Help Test WordPress 5.8’s FSE Features

With WordPress 5.8 slated to ship on July 20th, this post seeks to consolidate ways for those in the FSE Outreach Program (anyone can join!) to help test specific features related to the overall full site editing project that will be included in this release. This is meant to bolster, not replace, overall 5.8 testing efforts. Theme.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. is explicitly not mentioned here as there’s currently a dedicated testing post for that feature with feedback open until July 14th. 

For more information about the outreach program, please review this FAQ for helpful details and check out the latest schedule. To properly join the fun, please head to #fse-outreach-experiment in Make Slack for future testing announcements, helpful posts, and more. 

Important note: Anything marked as [Technical] is best for those comfortable with more advanced testing steps. 

Testing environment

Please only test on a development siteDevelopment Site You can keep a copy of your live site in a separate environment. Maintaining a development site is a good practice that can let you make any changes and test them without affecting the live/production environment. and not on a production/live site. You can follow these instructions to set up a local installLocal Install A local install of WordPress is a way to create a staging environment by installing a LAMP or LEMP stack on your local computer. or use a tool like this to set up a development site

Once a development site is set up, please install and activate the WordPress Beta Tester Plugin before setting it to: 

  • Update channel to “Bleeding edge”
  • Stream options to “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./RCRelease Candidate A beta version of software with the potential to be a final product, which is ready to release unless significant bugs emerge. only”

If you need more specific steps, here are more detailed instructions you can follow

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. Widgets Editor

The block widgets editor allows you to use blocks in widgets areas and control them further 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. with live preview, scheduling, etc. The following items are considered a high priority to test:

  • Migrating classic widgets to this new screen. 
  • Switching between themes.
  • Editing blocks in widgetWidget A WordPress Widget is a small block that performs a specific function. You can add these widgets in sidebars also known as widget-ready areas on your web page. WordPress widgets were originally created to provide a simple and easy-to-use way of giving design and structure control of the WordPress theme to the user. areas in the Customizer. 
  • Confirming opting in and out works properly. You can review each mechanism under “Opting out of the block-based widgets editor” in this post

For robust testing steps for each of these items, please review this specific call for testing from earlier in the release process. For more information about this new feature, check out this Dev note covering all of the details

Template Editing Mode & Theme Blocks

Template editing mode allows you to edit your content’s template with blocks, including some new theme blocks like the Site Title block or Page List block. As a reminder, template editing mode is opt in for Classic Themes and opt out for Block Themes. This means that if you want to test this, you’ll need to use a block theme along with both the Gutenberg plugin and the WordPress Beta Tester Plugin

The following items are a high priority to test:

  • [Technical] Opting into and out of template editing mode. More information about how to do this can be found under “Theme Support” in this post. Bonus if you test with different themes. 
  • Customizing templates, including creating new ones, after either using a theme that has opted in or using a block theme with 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.
  • Exploring each new Theme Block listed in this post to build out a more robust template. 

For robust testing steps around using and creating templates, please follow these previous calls for testing: create a custom portfolio page and create custom landing pages

Note: If you use a block theme to test this, you will need to install the Gutenberg plugin alongside it in order for everything to work with WordPress 5.8. 


Duotone is a feature that allows you to add colors to your images and enhance your content. It works best with high contrast images, so keep that in mind as you test the following priority items: 

  • [Technical] Adding duotone support to a registered block using the still experimental block supports described here
  • Using the feature in the Image and Cover Block. Remember that you can use this with videos in the cover block too and that you can set your own custom colors!

For more information about this feature, check out the WordPress news post that covers it in depth

Query 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. Block

The Query Loop Block (previously called the Query Block) is a powerful new block that unlocks the ability to easily show off posts from a specific categoryCategory The 'category' taxonomy lets you group posts / content together that share a common bond. Categories are pre-defined and broad ranging., allowing you to do things like quickly creating a portfolio or a favorite recipe page. Think of it as a more complex and powerful Latest Posts Block! Currently, this new block offers multiple ways for displaying lists of posts and comes with new block patterns that take advantage of its flexibility and creative possibilities. 

To help test this, explore the patterns built into the block, try changing the default query in 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. settings, placing it inside a columns block, and more. Keep in mind that to create a better user experience, the content within the Query Loop isn’t able to be edited but can be customized (i.e., Post Title text can’t be changed but you can change the color of the Post Title Block). 

For robust testing steps around using the query block, please follow this previous call for testing that was focused on the Query Loop block.

Where to report feedback

If you find any issues, it’s best to share them on the alpha/beta forums, or Trac if you are more technically savvy and comfortable. Please share feedback before the release on July 20, 2021.