WordPress 6.6 Roadmap- What to Expect?

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Automattic-sponsored contributor Anne McCarthy has published the WordPress 6.6 Roadmap and we can expect the second major release of 2024 on July 16, 2024. The main focus of the upcoming release will be to enhance the new features that arrived with WordPress 6.5 and bring in new features.

As per the roadmap, this release will follow a slightly shorter release cycle, and depending on the progress, all the features may or may not arrive with the final version.

The List of Expected Improvements

Improvements to the Site Editor

Refinements to the data views

Concerning the site editor, the changes we can expect in WordPress 6.6 are refinements to the data views.

For example, one improvement we can see is when accessing the “Pages” and how the data view layout has changed.

With WordPress 6.5, this is how the layout looks, if we access Pages> Manage Pages.

data view in WordPress 6.5

With WordPress 6.6, we can see the new layout. The revamp will take the users directly to the “Manage Pages” option and provide them with a preview. This approach improves the information that is available at a glance to the users.

new data view in WordPress 6.6

A lot of sections have this kind of improvement where users can make changes with the least amount of steps required.

For example, with WordPress 6.5, upon accessing the “Templates” from the Site Editor, we can see the various templates and the manage templates at the very bottom.

templates data view in WordPress 6.5

But with the WordPress 6.6 alpha version with the latest Gutenberg plugin installed, we can see that the “Templates” section has undergone a revamp as now it only houses the “Manage Templates” option.

new templates data view in WordPress 6.6

Refined pattern editing experience

A new zoomed-out view and advancing contentOnly editing are set to arrive that aim to improve the pattern editing experience.

Improvements to the design tools

All-new color and typography presets

The Global Styles will receive a few additions with WordPress 6.6 as per the roadmap. This will include an all-new color and typography presets.

new color presets in WordPress 6.6
Color Presets
new typography presets in WordPress 6.6
Typography presets

These two new features bestow the users with a wide variety of styling combinations.

Synced-patterns overrides

Originally slated to come with WordPress 6.5, we can now expect this feature to arrive with the upcoming release. This will allow users to have different content in the synced patterns site-wide

synced pattern overrides in WordPress 6.6

Updates to block style variations

With the Block Bindings API, theme authors can now decide whether multiple parts of blocks can be assigned different styles or not. More on this can be tracked on GitHub.

Changes to group block layout

The group block from WordPress 6.6 will have a new layout called “Grid”.

new grid layout for group block

Fine-tuning the Font Library

The font library for the next release will include no new features but is focused on tackling the current set of issues.

Various performance improvements

As is the case with all WordPress releases, the upcoming version is also set to raise the benchmark for performance across various areas. The focus will be on loading times, improvements to INP, and configuring the autoload option, a ticket that was opened seven years ago.

Improvements to the APIs

The various APIs that WordPress introduced with the earlier versions such as the interactivity API, Block Bindings API, HTML API, and Custom Fields & Block Bindings APIs will be worked on further to improve them.

End of support for PHP 7.0 and 7.1

From WordPress 6.6 onwards, the minimum supported version of PHP will be 7.2.24, and support for PHP 7.0 and 7.1 will be concluded once the next release goes live.

Support for classic themes to access patterns

Discussions are going on to see how classic themes can access the Patterns just like in block themes. As per the discussion, a new Patterns menu will be added to the Appearance tab. Now whether this specific feature will be ready for WordPress 6.6 is not confirmed fully as of now.

Bringing rollback to automatic updates

The focus for the upcoming release will be to enable rollback to automatic plugin updates to prevent the white screen of death caused due to PHP errors.

The features that will make the final release cannot be confirmed yet, but exciting times are definitely ahead.

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