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WordPress Version 5.9 ” Josephine”

WordPress Version 5.9 ‘Josephin‘ is right to your door to open up accessibility and flexibility to WordPress users. WordPress 5.9 is code-named Josephine, after international jazz singer Joséphine Baker. This version was initially scheduled to release on different dates in November and December 2021. But It was launched exactly on 25th January 2022. It is the first major release of 2022 and is expected to be a major milestone for the WordPress community. This article will discuss all the neat features, changes, and bug fixes of this new WordPress release.

Basic Requirement for Version 5.9

The first and foremost task you must do is to update the software that is essential to run. So before getting into this latest version, update the following required software.

  • PHP 7.4 or higher
  • MySQL 5.7 or higher, or MariaDB 10.2 or higher
  • Nginx or Apache

What are the updates, features, and enhancements in version 5.9?

Now, it’s time to discuss and focus on the praiseworthy, useful, and essential upgrades given by the WordPress family. let’s give a glance at a listing and descriptive details.

  • maintenance and performance improvement
  • full site editing
  • new default theme twenty twenty-two
  • block site editor
  • blocks and UX improvements

WordPress version 5.9 brought so many changes to blocks and UX improvements. These four are the most significant ones.

  1. Interface movements
  2. New navigation block
  3. Duotone Filter
  4. Refactored Gallary block
  • Global Styles: A Graphic Interface for theme.json
  • Navigation menu and blocks
  • Additional design tool

The following five tools are introduced and developed with WordPress version 5.9.

  1. Pagination
  2. Block spacing support
  3. Featured image
  4. Language selector on the login page
  5. Pattern insertion and creation

Maintainance and performance improvement

WordPress version 5.9.1 again came up and was released with a fixation and maintenance feature on 22 Feb 2022. It fixes 33 bugs on Core, as well as 52 bug fixes for the Block Editor. Well, WordPress 5.9 modified the image lazy loading feature to optimize page speed as well.

The WordPress core test suite can now run on PHPUnit versions 5.7.21 to 9.5.10, allowing testing against all supported PHP versions without problems.

The new WordPress version also provides compatibility updates for other software, programming languages, and social media platforms such as jQuery 3, PHP 8.1, and PHP testing framework.

Full Site Editing

Full Site Editing is a fundamental and important feature of WordPress version 5.9. It helps users to edit every aspect of a website using the Gutenberg block interface. The Gutenberg blocked interface allows you to use it through a visual interface. With it, you can edit and create your website with a unique custom design without a code. Full site editing is specially upgraded for themes that support the newly added excellent feature.

New default theme twenty twenty-two

The Twenty Twenty-Two WordPress theme is the first block-based default theme that works perfectly with the full site editing features introduced in WordPress version 5.9. Twenty Twenty-Two has a wide range of page templates, including 404 error pages, single post pages, and archive pages. The template part includes a footer and three different types of headers – default, dark with a small style, and dark with a large style. The theme also comes with a bunch of ready-made patterns that you can use in the site editor or the block editor while writing. You can freely customize the colors, typography, and layout of every page on the site.

The new default Twenty Twenty-Two theme has various block patterns, covering headers, footers, pages, and columns. In total, there are over 70 patterns, providing endless possibilities for full-site editing.

Block site editor

Many WordPress users spend most of their time on the block editor to create and manage their content.WordPress version 5.9 will introduce 10 new blocks made specifically for full site editing and located under the ‘Theme’ category. This feature essentially replaces the CustomizerMenus, and Widgets in the Appearance section.

The new global theme style options let users customize their entire site without tweaking theme or stylesheet files too often.

On top of that, the new flexible default WordPress theme is a perfect starter to get familiar with the new full site editing features. 

Block and UX Improvements in Version 5.9

Hence, this new WordPress release version 5.9 brings many block editor improvements, such as a better user interface and new blocks. Check it out.

Interface Improvement

The new WordPress version 5.9 also improves the interface’s design and user experience. The list view has a drag-and-drop capability to rearrange the content simply by dragging and dropping elements.

The items on the list view are also collapsible, making it easier to manage complex block structures. Moreover, it’s possible to add HTML anchors to blocks for quick navigation.

The theme editor also has a focus mode for the header and footer. This feature is accessible from the top panel of the editor and shows only the part you want to edit.

The focus mode only shows the area you’re editing – either the header or the footer. This provides for a less cluttered interface and shows you a better preview of the section. Plus, you can adjust the screen width on the editor to see how the header or footer looks at any given width.

New Navigation Block

WordPress 5.9 introduces several new blocks, such as the site logo and site title blocks. However, the most significant one is the navigation block.

You can add this block anywhere on the site. When you add the block, the placeholder will show three options for the navigation – select a block-based menu, generate a new menu with all pages, and start from scratch.

If you already have navigation menus created with a classic theme, you can add them with this block, and it will automatically convert the menus into a block-based navigation menu.

The navigation block features flexible layout controls, meaning that you can easily change the orientation and justification from the design tools. The block can also be configured as a responsive menu to collapse into a menu icon automatically.

Another new feature of the navigation block is the ability to place it on posts. This is useful if you want to create a mini navigation bar for a long article, as you can edit the menu items and links to the article’s headings.

Duotone Filter

WordPress 5.9 brings the duotone filter effect to the gallery and post-feature image blocks.

The duotone filter automatically changes the image color into a two-tone color without permanently modifying the original file. This feature is only available for image blocks in the previous WordPress version.

The duotone filter for featured images applies to featured image blocks in the post, page, and query loop block.

The gallery block refactor is one of the most anticipated improvements of WordPress version 5.9.

In the previous WordPress version, the gallery block didn’t treat the images inside it individually. That meant you couldn’t add alt text, links, or a custom border to each picture.

This new and better gallery block treats each image as an individual block, meaning that its design tool is similar to the image block, including alt text and links for each image.

Furthermore, the customizable border-radius property and duotone filter are now applicable to each image

Global Styles: A Graphic Interface for theme.json

Theme.json is a configuration file introduced in WordPress 5.8 to control the style of block themes. Theme JSON is located in the theme’s top-level directory which allows you to configure the theme’s default styles using minimal CSS. WordPress Version 5.9 updated Theme JSON to support child themes. Simply add a new folder for the child theme in the public_html/wp-content/themes directory and create the style.css file. Your new child theme is ready to use, with the global styles inherited from the parent theme. What is the Global Style interface? see below.

Global Styles Interface

WordPress 5.9 introduces the global styles interface. The feature lets you access global settings and change the site-wide styles on the theme editor without tweaking the content of the theme.json file directly.

The interface is accessible by clicking on the black and white circle at the top-right corner of the editor. The panel appears on the right side and lets you change the following settings:

  • Typography – change the font family and size for text and links.
  • Colors – manage the color palette and default color for various global elements like background, text, and links.
  • Layouts – adjust the padding for the site’s elements.

Navigation menu/blocks in version 5.9.

WordPress 5.9 introduces a new way to edit navigation menus. The new navigation menu block allows you to easily create navigation menus, add new links, adjust colors, spacing, alignment, and more. Another new feature of the navigation block is the ability to place it on posts. This is useful if you want to create a mini navigation bar for a long article, as you can edit the menu items and links to the article’s headings.

Additional Design tools

WordPress 5.9 brings a lot of improvements to the design tools, accessible from the block settings panel, and their customization options. Below are some of the notable new additions:


The pagination block now has several design customization options. The most notable is the layout control to change the navigation’s justification and orientation. Lastly, there are new decorative options to add arrows or chevrons to the pagination block.

Block Spacing Support

Various blocks like buttons and columns now have block spacing support. This allows users to spread the block objects with a defined pixel spacing.

You can define the block spacing in an absolute PX unit. However, you can opt for relative units, like EMREMVW, or VH to make the spacing responsive to the devices’ screen sizes.

This block spacing supports horizontal and vertical layouts for blocks with layout controls like the button block.

Featured Image

The feature image block has two new design tools. The first is the image dimension tool that lets you define the height and width of the image. Another new design tool for featured images is the margin and padding. The margin adds spaces between the previous and next blocks, while padding adds a white space surrounding the featured image. Plus, there are three scaling options to fit the picture into the pre-defined block dimension:

  • Cover – scales and crops image to fill the space without any distortion.
  • Contain – scales image to fill the space without any cropping or distortion. This scaling option may leave a blank space.
  • Fill – stretch and distort the image to fill the space.

Language Selector on the Login Page

WordPress 5.9 allows users to select their language on the login screen. The language choice will also apply to derivative pages, such as the password reset screen and user registration. To activate this feature, users must install more than one site language.

Pattern Insertion and Creation

This feature lets you add block patterns to create new website sections efficiently. For example, you may create a section for a subscription form by inserting a pre-made pattern instead of adding blocks one by one.

Did you like all the improvements, features, and enhancements of WordPress 5.9? Why not?

Yes, it is obviously making our WordPress Journey easier and faster. We hope you will surely update and enjoy new updates and surprises. And you can learn the update of WordPress version 6.0 “Arturo” as well. Keep following us.