your dashboard, which is handy if you want to do some networking:
However, all the changes we’ve mentioned so far are pretty incremental. They’re useful, but not exactly game-changing. Most WordPress updates have been more about taking small steps forward rather than major leaps – that is, until WordPress 5.0.
What to expect from WordPress 5.0
WordPress 5.0 is kicking “incremental” to the curb with some pretty major changes. The biggest is the aforementioned Gutenberg Editor, But WordPress 5.0 also marks a change to how the platform handles releases. It used to be the case that you could count on getting two major WordPress releases per year, with plenty of mini-updates in the meantime.
Now, the WordPress core team is planning on moving away from that scheduled release model. The idea is that by removing the pressure of predetermined deadlines, the platform will be able to take more significant leaps, and we won’t get updates that feel as though they lack in meaningful content.
Aside from that, here are a few of the other significant changes we’re likely to see once WordPress 5.0 is live:
- The platform’s focus is moving towards a more intuitive site-building experience. WordPress already leads the pack in terms of market share. And by improving WordPress’ site-building functionality, the core team aims to hold that market share against the rise of hosted website builders.
- We’ll see some improvements to the WordPress Rest API. The WordPress Rest API helps developers create more feature-rich products by making it easier to send and pull data from your website. This update means developers will be able to more easily create applications using the platform as a framework.
- Building custom themes will become easier. In the past, you needed at least a simple development background to put together a WordPress theme. With Gutenberg, theme creation will become much more accessible thanks to blocks.
- Page builder plugins might lose some relevance. There are a lot of fantastic page-builder tools that you can use with WordPress, some of which rival professional platforms. Gutenberg won’t be a match for them at first, but it might dissuade people from using them in the long run.