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WordPress 5.8 Released With Nearly 300 New Features & Fixes

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WordPress 5.8 Released With Nearly 300 New Features & Fixes

WordPress 5.8 is rolling out right now and is available to all publishers. The new release is named after the innovative jazz musician, Art Tatum. It’s a fitting name for this new version of WordPress because it’s full of brand new features that makes it easier for publishers to innovate and express themselves creatively.

Support for Internet Explorer 11 Dropped

This is the release that drops support for Internet 11. IE 11 is a security risk.

WordPress now becomes a leaner and faster content management system as it reduces the amount of code in the core.

Blocks

Blocks is a modern and updated way to edit the look and feel of WordPress. Editing with blocks has become a feature in bits and pieces across the WordPress system.

Widget Area Blocks

The blocks way to edit a site now is available in the Widget Area. The Widget section can now be fully edited with Blocks

“Now you can add blocks both in widget areas across your site and with live preview through the Customizer.”

WordPress notes elsewhere:

“This gives users powerful new ways to customise their sites using the rich library of core and third party blocks.

Existing widgets and third party widgets will continue to work and can be used alongside blocks.”

Query Loop Block

This new feature gives publishers the ability to display posts based on custom criteria.

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For example, the display posts section can be limited to display posts from a selected category.

WordPress compares it to a Latest Posts functionality but more powerful.

Edit Templates from the Post Screen

This new functionality allows a publisher to toggle from the post editing screen to a block-based page editing screen.

This gives publishers more freedom to edit the template from the context of post editing where a publisher might decide that the post would be better if the template was edited to be different.

“Switch from editing your posts to editing your pages and back again, all while using a familiar block editor.”

List View

List View is a new way to look at the structure of a web page. Publishers can now toggle between the regular view and the List View to get an overview of all the blocs on the page being worked on.

This can also allow a publisher to navigate to a specific block.

Pattern Transformations Tool

This is a feature that suggests block patterns. This feature is currently available in the Query Block and the Social Icon Block.

Duotone Filters

This is a new design feature that allows a publisher to colorize images or videos. It’s a way to add more creative flair to a page.

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WordPress describes it as a black and white filter where the black and the white can be replaced by any colors for the shadows and the highlights.

Theme.json Global Styles and Global Settings APIs

This is a huge change that provides more control of the look and feel of a website. It allows theme developers and publishers to change the default style elements of web pages.

According to WordPress:

“This configuration file enables or disables features and sets default styles for both a website and blocks.”

In another article specifically about the the new Theme.json feature, WordPress explains it like this:

“By creating a theme.json file in the theme’s top-level directory, themes can configure the existing editor settings (the font sizes preset, whether custom colors are enabled, etc.) as well as the new ones as they are introduced (the duotone preset, whether margin and padding controls are enabled, etc.).”

One of the goals of the new theme.json file is to make the handling of CSS more efficient.

According WordPress:

“The theme.json file absorbs most of the common use cases for styling blocks with the goal of reducing the amount of CSS shipped to the browser, mitigating specificity wars, and providing current style info in the UI controls for users.

This is the first step in having a mechanism that consolidates all the three origins of styles (core, theme, user) and that will become more important once users can provide global styles in later phases of the project.”

Support for WebP

WebP is a new generation image format that can display images at lower images sizes.

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WordPress support for the WebP format  allows publishers to create websites that download faster. That’s a win for publishers and site visitors.

According to WordPress:

“From WordPress version 5.8 forward, you can upload and use WebP images in WordPress like you would a JPEG or PNG image today (as long as your hosting service supports WebP).

Switching to the WebP format for your images will improve your site’s performance and your site visitor’s experience. “

Make Better Websites with WordPress

The total amount of changes runs to nearly 300 bug fixes, new features and improvements.

“5.8 offers so much more! Over 170 bugs, 96 enhancements and feature requests, and 24 blessed tasks have been marked as fixed in WordPress 5.8.”

WordPress 5.8 represents a leap forward toward modernizing the content management system.

It empowers publishers who don’t know how to code to make changes to how the web page looks without having to know the code.

The latest version of WordPress makes it easier for publishers to express themselves creatively.

Some may decide to wait a few days before updating in case of bugs.

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But WordPress thoroughly tests each release so it may be safe to update now.

The release methodology includes testing consecutively improved versions the release until the developers feel it’s ready to be used.

Citations

WordPress 5.8 Tatum

Introducing theme.json In WordPress 5.8

WordPress 5.8 Supports WebP

Dropping Support for Internet Explorer 11

Block-based Widgets Editor in WordPress 5.8

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

[embedded content]

Searchenginejournal.com

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