Today I tested Wordpress 5.9 in its latest release candidate, which at the moment is 5.9-RC3. Normally I don’t usually test Betas, but I had to see the new editor rollout because I’m looking forward to give the door to Elementor.
If you want to try it to test its new features and make sure that all your plugins work, the fastest and less complicated way is using the plugin WordPress Beta Tester plugin under a test environment or staging
To do this, install the plugin, select“Early development“, save and in the new options that will appear when refreshing check“Beta/RC only” and save again
Now you can update to the latest RC version from Desktop/Updates.
The first stable version of WordPress 5.9 will be released on 25 January and although it is announced as the one that will make full site editing possible, in reality it is a yes, but no because it is only possible from block themes (few at the moment), so the changes at first glance are almost zero.
I don’t think anyone who has their template already set up is going to change it to test this editor beyond tinkering. Here I use GeneratePress which, although it allows block layout, is not compatible with this new native editor.
Although it is another big step towards turning Gutenberg into a full editor, it still has a long way to go before it can compete with the popular “Builders” such as Elementor, Divi and similar, which are not only quite heavy, but also not modular and not easy to optimise.
Under PHP 8.0 nothing has broken. Nor has any plugin crashed and it seems to have slightly improved loading, at least in terms of perceived loading speed.
With the update, in addition to the various translations available, Akismet is installed (if you had uninstalled it) and new templates appear, including Twenty Twenty-Two, the first default block template compatible with the new full editing option.
If you don’t activate a “native” block template or one that supports the new full site editing story, you won’t notice any noticeable superficial changes after the update.
When you activate Twenty Twenty-Two, access to the new editor will appear.
If you are one of those who have not yet abandoned the classic editor and have not used Gutenberg, the first contact with the editor can be difficult.
Even having used Gutenberg regularly, as is my case, I have a first feeling of confusion. I can’t find what I’m looking for. After clicking on everything I can click on, I find that access to the plantilleo is in the logo, at the top left.
I’m not going to go into the options and improvements of the editor because I haven’t learnt to use it in depth yet and I don’t have many elements to compare, but from the beginning everything seems to me to be quite complicated. If you want to know more, and better, Fernando tested it a few days ago.
As for performance, nothing new, or the improvement is not very noticeable. Maybe it will be more noticeable when I upgrade to PHP 8.1. WordPress 5.9 uses Elementor well, although by the way I have it all relatively well optimised and I only use Elementor for very specific things and not on all pages…
Also in the performance section, which is the one that interests me the most, 5.9 adds an improvement of the deferred loading.
Lazy loading of images was introduced in WordPress 5.5 and then extended to cover iframes in WordPress 5.7. In version 5.9, the implementation of both has received some tweaks to improve performance.
Now the lazy loading in the first image is not applied because according to different performance studies, this had a significant impact on the final load times More info on this.
Other new features
But 5.9 doesn’t stop there, it adds a language selector on the login screen, improved support for PHP 8.0 and 8.1, new patterns and blocks, more options in Gutenberg for appearance settings such as spacing, sizes, fonts, borders, cropping, etc. and improvements in the image gallery, among others other things.
Even though it is a major update, it leaves you the feeling that nothing has changed and that the candy of full editing and layout “dies” limited to a few templates, even more so for those who are reluctant to embrace block editing.
We’ll have to wait for what they do in the 6.X versions, as WordPress is supposed to continue working throughout 2022 on improvements related to the complete edition of the site