The Gutenberg Development Team released the latest Gutenberg 8.2 on Wednesday, May 27. The new update brings improved editing flow, includes a new content positioning control for the cover block, and adds categories of block patterns.
The latest update to Gutenberg also includes a number of enhancements, features, and post editor bug fixes. Several enhancements are for example restricting the most widely used blocks in the inserter to six items. Individual buttons can be split into two buttons inside the Buttons block by hitting the Enter key or combining by hitting the Backspace key. There are also two new block patterns for users to test. One adds a hero section with two columns under it. The other adds a section of three columns of features/services.
Users may use the Ctrl+C keyboard shortcut to copy the entire block with this update or cut a block with Ctrl+X when no particular text is selected. The popup snack bar will appear at the bottom of the screen to show which block has been copied.
Hitting the Enter key will create a new paragraph while editing an image caption. This is probably a welcome addition in situations where the user wishes to continue writing after inserting an image and a caption. However, this may be a problem for users with multi-line captions. Despite this shift, it is also not clear how to apply a line break to the caption.
Overall, this is a good update with various enhancements and bug fixes. Changes in editing flow are good improvements, and the latest Cover block positioning and changes to the Patterns API are welcome additions to the editor.
Cover Block content alignment
The Gutenberg team has developed a new control of the alignment that allows end-users to place content within the cover block. The new positioning feature adds a matrix control, from which the user can choose nine positions. Once a position has been selected, the Cover block ‘s inner content will move to that location. It is important to remember that if the cover block is complete any material won’t look like it has changed location. The width of the inner container is set to auto, indicating that the material inside can already take up all the space available. In Cover blocks, the alignment is more pronounced with less material inside.
In past versions of the plugin, internal blocks may be placed individually. On the block level, though, it was also sometimes a bit of pain to do. This new control gives the Cover block a new degree of flexibility.
Theme authors will need to update the CSS to handle the new positioning classes in their themes. There does not seem to be any formal documentation for styling these classes, so the safest course of action is to look at the source code. The classes will be as follows:
It’ll also be interesting to see what plugin developers are doing to their own blocks with the new AlignMatrixControl component. This component is used to handle the Cover block ‘s inner block alignment, but it should be easy to extend to other blocks that might also be using such alignment.
The Block Patterns UI and APIs are continuing to develop with the introduction of the block pattern categories since the release of the search service. Additionally, a viewportWidth property has been made available to allow the preview of the block patterns to tweak the width used. This is particularly useful for patterning large blocks.
Gutenberg 8.2 has almost ticked all my Patterns API boxes. The newest version provides support for pattern categorization. The default design actually exhibits the following seven categories:
There’s also an “Uncategorized” section at the bottom of the inserter, but it’s not a category, technically. This merely houses any patterns not marked.
Authors of the theme and plugin now have access to the register block pattern category() and unregister block pattern category() functions for registering or unregistering patterns. The new categories argument can be used to assign categories to a particular block. See the Patterns API documentation for more detail.
One or multiple categories can be assigned to the patterns. Therefore users in the inserter can see duplicates of certain patterns. This is one reason why I hold out hope that the team can bring back the tabbed interface or something similar to the inserter. For both blocks and patterns that will now be possible with categories.
Block Widgets Nearly Ready
The editor chats this week, the team discussed the possibility of bringing out the experimental stage of the new Widgets screen. If that happens before July 7, it could mean that users could start configuring their sidebars as early as WordPress 5.5 with blocks. This is not yet set in stone, but it’s exciting to start seeing blocks really break out of the field of post material.
The block-based widgets system works fine for most. It doesn’t feel as smooth as it should be to merging into WordPress core yet. If the team pushes through any remaining roadblocks in the next month. However, it will be within the realm of possibility.
It is now a good time for end-users to start checking. The experimental widgets through both the admin screen “Widgets (beta)” and the customizer panel “Widgets Blocks (Experimental)”. To test this feature, activate the Widgets option for the Gutenberg plugin under the Experiments Settings page.
You may also like: