What’s new in Gutenberg? (8 January)

The first GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/ release of 2020 includes not less than 180 PRs 😍crafted by more than 56 contributors. These change include some of the most asked for features from the community.

It includes a new Buttons blockBlock Block is the abstract term used to describe units of markup that, composed together, form the content or layout of a webpage using the WordPress editor. The idea combines concepts of what in the past may have achieved with shortcodes, custom HTML, and embed discovery into a single consistent API and user experience. to align more than one button in a row. Several block plugins had this block available already and now it made its way into Gutenberg CoreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress..

AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility)-wise, a new tabbing behaviour has been introduced for Edit mode (mode you’re in when you’re editing blocks). Tabbing forward out of the block will bring you to the end of the content (the sidebarSidebar A sidebar in WordPress is referred to a widget-ready area used by WordPress themes to display information that is not a part of the main content. It is not always a vertical column on the side. It can be a horizontal rectangle below or above the content area, footer, header, or any where in the theme.) and tabbing backward will bring you to the block toolbar and then the headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes.. This makes it easier to navigate the editor and brings it closer other editors that let tabbing focus the next element outside the editor, rather than the next element inside the editor. Of course you can still navigate to other blocks with the arrow keys and by escaping the Navigation mode (press Enter to return to Edit mode, arrow keys or tab to navigate to other blocks).

From a developper perspective, this release also includes a big refactoring to the Button component: It now supports an icon prop and the design have been tweaked for more consistency across the different variations.

A new package @wordpress/keyboard-shortcuts has been added. Ultimately, this package will allow users to edit their keyboard shortcut combinations and third-party developers to register their own keyboard shortcuts.


New Features

  • Add a new Buttons block. 17352
  • Support adding links to Media & Text block image. 18139
  • Navigation block: Support changing the font size. 19127
  • Gallery block: Add images size selector. 18581


  • Improve the block inserter search algorithm. 19122
  • Improve the block placeholders design and responsiveness. 18745
  • Navigation mode: Auto-enable when tabbing to the block list with an existing block selection. 19238 19298
  • Use tabs for gradient and color. 19133
  • Add “download” keyword to the File block. 18995
  • Add “poem” keyword to the Verse block. 19355
  • Convert to blocks:
    • preserve text alignment. 19097
    • Skip shortcodeShortcode A shortcode is a placeholder used within a WordPress post, page, or widget to insert a form or function generated by a plugin in a specific location on your site. if not on its own line. 19059
  • Writing flow: Improve tabbing for Edit mode. 19235
  • Use Popover for the block toolbar. 18779
  • Improve the block multi-selection styles. 19094 19121
  • Support reduced-motion for Social Links transitions. 18750
  • Use the default cursor for Select Tool 19157
  • Round position attributes on cover focal point save. 19183
  • Remove block inserter shortcuts. 19045
  • Navigation block:
    • Clarify the placeholder label. 19105
    • Removes the reusable block option from the items. 19250
    • Sub-items white background adjustment. 18976
  • Adjustments to the welcome guide. 19195
  • Audio block: Don’t render an empty audio tagtag A directory in Subversion. WordPress uses tags to store a single snapshot of a version (3.6, 3.6.1, etc.), the common convention of tags in version control systems. (Not to be confused with post tags.). 18850
  • Make validation of block htmlHTML HyperText Markup Language. The semantic scripting language primarily used for outputting content in web browsers. tags and attributes case insensitive 19207
  • Block examples: concatenate strings and add translators notes. 19048
  • Show the trashTrash Trash in WordPress is like the Recycle Bin on your PC or Trash in your Macintosh computer. Users with the proper permission level (administrators and editors) have the ability to delete a post, page, and/or comments. When you delete the item, it is moved to the trash folder where it will remain for 30 days. button as a link. 19131
  • Removed the bottom-margin for the RadioControl component. 19340
  • Copy:
    • Capitalize “Manager” in Block Manager. 19375
    • Expand on sentence case usage. 18758 19377
    • Update the copy of the Experiments page 18233
    • Removes title case from alignments for text and image. 18757
    • Unify not capitalizing the heading for each of the attributes. 19374
    • Updates description of the navigation block. 19098


  • Remove the BlockAsyncRenderProvider and render parents asynchronously 19343


  • A11yAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility):
    • Make text alignment items radio menu items. 19233
    • Add group role to the block wrapper element. 19213
    • Prevent tabbing to the block drag handle. 19211
    • Add a label attribute to the Social Icons block. 18651
    • Improve Welcome guide and modal component. 19261 19290
  • Pasting:
    • Content that results in a new block shouldn’t be treated as inline content. 19084
    • Preserve inline images. 19064
    • Remove trailing br elements. 19035
    • Remove windows paste markers. 19040
    • Strip HTML formatting space for inline text. 19043
    • Apply active formats when pasting inline. 14815
  • Rich Text:
    • Fix applying a format across 2 other formats. 19053
    • Fix using composed characters on Safari. 19171
  • Fix block navigation using the up arrow key. 19135
  • Fix Welcome Guide modal display for Internet Explorer. 19201
  • Fix Gallery block crashing on the contributor role. 19060
  • Only show available image sizes for Image and Gallery blocks. 19301
  • Remove the circle mask style from the Image block, and add a “rounded” style instead. 19028
  • Fix the Jest Preset Default package: Update preset file extension for inclusion in NPM deployments. 19306
  • Fix the Base Styles package: Import colors into variables. 19159
  • Limit the Next Page (Page Break) block to root level only. 18260
  • Navigation mode: fix reverse tabbing to the post title. 19305
  • Reposition Popovers on click. 19268
  • Fix RangeControl initialPosition prop to accept 0 as a value. 18611 19202
  • CustomSelectControl: Use items width instead of 100%. 19150
  • Verse block: fix white space. 19173
  • Add missing i18ni18n Internationalization, or the act of writing and preparing code to be fully translatable into other languages. Also see localization. Often written with a lowercase i so it is not confused with a lowercase L or the numeral 1. Often an acquired skill. to the Latest Posts block settings strings 19032
  • Fix ColorPicker alpha value normalization. 18991
  • Fix Post title encoding. 19187
  • Fix dates alignments in the picker. 19294
  • Media Replace Flow: Don’t show the URLURL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org option unless there is a handler. 19063
  • Popover: don’t render fallback anchor if anchorRef is defined. 19308
  • Fix cursor position when splitting blocks with IME keyboard. 19055
  • URLInput: Avoid showing the suggestions loader when disabled. 18979
  • Translate block example strings. 18162
  • Writing flow: simplify & fix tabbing out of block. 19312

New APIs

  • Button component:
    • Support the icon prop and use a consistent button height. 19193 19366 19123 19058
    • Deprecate IconButton and replace its usage with Button. 19299 19241
    • Support isPressed prop in Button and SVG components. 17748
  • New the wordpress/keyboard-shortcuts package:
  • New ReactReact React is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to reason about, construct, and maintain stateless and stateful user interfaces. https://reactjs.org/. hook: useInstanceId. 19091
  • Support running arbitrary commands on the wordpress/env containers and use it for linting and server registered fixtures. 18986
  • Font Size Picker: Add default size 18273


  • Full Site Editing:
    • Add package with barebones site editor screen. 19054
    • Add Multi-Entity Saving flow. 18029 19155
  • Widgets screen & customizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.:
    • Fix Customiser block editor crash. 19023
    • Fix Drag & Drop not working on the widgets screen. 19029
  • Allow parent Block to consume child Block’s toolbar. 18440
  • Allow disabling the Block UIUI User interface. 18173
  • Block Directory:
    • Update the regular expression that determines whether the pluginPlugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party is using an img URL or an icon slug. 19316
    • Use the block’s title for alt text on block directory plugin items. 19263


  • Add types documention:
  • Document the CustomSelectControl component. 19026
  • Document the WritingFlow component. 19314
  • Link to the User Support Documentation. 19361
  • Add more documentation for wordpress/env. 19194
  • Add nested block / InnerBlocks tutorial. 17559
  • Add Developer Tools setup in Getting Started. 19074
  • Use ESNext as default code example format. 17873
  • Add standalone npm package release docs 19381
  • Typos and tweaks: 19280 19236 19376 19146 19022 19005 18423 19347


  • Block Editor: Remove legacy “editor-” class name compatibility. 19050
  • Block Editor: Test ContrastChecker notices by string comparison. 19169
  • Fix useColors crashes on storybook. 19046
  • Data: Remove unused forceRender argument 19206
  • Define useSelect dependencies properly. 19044
  • Deprecate wordpress/nux package. 18981
  • E2E Test Utils: Remove empty, unused KeyboardMode file. 19166
  • Popover: remove buffer options 19283
  • Refactor the MediaReplaceFlow component to use Dropdown. 19126
  • Remove unused is-hovered class from the block wrapper. 19390
  • RichText:
    • Rewrite withFilters with hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same.. 19117
    • split out boundary style calculation. 19319
  • WritingFlow: rewrite with hooks. 19393
  • Project management: Add prepublish packages command for npm releases. 19214
  • Remove unused blocks-font-size classname. 19208
  • Add a pre-commit hook to check whether APIAPI An API or Application Programming Interface is a software intermediary that allows programs to interact with each other and share data in limited, clearly defined ways. docs are updated. 18820
  • Add mechanism to set a width on withViewportMatch. 17085
  • Add minimum and maximum values to the Gallery columns attribute. 16314
  • Include demo block templates in build ZIP. 19072
  • Fix CSSCSS Cascading Style Sheets. Coding Standards issue. 19272
  • Resolve WordPress package type imports. 18927
  • Add e2e tests:
    • Splitting and merging text. 19049
    • InnerBlocks renderAppender. 14996
    • Navigation block. 19189
    • Validate embed rendering before proceeding to next 19042
  • Add unit tests to the useViewportMatch and useMediaQuery React hooks. 19019

Performance Benchmark

The following benchmark compares performance for a particularly sizeable post (~ 36000 words, ~ 1000 blocks) over the last releases. Such a large post isn’t representative of the average editing experience but is adequate for spotting variations in performance.

VersionLoading TimeKeyPress event (typing)
WordPress 5.36.481ms69.865ms

#core-editor, #editor, #gutenberg