What does the future of WordPress look like?

December 6, 2018 was a big day for WordPress. That’s the day WordPress 5.0 released to the public, and a new era for WordPress began. The Gutenberg block editor replaced the classic editor as the default method of creating content, Since that time, features and enhancements have been added to the Gutenberg project and WordPress core. But now that the block editor has been standard for over two years, what is coming next?

The four phases of Gutenberg

In 2018, four phases to the Gutenberg project were announced:

  1. Easier Editing — The Gutenberg block editor
  2. Customization — Full-site editing, Block Patterns, Block Directory, Block-based themes
  3. Collaboration — A more intuitive way to co-author content
  4. Multi-lingual — Core implementation for Multi-lingual sites

Looking at these four phases now, the team has completed phase one and is working on phase two. The block directory has already been implemented, but several other aspects of phase two have yet to be.

Full-site editing

The next major change the WordPress team wants to tackle is full-site editing. As the name suggests, full-site editing will allow you to edit every aspect of your website with the block editor. Instead of editing only page and post content in the block editor and using other tools to edit the rest of your site, the goal for full-site editing it to allow you to use blocks for every aspect of your website — the menu, header, footer, and so on.

The timeline

WordPress wants to release the “minimum viable product” for full-site editing in WordPress 5.8, which will release in July. However, active discussion is currently underway whether to implement full-site editing in 5.8 or delay it to 5.9, which will release in December. As the term suggests, the minimum viable product means full-site editing will be implemented initially with only the features absolutely necessary for it to be viable, and more will be added in later WordPress revisions.

Other future considerations

WordPress also has other projects in the works for 2021 and beyond. Major changes to the platform are known as “feature projects,” and a list of them may be found in the WordPress Feature Projects Overview. Every release of WordPress always includes smaller features that aren’t included in this list, but you can get a good idea of the direction WordPress is heading with major feature implementations there.