The Major Release of 2023: WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” is Here!

The Major Release of 2023: WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy” is Here!

You will be able to customize blocks more quickly than ever before with WordPress, either globally or individually.

Introducing WordPress 6.2 “Dolphy”! Significant performance improvements, a brand-new distraction-free writing mode, a revamped navigation block, a plethora of interface improvements, and other developer-friendly features.

With the latest release of WordPress, it’s a festival with WordPress’s 20th Anniversary just around the corner, there’s a lot more coming your way… But first

Eric Allan Dolphy Jr. Dolphy is credited with making room for the flute, expanding the repertoire of the alto saxophone, and popularizing the bass clarinet in the jazz world. His artistry was at the forefront of pushing improvisational limits, ensemble work, and collaborations with renowned musicians like Charles Mingus and John Coltrane throughout a career that spanned countries.

Full Site Editor at its Full Glory!

The new full site editor in WordPress 6.2 is finally out of beta version and comes with a stable release housing many features and functionalities. This marks the completion of a significant milestone of the WordPress development roadmap…YooHOo 🥳🙌

Image: Site Editor Out of Beta in WordPress 6.2

Now, you can create block-based themes and experiment with WordPress websites, plugins, or themes. 

Note: Full site editor is available with block themes that support this feature. You can try it out even if you are using the older classic editor with a block-enabled theme.

Revamped Template Editing

Earlier, as you would open the site editor, it would load the Home template of your theme by default. This often confuses many beginners wondering which template or which template part they need to edit.

In WordPress 6.2 as you open the site editor, it will load the template preview window first. Here, you can browse through different templates and see a preview of how it looks. Simple, right!

Image: Template Browser in WordPress 6.2

Simply click on Edit and start working on the selected template, make sure to save once you’re done 😀

Custom CSS to Theme or Blocks

WordPress 6.2 brings forth the power to switch to the Styles panel and select Custom CSS from the menu.

Image: Custom CSS in Site Editor in WordPress 6.2

From here, you can save Custom CSS that applies to the entire theme.

WordPress 6.2 also allows custom CSS for specific blocks. From the Style panel, click on the Blocks menu.

Image: Block styles in WordPress 6.2

On the next screen, you will see a list of blocks. Simply click on the block where you want to apply your custom CSS. You can also do the same by clicking on the Additional CSS tab when you select a specific block!

Enhanced Navigation Menu

Adding navigation menus in the full site editor has always been challenging for users. WordPress 6.2 tries to solve this with a sub-panel that will allow creation, editing, and managing of menu items.

Image: Managing Menu Items in Block Panel in WordPress 6.2

You can also add a new menu item by clicking on the Add Block (+) button. You can also drag and drop menu items to arrange them as you like!

If you wish to create a new menu or load an older one, simply click on the three-dot menu and choose either to load a previously created menu or load a new one!

Image: Manage Menus in WordPress 6.2

Colorful Indication for Template Editing

WordPress 6.2 comes with a feature that highlights the template part you’re currently editing. The element will be highlighted with a border color and have a template part icon attached to it.

Image: Template part Editing in WordPress 6.2

This comes as a great feature to let users know they are editing a particular template instead of a page or post. Thus, letting them know the saved changes will affect the other pages on the site.

Introducing The Style Book

A new feature of the global styles settings menu is the Style Book, which provides a comprehensive overview of all of your blocks and their current design. You can make global adjustments to their styles in the Style Book.

Whenever you need to concentrate on a particular template or block, it is simple to switch from the global view to them and back. You can completely develop or alter a theme while working on global styles inside the Style Book.

Image: Theme Style Variations in the Style Book.

Just switch to the Styles panel and then click on the style book icon to see all the blocks, and how they are styled.

Image: Style book Shows all Block Styles

This also helps you to quickly locate a block and directly edit it. You can also change its appearance, style, customize it as you like!

Image: Edit block from Style Book

Copy/Paste Block Styles

As block styles and appearances editing becomes more intuitive and easier, it doesn’t end here. In WordPress 6.2, you can simply copy block styles and paste on a different block of your choice with the ‘Copy Styles’ and ‘Paste styles’ option.

Image: Copy styles in WordPress 6.2

Note: Your browser will ask for permission to allow your website to view the contents of the clipboard. You need to click ‘Allow’ to continue.

Image: Paste styles in WordPress 6.2

Distraction-Free Mode

Historically, WordPress has always provided options to hide the formatting buttons and toolbars on the post editor screen. WordPress 5.4 made the editor full-screen by default. This allowed users to have a much cleaner writing interface, but there was no distraction-free mode.

WordPress 6.2 will remedy that and will come with a completely clean and calm distraction-free mode. Users will be able to choose it from the editor settings.

Image: Distraction Free Mode in WordPress 6.2

Once chosen, the distraction-free mode hides all editor control elements. Toolbars, side panels, and the top bar are nowhere to be seen, amazing right!

Image: Distraction Free Editor in WordPress 6.2

Pattern Insertion with New Categories

WordPress 6.2 simplifies the Pattern Insertion panel. Instead of showing previews and a drop-down menu of categories, it will show the categories first.

Image: Pattern Insertion in WordPress 6.2

There are two new categories of Patterns added for the Header and Footer sections.

Clicking on a category will show you the available patterns that you can use.

Image: Browse Patterns in Category

You can then just click to insert a pattern into your template and start editing it.

Openverse Integration

Openverse is an open-source search engine that collects and houses all CC0 licensed, open-licensed, and public domain works. With WordPress 6.2, you will be able to find and add those images from Add New panel.

Openverse’s library catalogs over 700 million+ free, openly licensed stock images and audio—and now it’s directly integrated into the WordPress experience through the Inserter.

Openverse Integration

Blocks Get Even Better in WordPress 6.2

Designing a site at the page and block level with the block editor is a much better experience thanks to several interface enhancements in WordPress 6.2:

  • Updates to the Block Editor UI and New Block Controls
  • Many interface improvements in WordPress 6.2 make designing a site at the page and block level with the block editor a much better experience.
  • The width control options for child blocks are now Fit, Fill, or Fixed. For kid blocks inside Block Groups and Rows, these are useful.
  • Caption blocks are no longer required. On the block toolbar, you may switch them on or off. This function debuted in Gutenberg 14.4.
  • Controls on blocks may be “Sticky.” So, you can drag and drop them to the top of the block settings sidebar in the block editor.
  • The document overview and block list panels are now combined in the left sidebar.
  • There is now a Media tab in the Inserter.

Developer Features and Enhancements

There are a lot of behind-the-scenes enhancements for developers in WordPress 6.2. See the 6.2 Field Guide

One developer-oriented feature that’s worth special attention is the expansion of the patterns API to include a template_types property. With template_types block pattern developers can specify the templates their patterns belong in. 

Performance Enhancements

Compared to WordPress 6.1.1, the 6.2 block themes were more than 20% faster in their Time-to-First-Byte (TTFB) score. Block themes also came in 14% faster on the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) score for 6.2. 

It’s Not Over…Not Yet!

Major releases are often followed with security and bug fixes. That’s why minor releases typically follow soon after a major release. Once a major release is out the door, developer attention turns to hardening and polishing the new code.

Thus, I will advise you to test WordPress 6.2 in a staging environment for best practices. Also, once everything is in place, you can push it to your live site. And don’t worry much about security, as it is quite secure owing to 4 RC versions, which contained over 900 enhancements and fixes.

It’s an exciting moment right now as WordPress themes develop to support the core site editing experience as it improves. WordPress 6.2 will alter the way we approach and use themes! To know more about WordPress 6.2, click here!

What’s Buzzing: Looking ahead to WordPress 6.3, we can expect more polishing and refinement of the site editor. Gutenberg development will start to focus on collaboration features — writing, editing, and site-building with two or more simultaneously active users. With each new major release of WordPress, building any kind of website gets easier than it ever has been before.


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