Recap of the Media Corps Briefing on WordPress 6.6

The first Media Corps briefing, held on June 27, 2024, provided media partners with an overview of the source of truth and updates planned in WordPress 6.6—scheduled for release on July 16, 2024. The session featured guest Anne McCarthy (@annezazu), who explained and demoed some of the upcoming features and answered questions from participants. The briefing was recorded and published on the YouTube channel. Besides the recording, you can find a summary, the full transcript, and other relevant links and resources below.



Ana Cirujano (@acirujano), Anne McCarthy (@annezazu), Bernard Meyer (@bernard0omnisend), Davinder Singh Kainth (@idavinder), Eric Karkovack (@karks88), Javier Casares (@javiercasares), Josep Morán (@josepmoran), Lauren Stein (@laurlittle), Matt Medeiros (@mattmm), Nilo Vélez (@nilovelez), Patricia BT (@patricia70), Reyes Martínez (@rmartinezduque), Simon Kraft (@krafit), Steve Mosby (@malgra).


Anne McCarthy began the session by introducing the source of truth, a document that helps consolidate all information about the release in one place. This resource is not meant for copying and pasting but rather as a factual information resource with visuals and demos to better understand the features and updates related to the release.

6.6 callouts

Anne made a special callout for two features coming in WordPress 6.6, primarily due to feedback and the scale of their impact: the unified editing flow and the pattern management in classic themes.

Unified editing flow:

  • The Post and Site editor experiences and interfaces are getting closer and more cohesive through technical and design efforts, including extensibility.
  • Integration of extensions has been made easier for developers, with slots available across editors. Anne noted the work done to help mitigate some unexpected usage of these slots as something to give feedback and call out for 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 Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party authors.
  • The more noticeable piece for users will be seen in the publishing experience, with updates to 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.’s appearance and a more prominent display of key information.

Pattern management for classic themes:

  • Classic themes will have access to the visual, feature-rich pattern management experience the Site Editor offers. This update will be available by default in the upcoming release for those using classic themes with an opt-out hook.
  • Anne highlighted this change’s significance in giving people a taste of a more modern WordPress experience and its impact on those managing patterns at scale—making it more convenient and visual to sort, bulk export, rename, duplicate patterns, etc.
  • Additionally, template parts using blocks are consolidated under the Patterns section in the new pattern management experience.

Other upcoming features

Data Views updates:

  • Anne underscored the importance and ongoing work of Data Views as a part of the broader admin redesign efforts and narrative.
  • Most notably, in this release, management pages for templates, template parts, and pages have been brought forward so they are immediately seen—reducing the steps to access important information. A new side-by-side layout for pages lets users see a list of all pages and a preview while clicking through them.

Typography and color variations:

  • 6.6 will introduce a new ability to create style variations that only target color or typography changes. This feature will allow users to preview and apply more built-in design variations without changing an entire site’s look and feel or switching themes.
  • Anne noted how typography and color variations contribute to the larger design and styling system, which is getting more robust with each release.

Overrides in synced patterns:

  • During the session, Anne demoed the upcoming overrides in synced patterns. This feature will be especially useful for maintaining style control and consistency across synced patterns while allowing content-specific changes within each instance.
  • To make working with overrides more intuitive, a list in the 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. settings sidebar and a purple visual cue will help identify the editable blocks of a synced pattern.
  • The heading, paragraph, button, and image blocks can add overrides in 6.6.

New grid layout variation:

  • This release will introduce the grid layout as a variation for the Group block with two options (auto and manual) and a visual resizer available in auto mode.
  • Of note, any block can use this new grid layout using the supports key in block.jsonJSON JSON, or JavaScript Object Notation, is a minimal, readable format for structuring data. It is used primarily to transmit data between a server and web application, as an alternative to XML., making it especially useful for implementing it within custom blocks, especially on the agency side.

Enhancements to the Block Bindings 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.:

  • The Block Bindings API, introduced in 6.5, is expected to evolve across releases and have a substantial future impact.
  • A notable change in the upcoming release will be the ability to edit connected sources directly from the block. When saving, there will be a connection that those custom fieldCustom Field Custom Field, also referred to as post meta, is a feature in WordPress. It allows users to add additional information when writing a post, eg contributors’ names, auth. WordPress stores this information as metadata. Users can display this meta data by using template tags in their WordPress themes. values have been edited.
  • Anne called out how this API offers developers a more efficient and low-maintenance way of using custom fields, reducing the need to build and maintain custom block implementations to accomplish the same.

Rollbacks to auto-updates:

  • WordPress 6.6 will include the ability to perform rollbacks when fatal errors occur during attempted plugin auto-updates by default.
  • This feature benefits site owners, highlights the importance of revisionsRevisions The WordPress revisions system stores a record of each saved draft or published update. The revision system allows you to see what changes were made in each revision by dragging a slider (or using the Next/Previous buttons). The display indicates what has changed in each revision. in WordPress, and ensures that users can trust their site’s content will stay safe.

Design tooling upgrades:

Anne demonstrated the new option for theme authors to define style options for sections of blocks, including nested blocks. These can be registered as block style variations and edited via the Styles interface of the Site Editor.

  • She highlighted the benefits of this new feature for those in the agency and enterprise space, especially for branding control. Beyond more granular control over inner blocks and optionality, it will help reduce the need to replicate or duplicate styling.
  • As part of this update, Anne noted that changes to CSS specificity were made to ensure the styling had the right hierarchy.

Other design features mentioned:

  • Negative margins, a long-requested feature, will allow more advanced designs.
  • Site-wide background images can be set in the Site Editor. Theme authors can use relative and absolute paths to their images depending on their use case.
  • With WordPress 6.6, users can create and edit custom shadows and enjoy the new box shadow support in the Featured ImageFeatured image A featured image is the main image used on your blog archive page and is pulled when the post or page is shared on social media. The image can be used to display in widget areas on your site or in a summary list of posts. block, offering more design possibilities.

Additional items and notes

  • Aspect ratio presets will be supported via theme.json, meaning the available aspect ratio presets for the Image, Cover, and Featured Image blocks can be customized.
  • 6.6 will bring added control for default font sizes and spacing in theme.json, which led to a change in the theme.json version. Thanks to this effort, theme authors can turn off default font and spacing sizes, preventing the sizes supplied by coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. from being displayed.
  • Bug fixes in 6.6 worth pointing out:
    • The inserter will show all blocks instead of the blocks allowed
    • Added CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. will remain in place when switching between style variations
  • A new shuffle option will allow swapping between similar patterns in specific scenarios.
  • Patterns can be bulk exported in 6.6, saving time and effort for those who use patterns across multiple sites.
  • Similar to the shuffling option, the upcoming release will allow folks to browse and switch templates and template parts in the Inspector.
  • The List block’s usability has been improved by letting indent list items via the tab key.

Additionally, Anne touched on other items briefly, including performance improvements and the Interactivity API, which is undergoing maintenance with iterations expected in the future. There are routine updates for the Block 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. API and HTMLHTML HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is a markup language that is used in the development of web pages and websites. API. A new feature, the Token Map, will be introduced in 6.6 and is particularly useful for large organizations. She also noted that this release will drop support for PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. 7.0 and 7.1 and include preparations for ReactReact React is a JavaScript library that makes it easy to reason about, construct, and maintain stateless and stateful user interfaces. 19.

Questions & Answers

Anne addressed questions about the new features and considerations for different user groups, including enterprise audiences. She also explained the zoom out view to build with patterns, allowing users to view sections of their site holistically. Despite efforts, the feature wasn’t ready for this upcoming release, but an experiment can be explored by turning it on in the 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. plugin.

She mentioned the effort behind creating the source of truth document and clarified that the Block Bindings API can work with Advanced Custom Fields, as demonstrated by Ryan Welcher. Additionally, Anne shared her thoughts about the potential long-term impact of Data Views and recommended reading the June 2024 update.

Towards the end, the conversation shifted to how classic themes are considered in new feature additions, ensuring a balance between advancing future developments and supporting users. The canonical blocks idea was also discussed, emphasizing that it is under ongoing discussion.

Questions submitted during the session (with timestamps)
  • [00:21:26] Davinder Singh Kainth ( That side-by-side layout, most of this will possibly trickle into the upcoming WP Dashboard UIUI UI is an acronym for User Interface - the layout of the page the user interacts with. Think ‘how are they doing that’ and less about what they are doing. redesign. Is that correct?
  • [00:43:53] Simon Kraft (KrautPress): A bit of an aside: how much work goes into the Source of Truth post?
  • [00:45:14] Eric Karkovack (The WP Minute): With the block bindings API, does it matter the source of the custom field? For example, does it work with Advanced Custom Fields and similar plugins?
  • [00:46:27] Davinder Singh Kainth: Which one feature are you most excited or looking forward to in this release?
  • [00:48:25] Javier Casares (WPpodcast) and member of the Hosting team: Core has not published a lot of information about the “betaBeta A pre-release of software that is given out to a large group of users to trial under real conditions. Beta versions have gone through alpha testing in-house and are generally fairly close in look, feel and function to the final product; however, design changes often occur as part of the process. compatibility” and “compatible with exceptions”. Is it something that is going to improve? We are preparing a “WordPress 6.6 Server Compatibility” for hosting companies, but in some ways, we are blind.
  • [00:49:57] Simon Kraft: Which change in WP 6.6 do you think will have the most long-term impact for WordPress overall?
  • [00:51:16] Javier Casares: Is there any plan to add the new Data Views or something similar for plugin configuration pages?
  • [00:53:09] Eric Karkovack: How much are classic themes considered when adding features to the block or site editors? It seems like they are catching up to block themes a bit more in each release.
  • [00:59:16] Javier Casares: There is an idea of having “Community Blocks”, not in core itself, but maintained by the community. Is that something we will see soon?

References and shared resources

Other useful links:


The following transcript was AI-generated. Note that it may contain some errors despite being reviewed.

Full transcript


Reyes Martinez: All right. So hello, everyone, and welcome to the first WordPress Media Corps briefing. My name is Reyes, as you all know, and I will be assisting in moderating today’s session along with Lauren. Today, I’m super happy to share that we have Anne, Anne McCarthy. Anne is a Product Wrangler at Automattic and test lead for the WordPress 6.6 release. She will be providing an overview of the key updates in this upcoming release and answer any questions you may have.

Reyes Martinez: And just before we begin, I would like to remind everyone that this session is being recorded. This is also our first briefing, so please know that it will serve us as a pilot to test the format, see how that goes, and we would love to get your feedback after the session to keep improving, iterating as needed. I would also like to ask you to submit any questions for Anne through the chat, please, as that would allow us to easily keep track of them. And follow up later if needed. And lastly, please indicate your name and the media outlet or the channel that you represent when sharing your questions, as that would allow us to have more context. So just to summarize, the meeting, as you know, is being recorded. Please submit your questions through the chat and indicate your name and media outlet or channel. Any questions so far? All good? Perfect. That’s it, that said, let’s get started. Anne, over to you.


Anne McCarthy: Thank you so much for kicking us off and for letting this be one of the inaugural things with Media Corps. I’m really excited about what you all are doing.

Anne McCarthy: I’m not going to assume everyone’s familiar with the source of truth. So if you are familiar, awesome. That’s amazing. If you’re not, all good. I just want to give a brief overview before I actually dive into the document itself. So at a high level, the source of truth the intent is not to replace or replicate things like the field guide or dev notes, but it’s meant to pull all everything into one place, tag things based on like main users that are impacted by different features, dig a bit deeper into the top features as well as the additional features.

Anne McCarthy: And part of it is it’s intentionally weighted around the features you’re likely going to see, things like social media postings about, documentation updates, you know, State of the WordState of the Word This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress. like features. So there’s a lot of stuff in there. I do not recommend copying and pasting anything you find in there, but it’s meant to serve as inspiration and factual information. So you might see some color commentary from me there. I think I have like a special end note of things that I’m calling out. But it’s meant to be not used as like copy paste this, ship it in your next newsletter or news post. It’s meant to be, okay, this is my understanding of the feature. I can look at a demo of it. I can go click on the link that implemented the feature. And I can understand how folks need to go about adopting this. Is it opt in? Is it opt out? How do people do that? So it’s meant to be very factual. It’s not necessarily meant to have a bias or to be overly compelling marketing material.

Anne McCarthy: The reason I bring that up is I’ve had folks ask me to make it more like that and it’s just meant to be more of a information brain dump that all things related to the release. I also want to note that there are visuals and demos in as many places as relevant as possible. So there’s also like a folder you can have access to that you can pull out demo content from. Some of it comes from yours truly. Some of it comes from proper designers. So the quality can be a bit different there, but it’s meant to show you the feature. So you can also ideally rerecord or you can use those demos as well if you’d like. Some of them are funny and feature my friend’s dog. So use it at your own risk.

Anne McCarthy: I’m also happy to demo things live and get into it a bit more if folks have questions about any particular feature. I have a test site spun up, and it’s really easy to just spin up other test sites. Finally, as we go through this, know that I welcome feedback on the format, too. This is something I’m constantly tweaking, so I definitely want to hear questions for the content, but know I welcome feedback there, too. So I’m going to present now. Can you all see my screen? I can’t see you all, so I’m just going to… Okay. It’s so interesting. Google Meet is funny.


Anne McCarthy: So this is the public source of truth. I also have a Google doc link that I actually should add to this in case people want to see it in a Google doc format. Sometimes I find that’s a bit easier to skim through. I have a changelog at the very top of this. So if any major changes happen, so for example, WordPress 6.5 ended up being delayed, that is a prime example of something that will end up in the changelog. So as the release moves forward, this is a great thing to return to in case you’re worried about like, let me double check and make sure X, Y, and Z feature is right or is landing, or I heard that it might be delayed. Let me see what’s changed. I am pretty vigilant about keeping this up to date. So you’ll notice in the Google Doc if you look there, which I recommend just sticking with this public page for now, there is a changelog already because I shared it a bit earlier.

Anne McCarthy: So this is a visual overview of the highlight grid. You might recognize this a bit from WordCampWordCamp WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences covering everything related to WordPress. They're one of the places where the WordPress community comes together to teach one another what they’ve learned throughout the year and share the joy. Learn more. Europe where Matt did his keynote, but this kind of captures a lot of the high level stuff, as well as smaller features. So one of the things we try to balance with these highlight grids, it’s a combination of like the big heavy hitters, like better pattern management for classic themes, along with smaller, everyday workflow items, like tabbing to indentless items. So this doesn’t always necessarily match up with the absolute heaviest, there are sometimes we like to try and include some of the smaller features intentionally.

Anne McCarthy: Um, let’s skim through this this kind of overview offers very high level my take of what’s going on and what’s shifting? So in this case, I talk a lot about design tools taking center stage and we’ll get into that in a second.


Anne McCarthy: I do want to call out this special Anne note. There are two things that are shifting that we can just jump into now before going back. One is there’s a unified editing flow, and that includes both slotfills, which developers can use to extend the editor, as well as just publishing. So the publishing is going to look different in this experience. And I’m happy to demo this if folks want to see it demoed. I cannot see you all because I’m sharing my screen. So I just want to note that as well. Actually, I wonder if I can pop that out so I can see folks. That’ll change the size of things. Okay. Please unmute if anyone wants to see a demo of this.

Anne McCarthy: I also as part of this have a demo showing the changes between the two. Um, but this is a huge change. So anytime you’re publishing something, you’re going to feel this. Um, I need to do a YouTube video on this. Just haven’t gotten to it this week, but it’s something I am very much expecting feedback on. And the reason for doing it is to start to bring together the post and site editor closer together, both technically and experience wise. Um, and that also has the benefit of, um, now for folks who want to extend the experience, the slotfills, um, now are available across the editors, which also means contributors can build features in a single place and have them available for both but also makes it a lot easier to extend. There’s actually a Developer Hours coming up on this. I think it might have happened actually this morning on this but I expect this to be a huge. This is one of the biggest I would say more technical callouts of this release, and it’s easy to miss. But this is a really big deal in terms of folks who are trying to, you know, create plugins and embrace where things are going in the future. It also touches on some of phase three, admin redesign, like bringing some of that energy into this space.

Anne McCarthy: There was some work done to help mitigate some unexpected usage of these slots. This includes, Jetpack actually had an issue with this. I work for Automattic, so this came up, which was thankfully fixed, but I encourage folks to call this out. Basically, edit post slots will only work on edit post and the post editor and edit site slots only work on edit sites. So while these things are unified, there is some work done to mitigate anything unexpected. And I would love to hear feedback on that too. But that’s something to call out for plugin authors to pay attention to. And then for everyone, I expect this new publishing experience, like the sidebar looks different, the order of information is different. This is going to be a big deal.


Anne McCarthy: The other one I want to call out just right up top as part of my special Anne note, is around a change in pattern management for classic themes. I did do a video about this this week if you want to dig into that. But essentially previously classic themes had access to an appearance patterns page and it showed the old or the current WP list table list view where it’s basically what you see when you open up post or pages.

Anne McCarthy: And that has been replaced by default for classic themes with basically the experience that the site editor has. So rather than seeing, oh, the site editor, you don’t see that, you just see a contained experience of the pattern management. And this is a much more visual, feature-rich experience, especially for patterns at scale, if you have more than, I would say, 20 or 30 patterns like this will be incredibly useful. You can sort by all sorts of things, bulk export, import them. Yeah, basically change them quickly, duplicate them easily. A lot of workflow improvements with this new experience and also just frankly a better visual experience and an easier one at that.

Anne McCarthy: So this was done to give folks a taste of what’s to come and this is based on feedback that we’ve gotten both around pattern management and the styles experience and the site editor has also been folks have wanted to see that moved into the ability for classic themes to use that that has not happened yet. But this is kind of, you can think of it as part of phase two, gradual adoption stuff. So rather than building all this new stuff entirely separate, we’re now trying to safely bring some of the new stuff to the current experience of folks with classic themes. Because classic themes are so in use, this, I expect it to be a big change. There is a way to opt out. So as mentioned, you’ll always see like this adoption approach. I need to fix the spacing on this. It’s available automatically, no opting in required. And to opt out, I have a link to this hook that you can see. I might want to embed that there, actually. You can see I give myself feedback.

Anne McCarthy: But yeah, this is a big deal. And the same thing is true if you had template parts that were using blocks, this will now be consolidated under patterns. So some hybrid themes expose template parts with blocks, but template parts and patterns have merged in this latest release under the same, not technically, but under the same section in the site editor and in this pattern management experience. Those are the two right off the bat that I want to call out. I think they’re probably the most impactful changes in terms of like sheer number of people impacted, I would say.


Anne McCarthy: Separately from that, and diving into more of the high level items, I want to talk about data views. So the reason this is a top level item in this document, and perhaps not emphasized in the same way as you see in this highlight grid, is because it’s touching on broader work and broader narrative across many releases. And the reason I bring this up to you all is I know the narratives around how the releases connect and what the vision is really matters. So in this case, when you look at this highlight grid, the feature that we’re calling out is quick previews for pages related to this data views, but the work there is actually much broader.

Anne McCarthy: And this is part of, phase three, specifically the admin redesign efforts. And so this UI that’s being created with data views is just a huge foundational piece. It’s part of what this data view system and advancing the system there is part of what’s being exposed when we modernize patterns for classic themes. Mainly for this release, essentially the work that was done was to surface the management pages of template parts, templates, pages faster. So rather than seeing like a preview of a template or having to have a few extra clicks, we basically removed that and brought those forward. So they’re immediately seen and just reducing the number of steps, just quickly became clear that there were just too many steps in between accessing each. 

Anne McCarthy: Also the details page which was a black sidebar that you could see with like yeah details about whatever you were looking at has been removed, that interstitial stuff is now gone. And instead, the inspector has been updated to basically like consolidate all the information into that. And the biggest thing that’s more visual and exciting, at least, is around for pages, there’s a new side by side layout. And again, this is where I just want to start demoing stuff. And I might just need to do that. So please flag if folks want to see demos of this. This has been reduced so you can see a list of the pages as well as a preview while you’re clicking through the different pages, making it really easy to just quickly edit or quickly see what’s going on.

Anne McCarthy: I think it’s a really interesting design approach, especially for these different layouts because you can imagine in the future with this work because extensibility is so in line for phase three and thinking about how plugins might adopt this. It’s a layout that I think could be really valuable in the future, thinking six months to a year down the road. There’s also a ton of just smaller changes that we don’t need to go through.


Anne McCarthy: Another option that has come up.

Reyes Martinez: Anne

Anne McCarthy: So, oh, yes, please. 

Reyes Martinez: No, sorry. I just wanted to share that I’m sharing some links in the chat about some of the resources that you have been sharing, just so folks know, okay? You have been mentioning some resources. And also, maybe we can also, if folks want to see any of those demos later, I mean, I think if we have time, I think that would be really great.

Anne McCarthy: Yeah, I mean, I have no problem.

Reyes Martinez: Sorry, I didn’t want to interrupt.

Anne McCarthy: No, that’s super helpful. Yeah, please. I mean, I’m almost tempted to demo as we’re talking. Just because I think it might be a bit more compelling. How do folks feel about that? Would folks be cool with me jumping into demo things a bit more? Yeah? Okay. I’m going to stop sharing in that case. And hold on, we’re going to share my… Yeah, I’m such a visual person. I like gotta see it.

Reyes Martinez: Yeah, I think as far as we are mindful about the time and keep things moving forward. Yeah, I mean that would be really nice.

Anne McCarthy: Okay, I’m gonna share my entire screen in that case. So we’re gonna go through. Okay. So right now, we’re talking about individual typography and color variations. And this, you all probably know and love style variations, right? That changes layout, typography options, color, everything. They can be pretty big changes. So in this release, to offer more narrow changes while still opening up more design options, you now have the ability to basically create style variations that only target color or typography. And so rather than changing the entire look and feel of your site, you’re able to do more targeted changes and provide users with options for more targeted changes. And this is just a part of the narrative around the larger design system and styling system that is just really getting more and more robust with each release. And I’m going to show you an example of that.

Anne McCarthy: So instead of browse styles, where you will see these different style variations, in this case, you’ll actually find them in individual sections, either typography or colors, and you’ll see it in these palettes right here. And what’s neat is you can basically get a quick preview of what’s going to change and even change them above. But as I clicked through this, pay special attention to this section, because we’ll go through this in a second. But you can see it only changes the colors of my site. So perhaps I like a style variation, but I’m like, ooh, I want a different color. A block theme author could create these so that you could have this initial style variation, but then switch through the different color options until you find something that works well for your system or your vibe. But it just offers a bit more narrow changes rather than switching everything up, which I think is really powerful. It’s just another way to offer more options to users built in without needing to switch themes or anything like that.

Anne McCarthy: And while I’m here, I just wanted to briefly show, this is the new side-by-side layout that I was trying to explain. And you can see as I click through this, a nice preview of things. There’s also these different filters so that I can quickly get to publish, quickly get to schedule. There’s nothing scheduled, drafts, all that sort of stuff. And I can change things from here. And all of what I’m showing is all part of this broader data views work. Okay.


Anne McCarthy: So overrides in synced patterns. This is a really interesting feature, probably more on the agency side, people who want more control potentially. I do think some average end users could use it. It’s still early days. So overrides in synced patterns basically allows you to have a synced pattern that connects all across your site. But then let’s say you have a heading within that synced pattern. And you want to be able to have it be customized across. I can actually, while I’m talking about this. So you have this project overview and you want, you know, this project description to have overrides. You can see I’ve already set this up to have overrides. So let me disable this real quick. And I can enable overrides right here. All I have to do is just add a name and click enable. And now anywhere this pattern is used, I can then basically have it so that I can customize this right here. So let me show an example. We’ll go back, new project. Yeah.

Anne McCarthy: So as I click on this, you’ll notice that the things that I can edit, flash purple, and this is not meant to be solely be the way to tune into it. It also helps that this over here has this content only. So you can see in a couple of different ways what’s actually editable. You’ll also notice this icon is purple to show that it’s connected. So then I can say, this is my last project, and I can have customized text. So then I can hit save draft, and I can also edit original, or I can reset it to the original as well. But if I go back and edit original, and let’s say I want this background to be, I don’t know, that’s obnoxious. This like light purple. All right, that looks good. I’m gonna save that. I’m gonna go back to the page. You’ll see that the styling is now updated and the content is still customized.

Anne McCarthy: And it’s pretty powerful. You can also go back and let’s say you actually want to reset this entirely. I can then say, okay, disable overrides. I actually don’t want this to be overridable anymore. I want one thing. Um, and say like click save, go back and you’ll see it automatically updates. And also when I click on this, I now can no longer edit this. So there’s, it’s a more advanced feature and that’s part of why there’s the more advanced, um, options here to actually change things. It also only works with a certain number of blocks. So in this case, heading, paragraph, button, and image. I’m going to keep moving along.


Reyes Martinez: We have one question. Yeah, we have one question from Davinder. Maybe you want to expand about it, Davinder, or would you prefer me to read it? 

Anne McCarthy: Oh, I understand the question. I’m happy to dive in. That’s a great question. So the question is “That side by side layout, most of this will possibly trickle into the upcoming WP dashboard UI redesign. Is that correct?”

Anne McCarthy: I recommend reading through that June 2024 update, but the gist of it is explorations are underway to bring this new experience, this database experience into future like post pages. So there’s actually like, let’s see, I just tested this yesterday. Right now it’s very experimental. There is an experiment in the Gutenberg plugin that actually implements this on the posts list, but it’s very early days. Yeah, that’s so funny. I actually got an error. So yeah, this is actively underway, but yes, it’s looking at this and seeing, does this work? If it works, how does it work? Does anything need to change? Does anything need to evolve? This is being done both in posts and the media library. But it’s very early days. It’s not slated necessarily for the release. It’ll depend on how things actually progress. Does that answer your question? Hopefully.

Davinder Singh Kainth: Yes, yes.

Anne McCarthy: Okay, cool. Awesome. So next up, improvements to grid layout. Grid layout is a long requested feature, especially from block themers and designers. This is something that has just been hammered on for a while. So building on the previous grid layout that was in the release, this one surfaces it as a variation of the group block. So similar to row and stack and group, you now have grid. So you can add the grid block as is. And there’s two different options. Auto generates the grid in row and columns like automatically, and it’s also responsive, so it has built in responsiveness. Or manual allows you to specify the exact number of columns. And there’s also a really neat visual resizer that you can use whenever you’re in auto mode to just visually resize it. I’ll note, and I think this is like easy to miss, any block can use this new grid layout using the supports key on block.json. So if you’re writing something more developer forward, I might mention that. I think that is like a very neat way to implement this within your own custom block, especially on like the agency side. This is definitely like a builder designer. I actually didn’t put a tag of who this impacts, because I think it impacts everyone. And I also have a quick video that goes into that feature. All right, we covered that.


Anne McCarthy: Yes, so another really high-level, important developer update. So the Block Bindings API launched in as 6.5, you probably noticed, this is another one of those things that kind of exists across releases, and I would expect this work to continue across releases. This is another through-line across a set of releases that I think we’ll see. So the Block Bindings API partially was done to help power overrides in synced patterns, and there was a huge refactor of the existing implementation as part of also landing overrides in synced patterns. And there’s a better visual experience if you have actually bound and connected blocks to understand that those blocks are connected. Work is still needed there to kind of further things, but that purple, like, let me go back.

Anne McCarthy: For example, this purple icon here and surfacing this here, like this is a good example of trying to show connected blocks using the block bindings API. And one of the biggest changes that I think is very exciting is you can edit connected sources directly from the block. And when you save, there’ll be a connection that you’ve edited those custom field values. And this was on the bubble for the release. So I’m actually really excited to see this land. So for folks, again, more technical, this is a huge way to continue to use custom fields. And a lot of times with these custom fields, and the block bindings API, you can get rid of a lot of custom block implementations that folks would previously have to build and maintain. And this is just a much easier, much less maintenance way of accomplishing the same thing. And I see this continuing to march forward in a big way. So that is a good one to call out.

Anne McCarthy: Now we’re getting into kind of the additional items. So I’m going to be a bit shorter with these, but I’m happy to demo whatever folks want to see. So rollbacks, auto-updates, this is really exciting. I know Matt was super excited about this, and it’s part of the narrative of WordPress really valuing revisions, really valuing that you can trust your content will stay safe on the site. So for 6.6, when you set an auto-update for a plugin, if it fails, it will automatically roll back and catch it for you, which I think is really exciting. Very useful for folks who are maintaining sites. Were just honestly like, I added a bunch of auto-updates to one of my side project sites. So all around good for the average end user and good for folks on the higher end as well.

Anne McCarthy: There’s a slew of design tooling upgrades. So this is supposed to be the heading for these additional things that we see. This top-level run went back and forth around being a top-level item, so I think it’s good to emphasize. I also have been seeing some confusion around it, so I just want to note that. If you’re digging into it and your brain starts to spin, you’re not alone there. I definitely recommend spending some time with it, because I think it’s a really big game-changing option, and I’ll actually demo this, because I think it’s important to see.

Anne McCarthy: So 6.6 allows you to define styling options for multiple blocks, including inner blocks. So what does that mean? Why would you use this? Imagine you are an agency, you have very specific branding that you need to implement for a client, both colors and the look and feel of it. You can basically provide these shortcuts to styling options using what’s being built in 6.6 and registering it as a block style variation. And it shows up in the same place that you see block variations. So it’s in a similar UI and it changes the styling of that section, including the inner blocks. So there’s multiple ways to register this. I will not get into the details of it. But I do just want to call that out that there’s multiple ways of doing it and you can actually, once you’ve registered these, you can actually edit them via the styles interface in the site editor, which is really exciting. So…


Anne McCarthy: Let’s go back to… Where did I put this? Yeah, OK. So in this case, I have this section. You can imagine I’m trying to keep branding consistent and I can change, and I can name this whatever I want, default, section one, what have you. I basically have this here. Blow this up a little bit. I actually can’t make that bigger, which is annoying. But this is just the title here, so I could call this Light. I’ll refresh this.

Anne McCarthy: It allows you to have, especially for container blocks, which a group block is, so now you can see Light here, so you can customize all this stuff. It allows you at default to have this, but imagine you want some options. You could have like four or five options in the same way you have block variations to switch between. And it automatically adds styling to your site. So in this case, maybe we call that the light experience. And then what’s neat is if you do this correctly as a block themer, and you rely on global styles rather than having local block styles here, you can then go in and using the same feature I showed earlier, choose between different palettes, and you’ll see it’ll automatically update based on the palette you’re choosing, because basically what this section does is it’s using color variables.

Anne McCarthy: So you can see I pulled variables from the theme. So it automatically responds to the different colors of the theme. So it keeps the contrast mostly good. This was a quick demo that I pulled together last night and last minute using some of the stuff actually from Rich Tabor, my coworker and fellow contributor. But it’s a pretty exciting and powerful feature when you combine it because it allows you to have this customization set up by default, but then it corresponds with how you update your site further in the future. And you can actually go into styles and make changes to this thing that you created in a separate JSON file. So it basically allows a lot of control and a lot of optionality and also reduces the need to constantly replicate. So if you’re trying to replicate a bunch of sections, you now can just click through. It’s kind of like a… you can imagine a bunch of parts of the site and you’re trying to have them look similar. You can imagine having like the default, the light, a dark, and like a modern and you could switch between them and ensure that they all work well together colorwise.

Anne McCarthy: And to me the really powerful thing is how much you can control the inner blocks. This has been a long requested feature on the enterprise side and just to have more granular control, because you can imagine having these options here, but then turning off a bunch of options below. So it has some presets basically built in to style sections of your site and reduce the need to duplicate styling all the way through.

Anne McCarthy: As part of this, there were changes to CSS specificity. So this is another good thing to call out. I will not go super depth in here, but to basically get the styling to have the right hierarchy, some changes had to be made in the specificity. So there’s a detailed dev note about it as well.

Anne McCarthy: Negative margins. For negative margins, the neat thing, I’m just gonna pick that one. You cannot reach negative margins using the drag handles. You have to manually insert it. So you cannot, this is intentional to prevent people from doing, you know, basically dragging and accidentally not being able to hit zero, because oftentimes people might want to zero out the margins. So this was done intentionally. It’s also honestly meant for more advanced designs. So it’s a feature that has also been long requested. This is, it’s amazing how many people really wanted this. And so I’m really, this is a big feature for the design side of things as well.


Anne McCarthy: Site-wide background images are now available in the site editor. So this is also related to having site-wide images in the 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. and some compatibility between the two. For theme authors, you can use both relative and absolute paths to your images depending upon your use case, which is a huge deal. So you don’t necessarily need to bundle it, which is pretty exciting. So I have two different examples here of absolute paths, where the file needs to be hosted and maintained, as well as a relative path, where you can just have it in the theme assets. So I’m going to call that out.

Anne McCarthy: Box shadow has been added to the featured image block. More design options. You can use your featured image in the media and text block. So this builds on some previous functionality of using the featured images in more places, like the cover block. You can create and edit shadows and styles, which is pretty darn cool. So you’ll see this new shadow section here. You can create like a custom shadow and do all sorts of funky stuff. I had a way too much fun doing this the other day. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. And you can also obviously edit the current ones as well.

Anne McCarthy: There’s a couple more additional supports. I won’t mention those. Aspect ratio support for theme.json. This is pretty neat. Justin Tadlock is really excited about this, which makes sense. But you can basically change the available presets for aspect ratio for image, cover, and featured image. So you can add your own and there’s an example here. So maybe you want like an extra wide aspect ratio. It’s a way to just have more optionality built into the theme.

Anne McCarthy: Similar to this, there’s now added control for default font sizes and spacing in theme.json and this led to a change in theme.json version. So this is an important thing to call out. We’re now on theme.json version 3. But basically thanks to this effort, you can turn off default font sizes and disable them from showing the sizes supplied from core. This has been also a requested feature for folks who want more control of the editor and not just exposing everything. And the same is true of the default spacing sizes. So this is another layer of control added to theme.json and also solving some requested features. But as a result, it’s had to update to v3. And this, I won’t get into the details of this, but there is some work done to preserve some backwards compatibility.


Anne McCarthy: These two are some fun bug fixes, basically, almost, that I think are worth calling out. So the inserter previously, when you would open up, let’s say… What should I do? I’m going to go list block. When you previously had the inserter open and you had an item like list, it would only show list item. All of this… Wouldn’t be visible. And now you can see that you can click, you know, I can add a list, and that’s great. But I can also hit heading, and I’ll add the heading below. So it doesn’t obviously, for the blocks that are allowed to be added, it still prioritizes adding those and surfaces them at a high level at the top. But then you can still see the controls and options you have, but before this wasn’t visible. So it’s a pretty poor experience. And this has now been resolved in a way that I’m really excited to see that this landed. And it’s a good thing to call out just on the base user experience of using all this new stuff. 

Anne McCarthy: Similar to this, if you had custom CSS in a style variation and then switch style variations, you would lose it. And now it copies the CSS between the variations, which I think is pretty neat.

Anne McCarthy: There’s also a new shuffling patterns in specific scenarios. So if there is a pattern that you add to your site and it has a pattern in the, there’s more patterns in that same categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging., you’ll see a shuffle option at the top. I’m actually gonna cheat and just watch my own video just to show you all. It’s 15 seconds, so it’s just easier than spitting something up, but you’ll see this nice little shuffle option and it’ll shuffle things through. This is another way of surfacing different discoverability of patterns and different styling and design options. I’m curious to see how this evolves and how it overlaps with some other things that are being worked on.

Anne McCarthy: You can bulk export your patterns. This was a requested thing amongst folks with multiple sites. A lot of times, different builders and stuff oftentimes have patterns across different sites they want to use. And before, you’d have to manually export each one. And now, you can export them all. 

Anne McCarthy: That’s another smaller thing.

Anne McCarthy: Similar to this shuffling option, you can also browse and switch templates and template parts in the inspector. I’m also going to cheat on this. And this is a good way for me to demo some of the assets I have to see the feature. But you’ll see this transform into, and you can swap between different templates. So this is showing different templates. And it surfaces similar functionality that already exists, but I think it’s worth calling out as we’re trying to have some intuitive parts of the interface show things that folks might want to use. So this is swapping out the footer. And again, options will only show up if they’re available. So if you’re using a theme and they don’t show up, that’s why it’s because there’s not something available. 


Anne McCarthy: This is one of the smaller things, but powerful indent list block items via the tab key.

Anne McCarthy:  Um, there are a number of performance improvements, uh, but it’s not necessarily as robust as 6.5. Um, I recommend digging into these specifically, but 6.5 definitely was like a big performance release and there are still some awesome things here. But it’s just not as heavy hitting. 

Anne McCarthy: Same with Interactivity API. This is more of like a maintenance, um, cycle for them, but I expect that to the Interactivity API to continue to be iterated on in the future.

Anne McCarthy: Same with Block Hooks API. Same with the HTML API. There’s a lot of just like routine API updates this release that you’re welcome to dig into.

Anne McCarthy: The token map is new. I am not going to dig super deep into this, partially because it’s hyper technical. And I think more niche isn’t the right word, but yeah, the average everyday WordPress user probably won’t be impacted as much by this, but if this perks your ears, definitely dig into this. Dennis Snell has done a ton of work and this is a great example for like, if you have a large organization, it’s really helpful at scale.

Anne McCarthy: Dropping support for PHP 7.0 and is 7.1, always important to call out, as well as this, some changes to prepare for React 19. So these are just kind of base software things to keep in mind and to mention for folks. I need to fix that. I’ll fix that later.

Anne McCarthy: I think the rest of these, I want to be mindful of time and leave room for questions. I also can stay over time. But the rest of these are more smaller in features that I think you can dig into later. Again, mainly refinements. This is a good call out for enterprise, adding support for custom ports for multisites. Same with this.


Anne McCarthy: Yeah, let’s dive into that’s basically the end of it. And then I get into some items that got punted from this release, mainly because folks ask about them. And so it’s a way to get ahead of like, why didn’t this make it in? And it’s like, here’s a reason why you’ll see like a brief explanation. Actually, let me jump back over and see. Yeah.

Reyes Martinez: I was actually, I mean, once you were done, that was also one of my questions, if you could also clarify, like the current status of the zoomed out view, because I know there were some questions about that, and it has been punted, right? I mean, it won’t be coming in this release. So if you could maybe provide some context to just help clarify any questions about that, that would be great.

Anne McCarthy: Yeah, so zoom out mode is complex, right? But it has the potential to be powerful. So zoom out mode in general is allowing you to, rather than dealing with editing something on a block by block basis, it zooms you out to look at the sections of your site, mainly using patterns as the paradigm that you’re interacting with. And that’s where that shuffling patterns feature could be really interesting, right? You’re zoomed out and you’re shuffling through patterns as you’re creating a page. It could replace kind of starter patterns. Potentially. There’s some like expressions there. But the long and short of it is a lot of work went into zoom out mode for this release and similar to pattern overrides in the last release and being able to add that feature. Not enough work was able to be done to get to an experience that was compelling enough.

Anne McCarthy: And part of the question is, is zoom out mode a mode that you can click on and toggle on, like a distracting free mode? Is it something that is automatically initiated when you enter a certain part of the interface? How do you get out of it? How do you get, you know, if you’re in zoom out mode, how do you go back to editing granular box? Like these are parts of the design questions that just were not able to be explored far enough to implement, but I expect it to be something that we, see in the future. There is an experiment you can turn on in the Gutenberg plugin if you want to tease that or anything like that. But yeah, it just didn’t get it just didn’t get far enough. And I expect what we’ll end up seeing is that it will be it. It’s already initiated right now. I’ll actually show you all just because I think that’s a good thing to view.

Anne McCarthy: When you are in Styles, this is part of the zoom out, the initial zoom out. So you can see it contextually, right? Like, it makes sense that when you’re in this, like, I’m changing the entire style of my site, maybe I want a more zoomed out look, right? And so you can imagine that being applied to different situations. So one of the main ways it’s being looked at is with patterns. When you open up patterns, you can imagine that same zooming out effect happening. And I basically imagine that that’s what we’ll see happen is something more contained. Another flow will be added that will include this like zooming out feature that will be advantageous in that space. We’re just not quite there yet. Does that help? Ok. I’m like, I can get real deep into that, but I’m trying to stay high level.


Reyes Martinez: Thanks Anne. I think we can maybe open the floor to any other questions. Maybe if any of you folks want to see any other demo, just let us know. And if there are no questions, I mean, I have a few more. So, but yeah, I would love to see if any, if folks have any other questions.

Reyes Martinez: Okay, Simon. Simon asked: “A bit of an aside: how much work goes into the source of truth post?” That’s a great question.

Anne McCarthy: So much. It’s an immense amount of work. It’s gotten a lot easier. But yeah, I basically have to go through like every Gutenberg release post, pull things out, and then, you know, things change. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of, like, vigilance and persistence. But I get really close to the details. I get really close to the feedback. As test lead, it’s really useful for me to have that kind of clarity of vision. But yeah, it’s a lot of work. I would say… It’s hard. Like, each week I probably spend, during beta and RCRelease Candidate A beta version of software with the potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. at least, two hours on it each. And then the lead up of actually getting it written is just like a caffeine filled nightmare. But it’s fun. I like, love this stuff. I love getting into like how many details can I pull in? How can I make it compelling? How can I make sure it’s like clear that people can look at it and anyone can get value from it? So I really welcome feedback. I have not changed the format too much since the early days. And I’ve been doing this for I think like eight releases or something like that. It started as like a ad hoc thing I sent to folks and has since grown.

Anne McCarthy: Eric asks, “With the block bindings API, does it matter the source of the custom field? For example, does it work with advanced custom fields and similar plugins?”

Anne McCarthy: It does not currently, as far as I know. There’s actually, hold on. Ryan Welcher does some streams. And I think he actually did a stream recently connecting. Yeah, he connected ACF to blocks using block binding. So let me correct myself. There is a very long stream two weeks ago. This is how much of a nerd I am. Um where you can connect these two things, um using a change that will shift and work by was 6.6 about to say as I was about to talk I was like, I think I actually saw that this is possible. So yes, that is very much possible. Not only that Ryan did like a deep dive like almost two hour live stream about it, which he is so good about going into depth about that stuff. I would literally link off to it. I also wouldn’t be surprised if we see a developer news article about it at some point. If you all have not dig into that site, you definitely should.


Anne McCarthy: Next question. Am I pronouncing this right? Davinder? Is that the correct? Just want to make sure. “Which one feature are you most excited or looking forward to in this release?”

Anne McCarthy: Let me look. I’m like, you’d think that’d be an easy answer question, but here we are. I mean, for me personally, I think being able to override specific items in synced patterns is really powerful. There’s a couple of sites I run on the side that I am going to be implementing this, like ASAP. I think that’s just like a really neat, really neat feature to maintain stylistic control. And in the future, there’s work around like maybe even allowing, you know, more stylistic options locally too. So I’m really excited to see the future of that. I’m just kind of seeing it as like a supercharged, um, it’s a supercharged pattern. Like it’s just amazing how much you can do now and how much it saves time. Um, and then I can just like have a bunch of these synced patterns and then in an instant, if I want to update the background color or change the style, it’ll all update. Like, I just think that that’s like pure magic.

Anne McCarthy: From my like product brain side, I would say the bringing, uh, the new experience of pattern management to classic themes. I’m all about how do we reach more people with what’s new? And I just think that that is like a huge, a huge deal. I am very excited about it. I think it will give folks a taste of like a more modern WordPress experience. Not everyone’s going to love it. We always need a filterFilter Filters are one of the two types of Hooks They provide a way for functions to modify data of other functions. They are the counterpart to Actions. Unlike Actions, filters are meant to work in an isolated manner, and should never have side effects such as affecting global variables and output. to, or a hook to get rid of it. But I think it is just like the scale of feedback, the excitement. I keep hammering on that even though I know it’s not like, the coolest new thing. I think it is one of the most impactful things about this release. And a Japanese contributor, Aki, really pushed it forward. And so big, big props go to him. I want to call him out for that.

Anne McCarthy:.Javier asks, “Core has not published a lot of information about the “beta compatibility” and “compatible with exceptions”. Is something is going to improve? We are preparing a “WordPress 6.6 Server Compatibility” for hosting companies, but in some ways, we are in the blind.”

Anne McCarthy: Okay, let me look at this. This is really about PHP. Yep. Okay. Yes, it’s a great question. I was involved in this previously. I think I worked on like a news article on this. And I don’t, we don’t have anything in the works right now, but this is it’s actually funny you mentioned this, there’s I have a to-do item next week around following up on this. I will, I will put this down in my personal list to follow up on to see if something is needed.

Anne McCarthy: I think it needs to improve. What you’re basically asking is, is this going to improve? Are we going to see something more around this? And we need that. And Javier, I think we worked on this previously, if I’m not mistaken. All of a sudden, your name, I’m like, I know who you are. I’m going to follow up on this, because I think that that’s a good thing to loopLoop The Loop is PHP code used by WordPress to display posts. Using The Loop, WordPress processes each post to be displayed on the current page, and formats it according to how it matches specified criteria within The Loop tags. Any HTML or PHP code in the Loop will be processed on each post. back on, because we do need to communicate that a bit better. And I know that that’s a very tricky area, and people have a lot of strong feelings around it. Cool. Okay.


Anne McCarthy: Simon asks, “Which change in WordPress 6.6 do you think will have the most long-term impact for WordPress overall?”

Anne McCarthy: Not yet, but I do want to underscore data views and the work that is happening there. Along with that connects, I had a really hard time figuring out how to structure these two things, but the unifying the editor, so you have this like technical foundation that’s unified, and then you have this new like offshoot being built with data views in the site editor. Like those two things combined are creating a technical and visual foundation for the future. It’s very early, the APIs are private intentionally, but the plugins can start playing with it. There are some designs you can copy and paste from the The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. design Figma library. I just think that that is a huge part of the larger narrative. We’re not seeing a huge, like, heavy-hitting, like, here’s this huge thing. I do think this new, like, side-by-side layout is really cool and powerful. But a lot of it is more foundation building, and it cannot be overlooked. Like, that is gonna be a huge, long-term thing. I think people need to I’m trying to get people as much as possible to pay attention to that and that’s part of why we did like a June update is to bring attention there

Anne McCarthy: “Is there any plan to add the new data views or something similar for plugin configuration pages?”

Anne McCarthy: Yes! I’m guessing you’re thinking about like settings and forms. Let me find this issue real quick. There’s this one. But yeah, that’s part of the work. So part of the work that needs to be done is like, yeah, what do these settings pages look like? And there’s got to be, oh, there you go. OK. Let me make sure. I’m missing one of the… Yep, here we go. This is part of the extensibility side of things, which I’m going to also link to. But yes, the long and the short of it is that is something that needs to be figured out. It’s like, what do forms look like, what do settings pages look like, and some plugins are, I’m getting feedback are starting to experiment with that. And that’s part of what would be huge to get feedback on. But yes, that is part of what’s being worked on is around forms, settings, pages. Yeah, because some things you don’t need a preview of, right? Like if you’re filling out a settings page for a plugin, you don’t need to see a preview of it. So that like side-by-side layout doesn’t make as much sense. So what does it look like to apply it elsewhere? What components are needed? Like all of this should be reusable and there should be a common design language so you’re not installing five different plugins and getting five different, drastically different experiences. We want them to have a shared visual language that folks can use. So that’s probably when I’m like hammer home, a lot of day of use stuff, start paying attention there. It’s not ready to be used yet, but you can start exploring and we need feedback from folks for sure.


Anne McCarthy: Eric, “How much are classic themes considered when adding features to the block or site editors? It seems like they are catching up to block themes a bit more in each release.”

Anne McCarthy: I would say it’s a big part of consideration with each release, just about there is like something being brought over to the classic theme side to bridge the divide. I think one of the last ones that I can remember that I was really excited about was bringing appearance tools to classic themes. So classic things could opt into a lot of appearance tools that were in place if you’re using a block theme, but that classic themes didn’t necessarily have access to. So you should continue to see things like chip away there. Where classic things are getting access to the new stuff. And this is feedback that I’ve seen mentioned a lot with each release is like, okay, well, what’s actually impacting the most users of WordPress? And how do we communicate that? And part of it is we need to have a compelling vision of what’s next to help folks adapt and adopt and future-proof themselves. But then there’s also the reality of a lot of folks. Both in the enterprise space and everyday space who are still in classic themes and like how are reaching them? So yeah, I would say it’s very much considered as much but balanced with driving the future forward. So there’s a compelling future to grab on to. So there’s a dance there for sure. These are great questions.

Reyes Martinez: Anne, just as a reminder that we are nearing the end of the session. Of course, I think if that’s okay, we can be a little bit flexible, but just a reminder that… I don’t know if you have, maybe we have time for one more question, something like that, but otherwise…

Anne McCarthy:  Oh, you can, yeah, I’m chilling. I mean, I have like 6.6 stuff, but yeah, I have probably at least another 15 minutes if folks have more questions. I know I went a bit long.

Reyes Martinez: Yeah, I just want to be mindful with folks’ time, but of course, I’m happy to be flexible. Also, and maybe this gives folks some more time. In case they want to share any questions. But I know you talked about some of the big updates coming in 6.6. You also mentioned some of those additional items. But sometimes there’s so much going on in each release that, you know, like there are features that can go a little bit unnoticed. We know that some of those smaller details are also important sometimes, so I was just wondering if you think are there any of those smaller details or updates that are worth highlighting for this release, or that it would be also helpful for folks to help amplify. Maybe some of those updates that usually go unnoticed, but it would be nice if folks know about them as well.


Anne McCarthy: I would definitely say the narrative around design tooling continue to expand whether it’s like adding box shadow to a feature image block or being able to set background images or negative margins. Like that all of these like design and styling and making it visual and easy and like kind of touching on Matt’s “simple things should be easy, complex things should be possible” or something I’m paraphrasing that, but I think that’s like a really interesting challenge with this right. Like we’re adding these toolings, but then how do they work well together and kind of touching on those? Smaller like, you know with each WordPress release we get access to more and more options and more and more things are possible. And if you want to build an interface, here are some of the newer tools that maybe you might miss. But if you want to go, you know, really out there go use the Interactivity API. Go create something interactive and more advanced, go use the custom fields.

Anne McCarthy: Like there’s a lot, there’s a story to tell there around like uh, these releases right now, where we’re both doing like very technical stuff and then we’re also like improving the experience of, um, the block inserter. To me, the block inserter change, I think is a important one. I think it’s just like a good quality of life as well as, um, you know, I think the indenting list block via the tab key, like that will be an everyday improvement to be able to use that. Those are the two that probably come to mind first.

Anne McCarthy: A smaller one that I think is worth mentioning for like extensibility. So like they’re kind of hot topics with each release. I’m not sure if you all feel this, but it’s like performance is a big one. Everyone wants to hear about performance stuff. 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). ( is a big one. What are we doing to improve accessibility? Extensibility, how can I extend better? And then governance or control? How can I control what you are building more? So those are every release, my brain is thinking about those things. It’s just like a constant thing in my mind. And I think of the last one, control, as also being related to exposing things to classic themes. And there is a new filter to extend the list of post content blocks. This is more like edge case. But if you have a custom block, your block that reads the rights data to like the actual post, you couldn’t actually edit your block directly if the template was locked. And so this is kind of an interesting use case where when you’re editing a template, you can only edit what’s in the post content block. And if you had a custom block that maybe added, I don’t know, some other functionality like a calendar or something like that. You couldn’t edit it within the template, and now you can add that. If it writes to the post object, you can actually add that as one of the allowed post content blocks, so it’s editable. And that’s a smaller quality of life control agency side of things, but I think it’s another one of those smaller improvements that I glanced over at the end, but actually is, again, really powerful and touches on that last piece of control. I don’t know if it’s helpful to name those different things, but that definitely is what comes to mind.

Anne McCarthy: Oh, Javier, great question. “There’s an idea of having community blocks, not in core itself, but maintained by the community. Is that something we will see soon?”

Anne McCarthy: The update on that, and this is as of this last week, this was actually brought up in the core dev meeting, and the term that’s being used is canonical blocks. I can be particular about words. So canonical blocks is basically the idea of exactly what you’re describing. It’s not shipped directly in core when you install a new update, but there are blocks that are in the block library that are maintained by core, have the name team, you know, like have that like branding weight behind them and the maintenance behind them, and the quality behind them. And so this has been a huge discussion. Right now there was like a little bit of a side quest where folks were looking at whether you could sideload these block plugins sponsored by core into themes as a possibility. And so that’s kind of been under discussion right now.


Anne McCarthy: There’s an initial PR right now for the time to read block to have this be one of the first ones that might take this canonical approach, but frankly the details have not been fully flushed out. And so you should expect to see a make core proposal discussing this further. It’s still under a lot of debate because it gets into like, what qualifies as a canonical block. You know, we try to build for 80% of users. Should we be building these for the 20%? I don’t want this thumbs up. Sorry. Like… How do you distinguish what’s a canonical block what’s versus a core block? Who maintains it? Do we have folks who can maintain it? What happens if you want to graduate a canonical block to core? Should we move some core blocks to canonical blocks? There’s all these larger questions. And then what’s the base user experience? What’s the benefit to users?

Anne McCarthy: And I also think a big part of this to touch on is block themers. What is the benefit to block themers? Because those are the folks you might be more likely to bundle these into a theme they create and that’s where like the site loading block plugins, single block plugins, came up for themes this past week, because ultimately one of the major use cases for this would be for block themers to include it by default. Because the average user is probably not going to go out and install a bunch of canonical blocks. Yeah, I don’t think we’ll see it necessarily soon. I think we’ll see experimentation around it very soon. I think we will see a lively discussion and probably someone trying something. But I’m not that… I have a 50% confidence threshold and… if it’ll all happen in six months… I’m not putting bets down for that. I think it’s a big thing to figure out. I think that will change depending on who you talk to you. That’s a great question though. And let me drop a link to that as well. So this is the early PR for time to read. That’s very much a draft. It’s just someone messing around. And then this proposal from Matias, who’s the project architect. And then you’ll just see a huge discussion.

Anne McCarthy: I think it’s an interesting idea. I would love to see it. I would love to see like an increasing number, because we’re being… the weight of having the branding of WordPress behind these blocks would go really far, and there’s a lot of things that you still cannot do that blocks would make sense for that. That would just really allow a lot of design optionality in the base WordPress experience that you can add in, not by default, but that you could add in that I think would be really cool.


Anne McCarthy: What other questions? I’m like today… if I talk too fast at any point I’m always happy to go back and reiterate something. The source of truth should also like… there’s links as much as possible to anything visual. So that should help as well if you are ever like, what is this person writing like… the video and the images are there for a reason because I do think this stuff can be really much easier to understand when you’re actually looking at it. Especially like a before and after.

Reyes Martinez: I had another question, Anne. It was about… what are some of the features in 6.6 that benefit larger or enterprise websites. But I saw you also mentioned this in… I mean, you also add this kind of tag to the source of truth, so I feel… it also feels clear or gives a pretty good picture of those features that might impact that audience, yeah.

Anne McCarthy: Yeah, I would… Other than the features that are tagged with that because some of them are not tagged because they’re meant for everyone. I do just want to repeat and underscore exposing the new patterns experience for classic themes and the unified published flow. They’re good. That’s gonna be huge. I’ve done some phase three research that I’ve published about on make core with a number of newsrooms, large, small newsrooms, medium size, and it’s like who moved my cheese. Any change impacts the documentation, impacts the training, impacts the base editor experience of folks who are trying to quickly get a breaking news story out or who are live blogging. So I am especially keen on those two things. Mainly the published flow if I had to to pick one. I think a lot of folks have control already of the patterns experience, but that’s also still just a good drawing change if you don’t.

Anne McCarthy: But the publish flow like… there was…  initially revisions were going to be more hidden than they were, and that was one that we pulled in enterprise feedback for around like the new publish flow just to remain it surfaced at a higher level. Because that is just a base thing that I feel like I saw constantly when talking to folks about their workflows with writing. So yeah, that is the main one that I underscored. Otherwise there’s… Yeah, I do have it intentionally listed now. That’s actually a new thing with the last couple of sources of truth that is trying to call out enterprise stuff, especially as we get deeper into the phase three. And then there’s some stuff kind of like I described with the new filter to extend what counts as a post content block. There’s also the ability to preview a template in the post editor for not administrators. So before, if you were an administrator, you coudn’t actually preview the template. So that’s like another I think good one for enterprise. Fabian worked on that.


Anne McCarthy: The custom ports for multisites feels very enterprise to me, but because I previously worked on multisiteMultisite Multisite is a WordPress feature which allows users to create a network of sites on a single WordPress installation. Available since WordPress version 3.0, Multisite is a continuation of WPMU or WordPress Multiuser project. WordPress MultiUser project was discontinued and its features were included into WordPress core. Yeah, I’m trying to think… I do think that the styling sections of blocks could be really interesting. But so few enterprise level folks that I have talked to at least have adopted block themes. So you have to be using a block theme to take advantage of that feature. And so that could be really neat in terms of branding and control and accessibility and all sort of stuff, but we’re not… quite there yet on the enterprise side. I would maybe emphasize it as in the future when you’re embrace this is something of the cool stuff you can do, but not… use this now because most folks not… they’re using classic names.

Reyes Martinez: Yeah, I’m also excited about the pattern management for classic themes. I think that that will be pretty important to bridge the gap with block themes.

Anne McCarthy: Yeah, I agree. Just the management side… I mean it’s just so much more visual, duplicating patterns, renaming patterns, all that stuff. It’s just so much easier with this new experience.

Reyes Martinez: All right. I think there are no more questions.So I think it’s safe to conclude the session. So yeah… Thank you everyone for your participation and for the great questions. And Anne, thank you so much also for sharing your insights and taking the time to address all those questions.

Anne McCarthy: Thanks for organizing.

Reyes Martinez: Thank you. And have a great day or have a great rest of your day and see you all on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at Thank you.

Anne McCarthy: Yeah, awesome. Bye all.

Thank you to @annezazu and @jenblogs4u for reviewing this post.

#media-corps-briefing #summary