Gutenberg 5.8 Released with Prototype of New Block-based Widgets Screen

Gutenberg 5.8 was released today with three new features and more than three dozen enhancements, documentation improvements, and bug fixes.

This release gives users the ability to change the text color in the Heading block. The same color options available in the paragraph and button blocks are now available in the heading block.

A recent release of the EditorsKit plugin (version 1.5) added this feature and the plugin’s author had tracked nearly two dozen issues and discussions where users have asked for text highlighting or similar features.

“We really need this for all block controls (lists, paragraphs etc),” Ben Gillbanks commented on the relevant GitHub issue. “Anything that can be used on a group block with a colored background could cause readability issues and so the text color will need to be changeable.” Gutenberg designer Mark Uraine said that adding text color options to all the text blocks is the next step following this update.

Gutenberg 5.8 adds support for reordering gallery images using a simple arrow control to move selections forwards or backwards. This isn’t an ideal interaction but Gutenberg phase 2 lead Riad Benguella said the team is exploring adding drag and drop support.

Benguella shared a video that demonstrates these two new features:

This release introduces an initial version of the new widgets screen. You can check it out in the admin under the Gutenberg » Widgets (beta) menu. It’s currently just a proof of concept and has quite a few bugs but gives a preview of how the the widget management screen is shaping up. Benguella said users can currently edit/update widget areas using any available block. The proof of concept implementation in the plugin allows the team to continue polishing the UI and fix bugs in future releases.

The editor is also making progress on mobile, adding quotes and video to the available blocks, rich captions for the image block, and fixes for several critical bugs.

The editor has also recaptured some of its performance gains that were lost in version 5.7, according to recent performance benchmarks.

We’ve had some commenters on previous posts who said they are confused about the difference between WordPress’ core editor and the Gutenberg plugin. The plugin is where active development gets committed. All the new features are put into the plugin first so they can be tested before being rolled into an official WordPress release later down the road. If you want to get access to all the latest features Gutenberg has to offer, install the plugin and you will be able to try it before it lands in core.

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2 Comments


  1. It’s great that users will be able to change the foreground and background colour of every widget title just like they can each paragraph within a page or post – but will they be able to add drop caps too?!

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  2. It’s all great but it crashes every time I wanna use any of my reusable blocks and practically I can’t use them.

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