Today is Release Day for WordPress Version 5.9

Panic at the computer

There has been a tremendous amount of hype on this version release – the release associated with FSE or full Site Editing. It is actually a totally new way of setting up the display of your website content. You hear terms like Template Parts, Templates and Theme.json thrown about when the version update is discussed and you hear about the WordPress Customizer going away, replaced by an ‘Editor.’.

All this is causing a bit of panic among website owners, users and maintainers. How is all of this going to effect what I can do with my site or how I publish content?

Relax and take a few deep breaths – the world is not coming to an end!

What is not being pointed out enough, I believe, is that all of these Full Site Editing updates will only be effect on websites that use what are called Block Themes – or have been built as Hybrid or Universal themes that can take advantage of both the ‘Classic’ way of editing and the new FSE method.

Personal Experience:

I have a development server set up within my desktop computer. I have on that server 15 different websites. Some are simple static brochure sites, some are eCommerce and one has LMS, eCommerce and Membership functionality. Some use free theme repository themes, some use Genesis Framework themes, some the Astra Pro Theme (without a page builder plugin) and some use totally custom themes. They have a whole stable of different plugins installed. None of the sites use a Block or hybrid/Universal theme.

I updated all of those websites to WordPress 5.9, Release Candidate 2 when it was released and have installed the nightly updates every day since. None of those sites on my development server have broken in any way. The updates to the block selector and block patterns are available and the Classic Customizer is still functional for making styling changes.

The Future

There is definitely going to be a learning curve associated with this update but you can take your time with it. Those that will find themselves hunkering down with tutorials and courses on the new changes are those individuals who always want to jump to the latest version – or are starting a new website from scratch ang want to use this new FSE to build their website.

Some organizations are suggesting that you don’t even update to 5.9 and wait until 6.0. In theory we will see up to 4 major updates to WordPress this year, so the wait for 6.0 won’t be more than a few months.

So, fire up your local installation of WordPress, update a site on your local server to version 5.9, log into Learn.WordPress.org or any of the myriad of tutorial sites/area WordPress Meetups and learn how these new changes operate with a Block-based theme. That is what I have been doing. There is a lot to like about the new capabilities and there is a lot that needs to be refined. For developers/website builders it will be a major change in their operation but we’ll all learn and progress.

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