Gutenberg 9.2 Adds Video Tracks, Improvements to Columns and Cover Blocks

Gutenberg 9.2 was released this week and is the last release of the plugin to be rolled into WordPress 5.6. It features the long-awaited video tracks functionality, closing a ticket that has been open for more than two years under development.

Video tracks includes things like subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters, and metadata. This update introduces a UI for adding video tags, which can contain multiple track elements using the following four attributes:

  • srclang (Valid BCP 47 language tag)
  • label (Title for player UI)
  • kind (Captions, Chapters, Descriptions, Metadata or Subtitles)
  • src (URL of the text file)

The ability to edit tracks is exposed in the video block’s toolbar:

This update closes a major gap in video accessibility and greatly improves the user experience of videos.

Gutenberg 9.2 also introduces the ability to transform multiple selected blocks into a Columns block. For example, users can select three image blocks and instantly change them into a three-column section. Columns can be created from any kind of block, including InnerBlocks. The transform option will appear if the number of selected blocks falls between 2-6. (The maximum number is derived from the maximum number of columns allowed by the Columns block.)

Transform multiple blocks into Columns block

Another notable feature in 9.2 is the expansion of Cover blocks to support repeated background patterns. This gives users more flexibility in their designs, opening up a new set of possibilities.

Cover block background pattern

This release brings in more than a dozen improvements to the new Widgets screen, as well as updates to the Query Block and Site Editor experiments. The most notable smaller enhancements to existing features include the following:

  • Add dropdown button to view templates in sidebar. (26132)
  • Gallery block: Use image caption as fallback for alt text. (26082)
  • Table block: Use hooks + API v2. (26065)
  • Refactor document actions to handle template part titles. (26043)
  • Info panel layout improvement. (26017)
  • Remove non-core blocks from default editor content. (25844)
  • Add very basic template information dropdown. (25757)
  • Rename “Options” modal to “Preferences”. (25683)
  • Add single column functionality to the Columns block. (24065)
  • Add more writing flow options: Reduced UI, theme styles, spotlight. (22494)
  • Add option to make Post Featured Image a link. (25714)

Since the Gutenberg 9.2 release was delayed by a week, it includes many more bug fixes and code quality improvements than most releases. Check out the full changelog for more details.

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10 responses to “Gutenberg 9.2 Adds Video Tracks, Improvements to Columns and Cover Blocks”

  1. News Manager says:

    I still think the experience is subpar and the development should drastically change direction into building two different modes – build and write. First would be suitable for designers, geeks, coders and devs to build the overall look of the website and the second mode should be for this who write the content on an ongoing bases. Writers can’t deal with blocks, it’s an unfamiliar experience which alienates them from the platform. I am hearing more and more people to jump out of the ship due to the second one.

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    • Peter Shaw says:

      This is exactly right. The Gutenberg team don’t appreciate that most writers come from ms word or google docs. When they try to use Gutenberg they find it confusing and clunky

      Gutenberg is great, but having one mode and trying to be all things to all people will alienate half the users.

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      • News Manager says:

        And it is not just home staying bloggers or small businesses, it’s about professional journalists, news editors, reporters, professional writers. They all need a known text experience.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am all for blocks, I am in favor of blocks, but Gutenberg needs modes. A journalist doesn’t build the website. No journalist from CNN edits the design, the widgets, the navigation of CNN.com. His job is to write a story.

        Gutenberg team should understand that journalists, writers, editors, they are not web builders most of the time. We need Iceberg-like modes that work well without performance hit like Iceberg.

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    • richard Ginn says:

      Well Page builders are in and Gutenberg is one of them. At least this gets constant updates.

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      • Peter Shaw says:

        Which is exactly point. Page builders may be great for designing a site but they are terrible for writing content.

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    • Greg says:

      A writing mode would be amazing – I have clients who put me on an actual retainer simply so they can email me blog posts to put up because they don’t want to deal with Gutenberg. Meanwhile, as much as I think Gutenberg is nowhere near ready to be an actual site builder, I also don’t know how I’d function without it at this point. A writing mode with a full-featured toolbar that appears as a doc but saves as blocks would be a gamechanger, and frankly I’d be happy to give up the retainers in exchange for not having other people’s blog posts to care about.

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    • Alex says:

      As a journalist running an online newspaper I would need to change to another CMS if there were no alternative to Gutenberg. I, too, love Gutenberg – but it is utterly useless for my daily work. Some days I have to publish 30-40 articles, which is just impossible with Gutenberg. Additionally, with the classic editor I can delegate articles to my colleagues, but they would be totally lost with Gutenberg.
      Regarding the “modes” you mentioned – wouldn’t that be simply switching between classic editor and Gutenberg? That’s the way we do it. I have classic editor set up as default editor for the team, and IF I really need a builder I simply switch to Gutenberg …

      Cheers,
      Alex

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  2. Fränk says:

    It’s highly encouraged to upgrade to 9.2.1. Especially for those interested in the experimental Full Site Editing feature.

    Gutenberg version 9.2 contained a lot of bug fixes, but not enough 😉

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  3. Slavi says:

    Using Markdown for writing content would easily solve that issue. There are quite a few plugins offering that. We live in a modern world and learning new skills is necessary.

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    • News Editor says:

      This is not about learning new “skills”, it’s about professionals expecting to have a known UI/UX for writing, not managing blocks. If you open your source code editor tomorrow and it’s block based, how would you react?

      Iceberg is an idea that is a good idea, but the implementation is a huge performance hit. That’s why this “write” experience should be built-in Gutenberg.

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