With the WordPress 5.5 development cycle coming to a close, it is time to begin mapping out what features should land in WordPress 5.6 later this year. Earlier today, Chloe Bringmann asked the community to chime in with its wish list on the Make Core blog.
As usual, I have a few thoughts. I tend to lean toward addressing some of the long-standing developer-friendly tickets because these features allow plugin authors to build better products for end-users in the long run.
A complete custom post status API tops my usual list of most-wanted features. I have already opined over this for my WordPress 5.5 wish list. It may be time for more realistic dreams. Maybe we will revisit it another year or two down the road. However, if any core leads want to give the feature a green light, I will gladly be the evangelist and get others excited about it.
Homepage Post Type Selection
For this release, I want to call out one of my other years-long wishes. WordPress should allow end-users to select any custom post type for display on the homepage.
Imagine a WordPress where users can head to their Reading Settings screen in the admin and select something other than their normal posts list or a page to appear on the homepage. Have a forum plugin installed? Maybe users want to list their latest topics or forums list. Running an eCommerce plugin? Users should be able to display their products. Setting up a web design portfolio? Display the most recent projects by simply selecting this choice in the admin.
This is an area where the software has always catered to bloggers and has avoided throwing a little love to other types of sites.
Currently, plugin authors must perform some crazy hacks to make this work. The WooCommerce custom query class is enough to make any developer give up. Not all of the code in that file is for the front page, but it has a frustrating amount to make something work that should be far simpler for plugin authors.
The reason this needs to be in core WordPress is so that each and every plugin does not need to roll a custom solution. Plugins should be able to flag their post types during registration as “allowed on homepage” — not all post types are meant for this type of display. Then, WordPress should handle all the dirty work behind the scenes if a particular post type is selected by the end-user. The addition to the API for plugin authors would be simple, and plugins that are already hacking this feature together can drop a lot of unnecessary code.
There is an existing 8-year-old ticket for the feature. It has a few old and likely outdated patches and has not seen any real activity in the past four years. Nevertheless, it would be nice to see this feature in core WordPress and finally close the ticket.
Block System Wish List
Like most releases, the block system will be getting the most attention. The things that will land in WordPress 5.6 are mostly already set in stone, assuming a particular feature does not fall behind in development like widgets and nav menus did for the 5.5 release.
On the whole, I like the general direction the block system has been headed. If anything, I have been impatient with some things, such as awaiting the integrated block management screen in the admin. For other features, such as full-site editing, I am still wondering whether they are realistic goals for the WordPress 5.6 release.
I would take a release and focus on tightening up and polishing the existing system. Take stock of the pain points — and there are many — that users are mentioning. Spend time working on smoothing out the editing experience before tacking on new features.
That is not going to happen. New features are what get developers up in the morning and excited about the project. Therefore, my fallback request is to bring on the block management screen.
What’s on your wish list?