“Ever since the block editor was introduced our eyes were placed on a future where a theme could be created entirely with blocks. That future is here now…” — Matías Ventura, Lead Architect of WordPress’ Gutenberg project.

WordPress 5.9 “Joséphine” was released as planned this past Tuesday. Matt Mullenweg was the lead on this release. 5.9 involved 470 tickets on Trac and over 1,900 pull requests.

71 locales had translated 90% or more of WordPress 5.9 into their language at the time of release. There were more volunteers on this release than the previous 5.8 version. (624 now and 530 then.) Aaron Jorbin noted that WordPress 5.9 was the 8th release with 200 or more first-time contributors, and the total number of contributors (632) was the fourth-highest total in WordPress’ history.  Also notable — 40 people have contributed to 20 or more releases since 3.2.

The 5.9 release introduces the Full Site Editor — a new suite of editing capabilities based on blocks that enable the editor beyond a post or a page. It can be used across an entire site now, and there are blocks for headers, footers, and menus. Full Site Editing (FSE) makes possible a “no coding” experience for site-building.

5.9 comes with a new default theme, Twenty Twenty-Two, which was built for FSE as a block theme. Twenty Twenty-Two ships with relatively little CSS, as its goal is for all theme styles to be configured through theme.json and editable through Global Styles.

At the time of this writing, there are 45 block themes ready for Full-Site Editing in the WordPress repository. Traditional themes work fine with 5.9, so the transition time between traditional and “full block” themes will likely be gradual. Nevertheless, WordPress 5.9 will be seen as one of the biggest steps in the second phase of the Gutenberg project.

Those not moving to a block theme will still be able to enjoy enhancements such as an improved Gallery block, more block controls and design tools (including typography, color, and dimension options in blocks), and a revamped List View that facilitates navigation between layers of content and nested blocks. Developers should make sure to check the WordPress 5.9 field guide for additional filters, actions, and performance enhancements.

WordPress’ Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy notes, “WordPress 5.9 is a halfway point on this massive, multi-year project to rebuild the way that people work with their content online. It started with a call to ‘learn Javascript deeply,’ and I think this release helps prove that vision we were first given way back in 2013.”

Josepha also acknowledged “the work of over a thousand people who show up every day to help make getting online easier, to make crafting your personal brand a little more fun, and to do all that while also making sure users have basic freedoms that are vital to the open web.”