Gutenberg News: What’s New in Gutenberg 9.5 | December 2020

The WordPress team released Gutenberg 9.5 on Dec. 2, 2020. Developer Nik Tsekouras announced version 9.5 focuses on changes to support full site editing and global styles.

Gutenberg 9.5 also includes several bug fixes and enhancements. Many of the changes released in version 9.5 won’t be noticed by front-end users. Two primary changes include the ability to further customize code blocks and the introduction of the Cover Image block.

Changing Code Block Font Size

The Gutenberg block editor includes an option to write technical code using a Code block. You can use all major coding languages in this block, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and PHP. 

The Code block supports one supplemental setting — additional CSS class. The text used in the Code block is always monospace font. Additionally, text in the Code block can’t be formatted with bold, italic, or underline like normal text.

However, an update in Gutenberg 9.5 empowers users to change the font size of the code text. The team added a font size dropdown menu in the Typography section of the Code block settings.

Font sizes give users one option to highlight certain code sections if needed.

Introducing Full Height Alignment and Cover Image Block

Gutenberg 9.5 also includes a full height alignment option in the toolbar of the Cover block. In the Cover block, users can add an image and use the four-corner frame icon in the toolbar to set full height alignment. 

The use of full height alignment options in the Cover block will not interfere with any horizontal alignment. 

With this new addition, users no longer have to use the pixel setting to set the Cover block content to full height. 

The new full height alignment feature provides a better user experience by generating a dynamic Cover block that adjusts based on the viewer’s screen size.

If you want to create a full-screen background, you can use the full-height and full-width alignment options together.

Gutenberg Experiments

The Gutenberg team continues to press forward toward full site editing (FSE) with the block builder. Several experiments are running to test the best FSE user experience. 

Gutenberg experiments that may change your user experience on WordPress include:

  • Additional Post block customization 
  • The ability to set a global font style 
  • Seamless integration for FSE themes

Post Block: Edit Title and Featured Image

The Gutenberg team focused on the Post block editing experience when they prioritized experimental features. 

With Gutenberg 9.5, users can edit a post title directly in the Post block. Additionally, users can set a featured image for a post directly in the block.

If a featured image already exists, users can remove it and select a new one from the block settings.

Finally, the team included the ability to set the alignment for the Post block. The alignment function for the Post block mimics the alignment for the Image block.

Global Styles Font Appearance

The Gutenberg team’s experiments include several enhancements to the Site Editor section, specifically with Global Styles. 

Notably, in Gutenberg 9.5, the team enabled font appearance at the website level in Global Styles. 

Users can select a global font style in the Typography section of Global Styles. Customizable settings include font family, font size, and line height.

Continuing FSE Integration and FSE Theme Functionality

The Site Editor section is positioned to replace the Customize section of WordPress once full-site editing becomes fully functional. 

A unique challenge for the Gutenberg team has been the transition from widget-editing with the Customize screen to block-editing with the Site Editor. 

In Gutenberg 9.5, the team’s testing a feature that automatically changes the Customize menu item to Edit Site when an FSE theme is installed and activated. 

While the behavior isn’t much different for front-end users, the Edit Site feature signals further movement toward the future of full site editing.

Eventually, the Customize and Widget screens will no longer be needed. In the meantime, the team aims to make sure the front end menu options are appropriate for whichever theme a user activates.

In 2020, WordPress and Gutenberg themes expanded the functionality of block-based website editing. Particularly, they have maintained their focus on providing customization features for the Gutenberg blocks. 

While there’s still plenty of work before FSE becomes the new norm, changes introduced in 2020 paint a clear picture of WordPress’s future. In the near future, WordPress users can expect to experience significant updates and feature changes as website editing moves away from widgets.

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Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson | Content Specialist
Desiree Johnson is a Content Specialist at Bluehost where she writes helpful guides and articles, teaches webinars and assists with other marketing and WordPress community work.

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