Gutenberg v11.9 Release and Coming WordPress 5.9

The latest release of Gutenberg plugin v11.9.0 to be included with WordPress 5.9 release in December comes with much scaled down full site editing (FSE) features that were available for theme developers until the previous v11.8.2 release. Indeed this is much different experience for the theme development with FSE features.

Reviewing Gutenberg 11.9, Justin Tadlock of WP Tavern writesthe site editor has been scaled back to the point where it is no longer the feature that Gutenberg plugin users have grown accustomed to in these last few months. It is essentially a pathway to the global styles feature.

Scaled Back Editor

The Block Template and Block Template Parts editing features of FSE has been scaled back in v11.9 making available only Global Styling tools (see below).

Now, clicking “W” icon in the top left of the editor brings back to the admin dashboard and the previously available Template panel is gone. As Justin writes “I see no way of editing specific templates from within the site editor. The result is a watered-down index template editor with global styles, the one redeeming feature“.

Screenshot showing only template in use available for for global styling.

The other big change is the Site Editor Beta menu button has been moved under Appearance menu in the admin dashboard and renamed as “Editor“. For Global StylingStyles” menu also has been added (see below)

One of the other major changes in v11.9 is improvement in the Navigation Block. Now the navigation block is available under Appearance as “Navigation Menu” and user created menu data are stored as post types similar to block templates or block template parts (see below).

A new Navigation Area Block wrapper was also added to Navigation block, where custom navigation area like “primary” can be defined (see below) so that when user switch themes then if the the “area” name matches their previous theme, the menu simply carries over and automatically appears.

<!-- wp:navigation-area {"area":"primary"} -->
<!-- wp:navigation /-->
<!-- /wp:navigation-area -->

As Justin explains “If they do not match, the user can assign a saved menu. The menu/area relationship is stored in the database“.

Other Enhancements

There are also other enhancements in typography tools, new comments blocks, full screen pattern explorer mode other features as noted in this announcement post.

Work in Progress at GitHub

On this ticket at GitHub, there appears to be some work going on to provide some way of editing ALL theme templates and template parts. There is ongoing discussion which we must keep our eye on to get better insight as to how this important theme development feature evolves and becomes available again.

Wrapping Up

Just like WordPress developer and contributor Nick writes here in this GitHub discussion, I might have to revert back to previous v11.8.2 release so that I could get have access to themes Block Templates and Block Template Parts folders through admin dashboard.

That makes so much easier to customize my block themes that I am currently working on.

Useful Resources

The following is list of references link that I gathered during my brief research. While preparing this post, I have also referred some of the following references extensively. Please to refer original posts for more detailed information.